Blog Template Theology of the Body: Evangelical Judaism? In crisis, no less.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Evangelical Judaism? In crisis, no less.

Here's an interesting article at Slate on the problems that Conservative Judaism is facing these days as it attempts to strike a balance between modernity and tradition and the be the middle ground between Orthodox Judaism and Reform Judaism. It should sound a familiar note to many readers of this blog.

Some excerpts:

I grew up in the Conservative movement, and my religious ideals line up with it in many ways. Yet I agree that it often misses the mark and suffers, as Schorsch said, from "a failure of nerve." As the world is growing increasingly religious, the faithful are not growing more interested in reconciling modernity and tradition. They are becoming more orthodox. It's somehow liberating (if not encouraging) to see the leader of a religious movement whose goal is to hold the middle ground forcefully wrestle with his sense of failure.

But Conservative Judaism has never adequately explained how its rabbis or congregants should decide which aspects of modern times are worth adjusting the law to, and which aren't. The decision in 1972 to ordain women rabbis at JTS wasn't advocated by the institutions' Talmudic scholars but by a committee of lay people. They made many strong moral and ethical arguments for ordaining women, but they couldn't ground their stance coherently in Jewish law.

MM's note: Robert Eisenberg deals with the same topic in his fun title "Boychiks in the Hood," which predicts the vital future of hyper orthodox Judaism in the American Future. See it here.