The Nishma Research Profile of American Modern Orthodox Jews – Surprise, But No Surprise

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112 Responses

  1. Steve Brizel says:

    The Musaf RH is predicated on Malchiyos Zicronos and Shofaros. The statistics quoted above show substantial ignorance or R”L a refusal to acknowledge the aforementioned elements of Judaism 101 and a lack of committment to observance of basic mitzvos such as putting on Tefilin and Tefila and complete Shmiras Shabbos.

    Aside from that fact, as R D Fischer stressed in his review of a survey last June look at the study group( the persons interested in the data). Many are advocates of long standing nature for the conclusions sought by the study. One fact was dnot discussed which may undercut the entire study’s importance-the impact of the secular college campus on the level of observance of the average MO high school graduate even after a year or two in Israel.

    • Hi, Steve ….I hope you are doing well.

      Re your comment: “look at the study group( the persons interested in the data). Many are advocates of long standing nature for the conclusions sought by the study.” ….. approximately two dozen people gave input on the questions to be asked. They came from the entire spectrum of Modern Orthodoxy. That’s all they did; just create the questions.

      My job as project head was to ensure that all questions were asked properly (wording, etc.) and that the analysis was done without any values-based judgment. So you are seeing what people told us.

      I wish you a gmar chasima tova. Ut’s been a long time since we had many great shmoozes back in Bensonhurst.

      Moish

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Moishe -I remember you well from the many Shabbosim and Yamim Tovim that we spent at the YI of West Hartford when there were many Baalei Batim who were moser nefesh to send their kids to yeshivas ranging from YU to BMG many of whose children and SIs are prominent Talmidei Chachamim and the presence of an active NCSY region which one of your sons was a regional director. I think that all surveys must be read with a grain of salt as to who is directing the survey n namely the Study Group, many of whom have long documented positions on the LW of MO. That fact is undeniable. When I recited the relevant passages and psukim in Selichos this morning, my special kavana was that those who gave such reports can find their way back to Torah and Mitzvos.

  2. micha berger says:

    A survey naturally measures the opinions of the “self-identifying Orthodox”. We living in observant O communities tend to grossly underestimate or altogether forget about the number of Jews in “less Jewish” areas who affiliate with O even though they are non-observant. A lot of the deflation of the numbers is likely their impact.

    There are other flaws in the survey. For example:
    “Only 51% of total respondents believe that “Hashem is involved with all day-to-day activities and guides the events of my life”. The same percentage believes that the Oral Torah was fully given to Moshe at Sinai.”
    Say you believe that the story in the gemara where Moshe Rabbeinu visits R’ Aqiva’s shiur means that Moshe got a base set of dinim and the process by which we derive the others.
    Do you answer yes or no?

    On the subject of JOFA and the OU response, Dr Noam Stadlan, the man who launched the poll, wrote a responsed. It was summarized at http://jewishweek.timesofisrael.com/sneak-peek-an-analysis-of-the-ban-on-women-rabbis , but there is a link to the full PDF there as well.

    • micha berger says:

      Sorry, I should have written “… Dr Noam Stalan, the man who launched a petition demanding women rabbis …”

    • mycroft says:

      Oral Torah fully given at Sinai-a respondent might interpret Oral Torah as including all Rabbinic decrees, which clearly were not given at Sinai. My statement should not be interpreted to mean that we don’t have a Torah obligation to follow Rabbinic laws.
      Re Hashem is involved in all day to day activities. Certainly one can interpret that sentence as contrary to the Rambam where God does not routinely get involved in all activities. I remember when the first Super Bowl ,back then called NFL-AFL championship game, a discussion in Yeshiva whether or not God cares who would win the game. Certainly Hassidic approach of not a leave falls without God, but the other approach is represented. Thus the Rav felt once we accept that there is a just God there has to be an olam haemet because otherwise this world is not just.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        The Talmud in Eruvin also discusses whether it would have been better for man to have been created or not. RYBS understood that Gemara to mean that a person must always be engaging in self introspection and seeking means of improvement. I stand by my reference to Malchiyos Zicronos and Shofaros which RYBS viewed as the best statement of Judaism 101 in print, and which by their text refute Mycroft’s claims re a limited sense of Hashgacha Pratis which many ascribe to Rambam, but which one can argue Chazal clearly did not subscribe to in the formulation of Zicronos. FWIW, with respect to Rabbinic decrees-the issue is not whether one thinks that every contemporary chiddush was given at Sinai, but rather the ability to transmit, and develope Chidushim, Minhagin, Pskei Halacha whether L chumra or Lkula that may differ from prior generations and even in Dinei Mamonos, but not in Heter v Issur or ebven vKum V Aseh have the ability to abolish the same.. One should look at CI on Matan Torah, Beis HaLevi Drush 18 , intro of Netziv to HaEemek Shelah, RYBS’s shiurim on Teshuvah and the Luchos Sheniyos, and an essay of REW HShem YimKam damo ZL for some additional insights into what was given to Moshe Rabbeinu as TSBP.

