Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Don't Turn Your Back On Your Community VIII

Marvin Schick weighs in: link

Dr. Schick points out:

I suspect that also at work is the familiar and lamentable tendency of many haredim not to care about the concerns of the Moderns whose lifestyle and attitudes are often out of sync with theirs. It is as if haredim believe the Moderns inhabit a different Jewish universe...

The Orthodox Union issued a sharp statement critical of the Times and the Feldman piece. It is silent when haredim are denigrated and demonized.

There is an obligation to become equal opportunity defenders of Orthodox Jews – not defenders of wrongdoing or missteps but of the way of life that is entirely responsible for meaningful Judaism being alive on these shores.
He also notes:
Rabbi Norman Lamm’s response to Feldman was appropriate and strong. However, it became apparent in the Jewish blogosphere that even among Yeshiva University alumni the question of relations with the intermarried is not easily decided. While halacha and hashkafa may require ostracism, there are religious Jewish individuals who behave otherwise.
I think that is precisely the issue at hand: do halakhah and hashkafah require this? It might have at one point, but does it still today? Ten years ago, many RIETS roshei yeshiva said that it does. But others might feel that they are not the final word on the subject.

He continues:
While it is clear what will happen down the road, we live and act in the present. And presently, for all the necessary rhetoric condemning it, there is, in various social interactions involving Orthodox Jews, considerable tolerance of intermarriage.

Perhaps the approach that should be taken is to distinguish between personal contacts where tolerance may be accepted and communal contacts where the response should not be as friendly.
Not a bad solution. But in some situations, such as truly tinokos she-nishbu who only became interested in Judaism late in life, perhaps even communal contact should be friendly. I'm not sure that the RIETS roshei yeshiva would disagree with this, either.

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