Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Can Modern Orthodoxy be defined?

Gil Student tries to pin down what Modern Orthodox people believe (though he mixes the terms “Modern Orthodox” and “Centrist Orthodox”.)

The problem with that is that it's much easier to define people fairly accurately by a label the farther to the religious right they are. Charedim have specific hashkafot in place for the various groups, and complete adherence is expected of members. Centrist Orthodoxy is a little harder to pin down onto a range of individuals and by the time you get to "Left Wing Modern Orthodoxy" or "Open Orthodoxy", there's not much of a party line and the mass of individuals represent quite a spectrum of beliefs.

Personally, I like it that way. It forces people to get to know one another as individuals instead of projecting a label on them.


  1. I hate lables. Maybe because I am "Modern" and its harder to "pin down" my hashkafos.

    Nice Blog.

  2. It's all about perspective. If you were a in the religious right it would be tough for you to give one label to all the different sects and for the people who are more left-ies, well, they'd probably just call them "modern". Either way, I'm gonna have to go with frumskeptic here, I hate labels. All they're doing is causing an even bigger rift in the Jewish community.

  3. I have mixed feelings about labels - see my next post, titled "Labels revisited"