        • Mycroft says:

          i am not debating machlokes of rishonim the way God operates in this world. Due to the nature of things most of us are closer to 120 than yilida and thus will know son enough.
          I am not disputing or chose to waste my time on arguing one position or the other, there are rishonim n different sides of the issue and we don’t pasken these matters. As a sociological matter one can’t state that one who follows the Rambam in an hashkafic issue s not Orthodox.

          • Steve Brizel says:

            If you posit that the Rambam either is the only view or disregard other well known views, that is neither correct nor intellectually honest.

          • Steve Brizel says:

            Show me a Rishon who denies Malchiyos Zicronos and Shofaros as statement of Judaism.101

          • mycroft says:

            I never stated the Rambam is the only view. I did state that one who follows any accepted viewpoint on hashkafs is not one who one can claim is not Orthodox. Thus, if someone accepts the Rambams viewpoint on hashgacha pratis, or the Kabbalist viewpoint on sfirot-I would accept both as Orthodox despite views that both held which are counter to many greats of our past.
            It is not intellectually honest to pretend the Rambam is not an acceptable view.

          • dr. bill says:

            steve brizel, show me a rishon who says malchiyot, zichronot and shofrot are a statement of judaism 101.

            if everything no rishon explicitly denied is assumed true, then perhaps fish can be yotzeh you in the mitzvah of shofar.

          • Steve Brizel says:

            Obviously in quoting Rambam one should state clearly if he or she is relying on the MN or a particular halacha innthe Yad.

        • mycroft says:

          Al regel achat I dont disagree with you about the obligation to follow mesorah. I have simply mentioned that one can accept your formulation and interpret the poll question the way I did. Thus, one can believe essentially what you wrote without answering the poll questions the way Rabbi Gordimer believes they should have been answered.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Your comment re a Torah obligation to follow Rabbinic laws may be correct in the sense that one can read Rambam in that fashion, but other Rishonim such as Ramban both in Chumash and IIRC in Shorsesh Sheni in Sefer HaMitzvos where he vehemently disagrees with Rambam’s formulation as to what is a Mitzvah Min HaTorah, and on Lo Sasur) and Rabbeinu Nissim in Sanhedrin clearly would disagree. Rabbeinu Nissim in Sanhedrin clearly posits that it is the Ratzon HaTorah that we follow the Baalei Mesorah in every generation who are the proper addresses for such issues as to Psak Halacha on issues both of a Torah and Rabbinic nature.

        • Mycroft says:

          I merely wrote that one can believe that one must listen to chazal wo believing that the Oral Torah which includes all of Chazal was all revealed on Sinai. For starters no one maintains that Mitzvat Ner Channukah was revealed on Sinai, the four fast days. I was not intending to dispute the requirement to follow Chazal, I was merely stating how one could answer the question different than Rabbi Gordimer believed it should be answered while believing everything that Rabbi Gordimer believes is essential to believe.

          • Steve Brizel says:

            Re Chanukah-look at Ramban in Parshas Belaasosecha.

          • Steve Brizel says:

            The Gemara emphasizes that any potential Chiddush rhat a tamid vasik ( Rashi in Brachos or Shabbos defines talmid vasik) is destined to.be mvhadesh was given to Moshe Rabbeinu in the sense that the power of being Mchadesh was given at Sinai.and that chiddushim become apparent in different generations. The Takmud tells in Shabnos that Moshe Rabbeinus adfition of an additional day during the leadup to Kabalas HaTorah is one onvious rxample. See SHuT Beis HaLevi Drush 18 and Noraos HaRav 16 where the uniqueness of Kabalas luchos shniyos and especially ad to the chagim of Tishrei amis discussed at length

          • dr. bill says:

            the assertion that whatever a talmid will innovate was given to moses at sinai, is one of the strongest statements LIMITING what the oral law given at SInai might mean.

        • Mycroft says:

          Lo tasur has different contradictory approaches, compare Rasi, Ramban with Yerushalmi Horayiot. We must follow Rabbis when they state Yemin is Emin and smol is smol, drasha on Asher yagidu lecha Yemin usmol. I do not claim to be able to rule between different viewpoints.

