Changing times

Changing times

Your Jan. 14 issue was titled “Faces of Change.” Much has been said from a Modern Orthodox halachic standpoint about the position and title of “rabbi” and I’m sure interested readers can easily find this information. I’d like to address the broader issue of “Open Orthodoxy” and women’s roles from a more “secular” viewpoint.

The question is how change evolves in movements. One might look back to Orthodoxy’s reaction to hassidut, women’s Torah education, and the Conservative movement as examples of “proposed” changes within orthodoxy.

In my opinion, Open Orthodoxy has opted for a high-risk/high-reward strategy of forcing issues rather than allowing a slower evolutionary change. There’s a lot to discuss about the reasons for such an
approach and how it comports with current trends towards individual autonomy and being a member of an eternal existential community (based on Halacha, Jewish philosophy, negotiation theory, social
psychology, etc.), but that’s a book for someone who is truly Modern Orthodox (of course, as defined by me) to write.

As Bob Dylan reminds us:

“Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won’t come again
And don’t speak too soon
For the wheel’s still in spin
And there’s no tellin’ who
That it’s namin’.
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are

I think the evolutionary approach has served us well in the past, but I fear we’ve passed the point of no return as far as Open Orthodoxy goes.

Joel Rich
West Orange

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