Moving to “the Right”

The recent Hamodia article about young people who grew up as Modern Orthodox (or, to be more precise, who grew up primarily as “MO Lite”) is very worthwhile reading. It should compel Modern Orthodox (especially “MO Lite”) leadership and parents to take a step back and see what needs to be addressed and how it can be done.

A few observations, in no particular order:

  • The term “flipping out” is quite pejorative, as it indicates that someone who became more serious about his or her Torah observance has acted mindlessly, weirdly and even absurdly. “Flipping out” is a loaded term, intended to undermine and to devalue.
  • The article poses a very uncomfortable question to parents who oppose their children becoming more serious about Torah observance: Why spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on Orthodox schooling – and many hundreds of thousands more on Orthodox lifestyle requirements – if the goal is not authentic commitment and embrace of the Orthodox message? What happened to “practice what you preach”?
  • Various unofficial statistics report that the attrition rate of Modern Orthodox Jews/Modern Orthodox abandonment of observance is very high – perhaps up to 50%. Although the Nishma Research Profile of American Modern Orthodox Jews is an extremely important commentary and collection of data on the topic of Modern Orthodox religious commitment, the fact that numerous similar studies were not previously initiated and conducted by the various organs of Modern Orthodoxy is puzzling. It is also perhaps quite telling that the size of the Modern Orthodox community over the past several decades has basically not increased, despite a birthrate of over two children per household. Is a steep “OTD rate” the primary factor for the stagnant Modern Orthodox population figure?

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13 Responses

  1. Steve Brizel says:

    The linked HaModia article is fascinating and indeed must reading

  2. Steve Brizel says:

    The linked HaModia article is fascinating reading

  3. Nachum says:

    If there is a charedi dropout rate- and there is- then perhaps the answer has to do with Orthodoxy in general and not MO.

  4. Steve Brizel says:

    Getting back to the linked Hamodia article, the OU has a great link with an excellent weekly article by a former head of school at Ramaz re how to incorporate more spirituality into mitzvos that we seem to take for granted such as Shemiras Shabbos and other issues such as child rearing.

  5. Steve Brizel says:
    This is the above referenced link.

  6. Srully Epstein says:

    Terrific article. Next, Hamodia can write a piece of the slide to the left by children from Chariedi families. Have you been to Lakewood lately? I was at a wedding there this week and felt like I was in a nightclub (not that I frequent nightclubs). Rav Ahron would not be pleased.

  7. Steve Brizel says:

    Srully Epstein-Remember that Chinese auction catalogue that was mailed from Lakewood and which looked like a pricy and glossy magazine? Lakewood is no longer just where BMG was born and developed but rather the ground zero of the Yeshiva world with its suburbs attracting young couples who find affordable housing in its suburbs and proximity to its yeshivos and other amenities offered therein associated with every major Torah community ( except an eruv).

  8. Reb Yid says:

    All kinds of terms are judgemental.

    “Off the Derech” has always rubbed me the wrong way. Who is to say what is exactly the “derech” for any single individual? And as someone who grew up outside the NY area, the term “Out of Town” is one that I’ve always found offensive.

  9. Bob Miller says:

    Reb Yid October 10, 2018 at 6:57 pm took exception to “Off the Derech”.

    Granted that every Jew has a specific mission and a specific appropriate derech, any path has to be consistent with Torah. If not, it’s off.

    As for “Out of Town”, I’ve been both in and out, and they each have good and bad points. The term is not inherently offensive; it’s descriptive. All of America is part of Galut anyway.

  10. Steve Brizel says:

    Merely because a term is judgmental does not mean that it is beyond the pale of discussion. All of Halacha works on the premise as to what is acceptable praiseworthy or beyond the pale regardless of where you live or grew up

  11. Steve Brizel says:

    Merely because a term is judgmental does not mean that it is beyond the pale of discussion. All of Halacha works on the premise as to what is proper or improper behavior and conduct

  12. Steve Brizel says: Those who think that YU, the flagship institution of MO , has moved to the right should read the linked article. FWIW, the archives of the Commentator circa 2002 contain similar articles and letters to the editor. The bottom line is that while many who spend a year or more in yeshivos come back ready, able and willing to learn and spend as much time in theBeis Medrash as possible, there is a sizeable minority who for a variety of reasons, are nowhere as Mdakdek Bmitzvos as those YU students who view a yeshiva as having the elements of Teiavah and a Mishkan.

  13. Steve Brizel says:

    Those interested can look at the Commie archives Volume 67 Numbers 3 and 4 for the article and letters including one by yours truly in response

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