  3. Chochom B'mah Nishtaneh says:

    I found one of the charts included in this “study” notable. There was a chart which purports to measure the changes in levels of personal religious observance over the past 10 years.

    While “Right Centrist” reported a 44 percent increase in religious observance, OO reported 9% DECREASE.

    OO presented their reasoning for their openness in order to make religion more “available”. They profess that they are really out for kiruv. But this self reported statistic shows that just the opposite is occurring. Oy.

    What a failure of a religious movement that reports it has decreased religious observance.

    • Mycroft says:

      Another possibility is that OO is the last refuge of those leaving Orthodoxy and have been turned off by it. Thus, can’t blame OO for religious decrease of those before they became OO. Should not be construed as my personally involved in OO. I can’t perceive myself ever using them for Halachik decisions

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Turned off-more likely.bored or never really understanding or have an emotional committment.

        • mycroft says:

          Or they like the vast majority of non CC readers have rejected as untrue the fundamental aspect of our emunah, eg Torah minhashamyim. We perform itzvot because we believe in Torah minhashamayim, why would someone rejecting that belief do mitzvot?

          • dr. bill says:

            i think reject is too strong a term; i would say interpret very differently. that might better explain why some you would call orthoprax disagree strongly. if you want to engage in dialogue with those on the so called left of orthodoxy, it is important not to mischaracterize their beliefs whether they are or are not within the bounds of legitimacy.

          • dr. bill says:

            i think reject is too strong a term; i would say interpret very differently. that might better explain why some you would call orthoprax disagree strongly. if you want to engage in dialogue with those on the so called left of orthodoxy, it is important not to mischaracterize their beliefs whether they are or are not within the bounds of legitimacy.

  4. Mike S says:

    I found the report utterly depressing, even aside from anything about the Open Orthodox. Only 1/3 of men study Torah daily? And little more than half study more than once a week? Even among the most right wing group barely half (61%) find Tfillah fully meaningful? Half think dishonesty in business is a major problem? Even on the right only 90% of men are “mostly observant” of tfillin? 51% think, despite the clear explanation to the contrary of the Rambam and the numerous Talmudic passages that are his source, that God gave the whole oral Torah to Moshe at Sinai?

    These are signs of major problems across the board. This seems to me to be a major call for broad communal action, not another reason to fight amongst ourselves.

  5. Thank you, Rabbi Gordimer.

    I am the person who headed up this research.

    The comment “many of those involved in conducting and guiding the survey are decidedly pluralistic/very liberal, to others who point to some quite left-leaning outcomes of the survey” is not correct. In addition to myself, there were 13 others who come from across Modern Orthodoxy. In addition some prominent people from mainstream Centrist Orthodoxy chimed in, in developing the questions.

    More importantly, THE RESULTS PUBLISHED ARE EXACTLY WHAT THE COMMUNITY TOLD US, not what any of the researchers think.

    The results are available at http://nishmaresearch.com/social-research.html and I hope people will read it.

    I wish everyone a gmar chasima tova.

    Mark (Moish) Trencher
    Nishma Research

    • “Some have called for the survey to be taken with a grain of salt, due to the pluralistic orientation of many of those who authored and oversaw it. I humbly disagree, as the data was collected in large measure through access channels provided by RCA pulpit rabbis.” Thank you! We truly aimed to report what we heard, without any judgment. Our hope is to create vibrant discussion. This is the first such broad survey ever done of the Modern Orthodox, who comprise 40% of all Orthodox.

  6. Shades of Gray says:

    I didn’t read the report, but I am reminded of an issue with the 2013 Pew report of how one defines “Orthodox”, as it could include traditional people who associate with an Orthodox synagogue.

    In “Eight facts about Orthodox Jews from the Pew Research survey”(Pew website, October 2013) one “fact” was ” while 77% of Orthodox Jews say they refrain from handling or spending money on the Sabbath, 22% say they do not. “(one wit said at the time, that some respondents might have confused “handle” with the Yiddish “hondle”, to bargain, ie, people who discuss monetary issues with the preface “nisht oif Shabbos geredt”).

    • We surveyed several hundred people who did not categorize themselves personally as Orthodox, but belonged to an Orthodox shul. They were asked a few questions, including why they belonged to an Orthodox shul. But they were NOT included in the data in our report.

  7. lacosta says:

    we have to be thankful for the haredi community , even if we have lots of disagreements with them . because they are the only community we can be sure will endure . even if we contend that OTD percentages are the same across the board , this report is describing large swaths of ‘orthodoxy’ that look like what the Conservative movement’s parishiners were doing 60 yrs ago—getting less praxic, having little doxy , and not studying enough to care….

