Friday, November 8, 2013

Why Orthodoxy?

My hashkafa is closer to Conservative Judaism than Orthodox Judaism, yet I affiliate with Orthodoxy for the most part.

I've often articulated it this way - aside from some small pockets (think JTS or Hadar, etc) in big cities (in which I do not live), nowhere can you find the living vibrancy that you can in Orthodoxy, nowhere else is there such a high level of Jewish literacy among many, not just a few, and nowhere else is there the mass observance of Shabbat & Kashrut. So I generally spend my religious time in Orthodox synagogues, though I reside at the very leftwing edge of that spectrum, and sometimes go to the local Conservative shul.

But I particularly like this line by Sarah Miriam Liben, in her article on the gender divide in Conservative Judaism (men are becoming Orthodox) and her desire to stay true to her egalitarian Conservative Jewish ideals. Though she is talking about college campuses, I think this is applicable to the feelings of people like myself in the adult world:

"Given this picture, it is easy to understand the pull factor of the vibrant Orthodox communities in college where being a committed Jew doesn’t make you a rarity or simply the most educated or most observant, but places you among a sea of peers."

1 comment:

  1. Some months back we had the son of a Conservative rabbi at our Shabbat table, and I was frankly stunned at the lapses in basic knowledge about things like brachot and Shabbat observance. No judgment, just surprise.