Monday, July 13, 2015

Why I'm not Open Orthodox

With all this talk of whether Open Orthodox is "in" or "out" of Orthodoxy, I wonder how many people actually identify as Open Orthodox, aside from the students, graduates, and hanhala of Chovevei Torah?

I can only speak for myself, but while I tend towards the far left of Orthodoxy, and deeply identify with many of the attitudes of OO, I don't actually use that label to define myself. I suspect that many of my like-thinking friends are like me - we don't feel the need to be pinned down by a label.

As a layman who does not work in the Orthodox world, I don't have to identify myself for professional reasons. I'm simply a Jew who attends an Orthodox shul and keeps normative traditional halacha in my everyday life. Beyond that, there's no reason to put myself into any sort of box. I can pick and choose elements of hashkafa that resonate with me from wherever they come.

If I were in a box that is officially labeled "Orthodox", then I would have to worry about things like what lines I can and cannot cross when it comes to biblical authorship, how to painfully reinterpret biblical verses to allow me to support same-sex marriage, and needing lines of my own (despite them being further left than mainstream) regarding women's participation in ritual. However, since I don't feel the need for a label, I can just be an halachic Jew, one who tends to affiliate with Orthodoxy, but who follows truth and morality to wherever they take me.

How many of you out there actually specifically identify yourselves as Open Orthodox?

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