    • dr. bill says:

      please do not confuse more delineated doxy for little doxy. anyone, familiar with moshe halberthal’s 3 categories – belief that, belief in and belief as – recognizes that the one most assert today is easier to understand but also not found prior to its formulation 850 years ago.

      your prediction of the chareidi future should be tempered by what occurred in many parts of pre-War europe. my hope is that a vibrant MO community will give chareidim an alternative, one that was not that widely available in many parts of Europe back then.

  8. mycroft says:

    I tend to disagree with much of OO, but to compare them to the Conservative movement 60 years ago is unfair. It is 67 years ago that they published a responsa permitting driving on Shabbos to synagogue. Nothing that OO or any large segment of MO approves is yet in that ballpark. The future lo navi anochi or ben navi anochi.

    • Chochom b'mahnishtaneh says:

      Promoting homosexual marriage and relationships is not in that category?

      • mycroft says:

        I am not aware of any mainstream OO personality stating that mishkavei zachar is permitted. It is an entirely different matter to whether they encourage sinners to daven in schul. I attend a moderate chareidi schul and there certainly were non Shomer Shabbos in attendance yesterday.
        IMO one should have the same standard for mechallel Shabbos as homosexuals. Welcome as individuals, but the same way one does not have in schul a group called mechalei Shabbos of schul x they should not have a group of homosexuals of schul x

        • Chochom b'mahnishtaneh says:

          Senior OO clergy publicly posted “Mazel Tov” on the Obergefell decision. Clergy members who are supposed leaders of the sect.

          I hardly think any Chareidi Shul or clergy congratulated the less than observant participants acts of chillul shabbos. That is exactly what OO has in fact done with mishkav zachor. And there numerous other practices that also fall into the same geder that are espoused by the so called Clerical leadership.

        • dr. bill says:

          while i agree with you, i also think that chillul shabbat is very much less necessary in modern day america. i know many C-level executives of Fortune 100 firms, MPs of white-shoe law firms who were/are fully shomer shabbos.

          if anything, the level of homosexual attraction has gone in the other direction, for societal reasons we cannot control or even influence.

          • mycroft says:

            It may be less of an issue to famous elite and some technical people, but do not underplay the disadvantage of being shomer shabbos in many less glamorous fields. Ever since Hardison v TWA a four decade seminal Supreme Court Case dealing with religious discrimination. The case held that following a bona fide seniority system was legal even though it meant that an employee whose religious beliefs would not be able to ever work because he had less seniority and thus could never gain seniority to avoid working on Sabbath. There are more people born Jewish who are affected by this rule than there shomer shabbos C level executives of Fortune 100 firms or MZPs of white-shoe law firms.

        • Steve Brizel says:

          Wishing a same gender couple mazel tov has already happened in a major OO shul.

          • dr. bill says:

            and a famous RY deleted the utube of him dancing with a felon responsible for a massive chillul hashem as he was released from prison. things happen that should not; assuming they represent a shittah that others associated embrace is an unfair assumption.

            i also saw a major member of mizrachi also responsible for a massive chillul hashem get shlishi at the great synagogue decades ago.

            the difference between the three cases is that only the latter got a very strong negative response from responsible representatives.

            i expect all organizations to concentrate on discipling their own, not others. ironically, neither end of orthodoxy does a great job at fulfilling that goal. who does better; i think that is not even close to arguable. who tends to attack outside their camp more often is also not even close to arguable.

            especially after YK, perhaps we can withhold attacks until at least SA. 🙂

          • We specifically did not ask about same-gender couples, as we wanted to stay away from the issue of attitudes toward “sanctioning” same-gender marriage. We simply asked about allowing such people as members of the shul. You might say we were probing more their social attitudes (bein adam l’chavero, i.e., treatment of a gay person) than their halachic attitudes.

          • mycroft says:

            I also saw a major RY speaking in memory of a person who died in Federal prison after pleading guilty of fraud. I dont believe I have seen attacks on the whole hashkafa based on that action.

      • dr. bill says:

        compare the official positions of YCT and Beit Hillel in Israel on homosexuality. BH includes a few first rate lamdanim/lamdanot and schoars that I assume most/all consider orthodox.

        • Mycroft says:

          I’d be curious to see the mazel Tov? Is it in their bulletin.
          Who wished the gay couple Mazen tov? If a leader of OO it would appear to me they should be challenged on it. It is certainly something that we don’t wish mazel Tov on.

          • Steve Brizel says:

            One.of R Gordimers most recent articles had a direct link to the shul in question.

          • Steve Brizel says:

            The link was posted by R Gordimer. Wonder what that shul lained yesterday at Mincha.

          • Steve Brizel says:

            It wasvim a weekly shul bulletin re mazel tovs etc.

          • Mycroft says:

            Reclaiming at mincha, do you have same test for schuls that honor mechalei Shabbos, do you question their Torah reasdings.

          • Chochom B'mah Nishtaneh says:

            Silly comment. You don’t see Chareidi SHuls honoring/congratulating someone on their Chillul Shabbos.

          • dr. bill says:

            i agree. different traditional societies considered different transgressions as beyond the pale. there is an interesting article by prof. kanarfogel on medieval community difference between ashkenaz and sefarad.

            in chareidi shuls different avaryonim are given kibbudim.

            sadly, it is a universal issue

          • Steve Brizel says:

            Ignoring the contents of the aforementioned bulletin and trying to find examples of arguably inappropriate behavior do not make the fact that it was there go away.any such Mael Tov cannot br rationalized with the laining on Mincha on YK. Like it or not adherence to halachos rooted in Arayos and kashrus are whatdefinr Kedusha in the Yad Hachazakah.

          • dr. bill says:

            steve brizel, i suspect that you just illustrated from another anachronism; the term kedusha today and in classical hebrew do not have the same connotation. rashi (and ramban) on the first passuk in kedoshim make that abundantly clear.

  9. Rabbi Gordimer, I appreciate everything you write, and I am grateful that Orthodox Judaism has in you an intelligent and honest expositor. I wish, though, you wouldn’t fall into the trap of assuming that your opponent is a fool. You write “How one who breaks with the norm can then have the audacity to condemn the norm for being divisive is beyond me.” I assume they believe that the change they advocate is minor, similar to Hoshanos before or after Musaf, or coming to shul in short pants and flip flops, and that the opposition is just the way the super-conservative Orthodox deal with even trivial change. The point is that Orthodox does not have to mean reactionary.

  10. joel rich says:

    As one who has a passing knowledge of surveys, of course every survey has to be taken with grains of salt – survey design, question construction, respondents and interpretation are all subject to conscious and unconscious bias.
    Interesting is agunot as #2 on the problem list – perhaps an example of Kahnemann Tversky availability bias?
    Sad to me is that what I would pick as 1 and 2 (how a system based on authority and community deals with a western liberal ethic based on individual autonomy , making what HKB”H wants central in our lives) didn’t score
    Gmar Tov

    • A “Kahnemann Tversky availability bias” comment is worthy of response 🙂 Thanks, Joel. We were surprised by this result, since the agunag problem personally affects fewer people that some of the other items that ranked lower. I suppose people see it as a problem because it does affect a not insignificant number, and more so because of the devastating nature of these individual cases.

  11. Sholem Hurwitz says:

    “Only 51% of total respondents believe that “Hashem is involved with all day-to-day activities and guides the events of my life””
    The assumption here is that a Jew must believe that Hashem is involved in all day-to-day activities?
    The question of Divine Providence is not straight forward, and the Rishonim like Rambam, Ramban, Ralbag and others may not have answered a blanket “Yes” to such a question, no?

    While respondents who did not answer “yes” may not hold the specific views of these Rishonim, their own beliefs may not be “beyond the pale” of Torah (Orthodox/Halakhic etc.) Judaism.

  12. Bob Miller says:

    Regardless of the technical niceties we discuss here, this survey does have enough to make us uneasy about the ways large sectors of our people now define their own Orthodoxy.

  13. Steve Brizel says:

    Dr Bill-Malchiyos Zicronos and Shofaros are considered the ultimate statement of Judaism.101 by Chazal. Please cite a RIshon who states otherwise.

    • dr. bill says:

      metoch lav ee atah shomeah hain. as a told you (and it is a very real issue in your ability to comprehend torah properly), no rishon says that i am not perfect; does that make me perfect? i may be; but no rishon claiming otherwise does not prove it. KAPISH.

  14. Steve Brizel says:

    Dr Bill-re your comment re TSBP and Moshe Rabbeinu i stand by the sources that i cited. To the contrary any legimiste chiddush was given to Moshe Rabbeinu and was discovered by a Tana Amora Rishon or Acharon. We need go remember that TSBP in its most pristine form despite the avalanche of seforim out there vis a vis Rishonim and Acharon remains in its most pristine form TSBP transmitted from.rebbe to talmid.

    • dr. bill says:

      there are a number of statements that every rational talmudic scholar – trained in a yeshivah or a university or both, quote to prove that the notion of torah she’be’al peh as given from sinai, has a more complex rather than literal definition. the one that seems to grab you is one. moshe in r. akivah’s classroom is another and i have a shiur to prepare so we will stop here. what these midrashim /aggadatah are implying is that the power vested in rabbinic interpreters to decide halakha is embedded in the Torah itself. the pesukim quoted to demonstrate that are of course circular, a point academics have pointed out. but that is another matter that does not diminish their acknowledgement of the God given power invested and implicit in our poskim.

      to make it simple – if i say listen to rabbi katz and he tells you something is assur, it is the same as if i told you that it is assur.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        It is no.more circular than relying on the elastic clausescin the Constitutiin as rhe basis for upholding a new statute as constitutional . Citcularity in this context is just a nice way of denying that Moshe Rabbeinu was given and transmitted the power to be mchadesh dinim even as to how we observe mitzvos on a Torah level today.

        • mycroft says:

          The Constitution has been interpreted since Marshalls power grab to be whatever 9 men appointed for life want it to be. I hope you believe that Chazal have more integrity in their interpretation of Torah than the Supremes have in interpreting Constitution.

          • Steve Brizel says:

            Pnviously i do. I think that the analogy to TSBP being a built in means of transmission has many sources bebind it and I stand by it. Any studentbof constitutional law will show you that certain clauses werre intended to be interpreted as opposed to having a static interpretation.

          • Mycroft says:

            Any person following constitutional law can see how it is a lagging indicator of election returns with a feedback loop shown by Bush v Gore, when lagging indicator gave Bush the election 5-4 which led to Supremes even more reflecting one party control.

        • dr. bill says:

          I wonder if you have you read the argument? please read what i said: “but that is another matter that does not diminish their acknowledgement of the God given power invested and implicit in our poskim.” how does that imply your claim: “Citcularity in this context is just a nice way of denying that Moshe Rabbeinu was given and transmitted the power to be mchadesh dinim… “

          • Steve Brizel says:

            I read the argument and I stand by my comment.

          • Steve Brizel says:

            Having reread your argument it is obvious that circularity remains the aegument and domain of anyone who denies that Moshe Rabbeinu received TSBP and transmitted the ability to be mchadesh etc yo subsequent generations.

          • dr. bill says:

            steve brizel, i did not explain why circularity was not an issue in this context; i just stated that it wasn’t to chazal, without explanation. the explanation is known to anyone familiar with how chazal, to whom this type of circularity is not an issue, would often argue.

  15. Steve Brizel says:

    Getting back to the study and WADR to Moishe Trencher, I stand by my comments re the Study Group and the LW MO orientation of many of its members many of who support the feminist critique of halacha in their writings and public statements. IMO,t he answer to such a poll remains chizuk, which is the flip side of kiruv, which begins in home, and can be helped immeasurably summer camping where MO youth and adolescents are exposed to authentical Torah personalities and role models and especially spending Shabbos with a rebbe or morah where Shabbos won’t be seen as 24 hours of dead time.

    • Steve, all the advisory group did was suggest issues to cover. I very strongly recommend you look at the survey questionnaire. You will see about 60 questions that we worked over for months, to ensure there is no biased language.

      The survey findings and report are exactly how people responded, presented neutrally and without values-based judgment. Nothing is cited as good or bad. Nothing is described as a positive development or a problem. We are just presenting the facts.

      (Also, please note that some people from the very centrist and right-tending branches were involved in suggesting topics that we included, but they preferred not to be named.)

      So, Steve and others, my suggestion is that you read and think about what people said in the survey.

      (Also, your position is logically flawed. If this was done by a bunch of liberals, why would we report the negative things about the more liberal branches … wouldn’t we gloss over that rather than presenting it factually?)

      Moish

      • Steve Brizel says:

        You cant read the rrspinses without a hpe that those expressing negative views find thwir way back to Torah and Mitzvos.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        If i threw batting practice to Aaron Judge there is no doubt that he would hit 100 home runs. When questions are phrased to elicit responses such as are posted one must ask oneself whether the same id a credible response or simply a ratiknalization for ones behavior.

        • mycroft says:

          Steve
          You have a lot of talent but I am not aware of the skill to throw the exact type of pitch that is easiest for home run derby. It cant be too slow, must be placed exactly in the sweet part. Why players in such competitions usually pick own pitchers often batting practice pitchers who can pitch the exact pitch they want.

          • Steve Brizel says:

            Batting practice thrown perfectly yields home runs. I stand by my analogy.

          • Mycroft says:

            Steve
            I stand by my comments. You have a lot of skill. I am not aware that you have skill to throw batting practice perfectly.

          • Steve Brizel says:

            Mycroft i stand by my comments. Any sociological survey whose scope is supervised by experts with well stated biases borders on junk science

          • Mycroft says:

            If you don’t trust studies done by experts who have a bas, you can’t trust anything printed in Jewish Action, by RY, by you and I . We all have a bias that Torah was given by God.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        I have read and reread the survey and the responses and stand by my conclusion that far too many members of the study group had a LWMO orientation and have had such an orientation for years. That fact alone and their influence as you described in framing questions raised a strong concern in my mind as to data being used to justify preexisting conclusions.

        • mycroft says:

          To be consistent , in your opinion one should not trust any surveys about Orthodox Jews sponsored by the OU, YU, Torah Umesorah, any descriptions of kiruv by NCSY.
          There are Orthodox sociologists, you dont trust them.
          You dont trust Pew. FYI most modern day polls are very accurate. There are margins of error,.

          • Steve Brizel says:

            I trust the facts on the ground such as the communal instituitions shuls yeshivas eruvin mikvaos restaurants etc . To paraphrase RYA the numbers of people buying pizza on night before a YT or Shabbos the number of classes per grade the availability of k to adult Torah education and who composes the community and young grandparents and the percentage of BTs are factors that are indicative of communal vitality a factor that we should be proud of even as we must address or respond to the obvious fraying at the edges of MO life.. The most recent Pew survey was a vast improvement that the Federation world should emulate when the Federation world next attempts to profile Orthodoxy. Try reading Dr Jack Werheimer and his articles about Orthodoxy and sime of the articles written by some of the study group and then ask yourself who would you think is Orthodox if you werent familiar with their prior writings.

          • Steve Brizel says:

            Polls especially in politics have to be digested carefully. How many polls correctly predicted the outcome of November 2016?

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Exactly my point. Experts with a longstanding bias on gender based issues and halacha suggested the issues which yielded the intended results.

        • mycroft says:

          Re November 2016 election, the popular vote was closer to the final RCP average than it was in the 2012 election. It was less than a per cen.t off. The polls were well within their margin of error The most respected web predictor Fivethirtyeight gave Trump a 30% chance of winning the election.
          Such accuracy would be by most to be an argument for accepting polls

  16. joel rich says:

    Related-From R’YBS
    To contemporary Orthodox Jews the Torah is revealed in intellectual categories, in cold thought and logic. However, it has not merited being revealed in a living “sensory” mode, which causes both trembling and gladdening of the heart. They recognize the Torah as an idea, but they do not encounter it as an unmediated reality that on can taste, see and feel. Through this absence of genuine Torah feeling, their outlook on Judaism becomes sterile. American young people therefore gravitate towards an exaggerated fanaticism that is frightening in its arrogance, and then move to the opposite extreme and agree to excessive compromise. In brief, they are wandering aimlessly in the paths of Judaism… (Al Hateshuvah , Al Ahavat Hatorah Uge’ulat Nefesh Hador),

  17. Steve Brizel says:

    I see nothing in the survey that would remotely support the conclusion that ordinagion of women would turn around the defections fromMO. The only solution is and will always be Hashiveinu Avinu LSorasecha vKarevenu Malkeinu LaAvodasecha. No surveys will will ever change that reality.

  18. Steve Brizel says:

    Mycroft look at Rambam Awith respect yo Kabalas Torah. That is hardly bias . I would hate to think that you view halachic positions as driven by anything other than how a Posek or rav views a potential issue. Like it or not sociological surveys and the conclusions that energe depend on what questions are included suggested or deemed important by the study group. Any such study is inherently driven by the POV if its proponents.

    • dr. bill says:

      Steve Brizel, are you really arguing that every survey is biased? might you be taking kohelet a step too far? even granting that all human activity exhibits some level of bias, that would not, God forbid, irreversibly taint all such activity.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        See RFischers comments about surveys study groups and preordained results . Determining what should be viewed as real science as opposed to junk science especially in the softer social sciences is one of the major problems and issues remains vitally important. Likevit or not much of the liberal and academic elite and their media allies assured us for decades of the wonders of Communism and ugnored the rise of Nazism and now seek to reinvent American history ala Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky. Thats why such surveys deserve to be read eith the proverbial dose of salt

        • Mycroft says:

          I have no doubt that Dr Bill and Joel Rich understand data and analysis well. Rabbi Fischer to the best of my knowledge is not trained in the areas that you are discussing. He has been an advocate either as a lawyer or a Rabbi during his career. IF I am wrong please cite to me Rabbi Fischer’s professional background in critiquing surveys. I may well be wrong as I do not regularly read his writings but if I am wrong please show me how I am wrong.

          • Steve Brizel says:

            R Fischers critiwue of thev2016bsurvey by Nishma is available by searching the archives at this websie for June 2016. I think that his expertise as a former law clerk for a federal appellate judge is very helpful especially since anyone who litigates or did in federal court knows that judges have a mandate from.SCOTUS to screen expert evidence offered by those who claim.to be experts but ehose expertise is limited to the courtroom. A similar argument and skeptibility should be accorded demographic studies and their authors especiaaly when significant members of such a group have been voicing tge opinions voiced in the survey and its results for decades.

          • Steve Brizel says:

            Dr Bill and Joel Rich like all of us are entitled and free BH to write what they want. I think that all such surveys especially given who is the study group and the guidance and direction which Moishe Trencher they gave at least some of which to this survey at least warrants its being read with a large dose of salt.

          • Steve Brizel says:

            And academic experts who have long been identified by their writings with the feminist critique of halacha are long standing members of that choir and are always ready to critique the MO and charedi worlds of today are not biased?

          • mycroft says:

            I reread 2016 critique of survey on CC. You and I had a lengthy exchange on the issue back then, interested readers can read both our comments if they want to revisit your claims and Rabbi Fischers and the many comments on this blog back then

          • Steve Brizel says:

            Mycroft-thanks for the comment re R Fischer’s critique of the June 2016 survey and our extensive discussions thereto. I agree that the same should be read in conjunction with the current discussion.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Rationalization is a means by which man has been justfying his morally inappropriate conduct after the fact and in various means since the expulsion from.Gan Eden. That is why R Fischers dismissal of the 2016 survey is worth reading .

        • mycroft says:

          How is one who doesn’t observe shatness or kashrut immoral. We observe it because God commanded it but please explain the immoral behavior in violating those laws.

          • Steve Brizel says:

            The adherence or lack thereof to Chukim has much to with how anf ines life is or should be guided by Mishpatim not the converse precisely because of nature of Chukim.

          • Steve Brizel says:

            Chukim by their seemingly inscrutable basis are designed to emphasize the uniwueness of our relationship individually and as a community with HaShem

          • Steve Brizel says:

            The highest form of morality is not Mishpatim which can in some form be rationalized and even implemented in a secular legal system in part, but rather recognizing and observing the commandment of HaShem per se as such as that which establishes Havadalah Bein Yisrael LAmim whether or not that Chok requires a bracha. Any normal person should refrain from committing an act of violence or worse or helping the sick and aged. Obediance to that which is irrational but which is Divinely Ordained is a far higher level of morality,

  19. Steve Brizel says:

    I think that the responses should be read in conjunction with the responses to the 2016 survey as to why people go OTD.and R Fischers comments re the age old power of rationalization to justify ones conduct.

  20. mycroft says:

    If you didn’t believe that human prior beliefs impact psak, youd be in favor of AI psak. Could feed in all Torah, tshuvot known to man from everywhere and see what happens.
    We all follow poskim that have assumptions that we agree with. Obviously there are assumptions that all poskim agree with and are assumptions that all CC agree with, Torah minhashamayim, binding nature of halacha. There are other implicit assumptions that some agree with and others disagree with.

    • Steve Brizel says:

      We seek Psak because we are in need of Psak and Hadracha from.someone by dint of his lomdus yashrus tzidkus and midos tovos in our community is known as a person to address such questions.

  21. Ralph Suiskind says:

    Let us be blunt! Would anyone seriously engaged in any other human endeavor be it education, business, etc jeopardize his/her success by only committing himself or herself half heartedly to a successful outcome?? Why should a life of Torah/Mitzvos observance be reserve to a half heart hardened attempt ? Torah/Mitzvos observance is not merely relegated to attending weekly ritual observance but to every human endeavor throughout our lives …

  22. Mycroft says:

    Who are you accusing of making a half hearted attempt at Torah/ Umitzvot? Please explain the basis of and details of your charge.

  23. Steve Brizel says:

    Getting back to the survey as opposed to what is a perceived and documented bias of somebof the study group members the numbers illustrate a significant minority within.MO that does not adhere to basic significant mitzvos. That being said IMO i stand by my previously poat that it us wishful thinking that ordination of women will turn these problematic statistics around. We can only daven and that HaShem.helps each to be Hasiveinu Avinu LSorasecha vkarveinu Avinu LaAvodosecha.

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