Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Anti-Change

Coming from a non-orthodox background, I do have a certain sense of pride in the religious strides many of my family members and I have taken. The most important thing going forward is for me to ensure that my children maintain the level of religiosity that I have worked to establish. I realize that many of my hashkafos come from this desire to pass on this level of religiosity to my children and that I think negatively upon any hashkafos that would, chas v'shalom, increase the chances of my children becoming non-frum. It would be irresponsible of me to say, "I turned out fine religiously with a public school edutcation, so that's what'll be for my children. While I imagine that there's only so much a parent can control and that external factors will also play a part, a parent still has to control what is in their power to control.

It is for this reason that I am generally opposed to movements within orthodoxy that look to change the status quo. For instance, the feminist movement within orthodoxy. I generally think that these people aren't interested in equality as a means to an end (wearing Tefillin in order to attain more spirituality), but rather as and ends in and of itself (to wear Tefillin in order to be equal). That being said, it is possible that there is a minority of feminists that do have pure intentions. Still, I am opposed to what they do, as it is a change from status quo. They, alone, may be innocuous; but the mindset isn't. The mindset that we can just change whatever we want about orthodoxy is dangerous. Sure, the lines may not shift that much in one generation, but if this mindset is passed on for generations the lines will shift to something that probably wreaks of the Reform and/or Conservative movement. This mindset, over generations, can lead to a generation of shtark non-frum Jews.

That being said, we've obviously changed as a people from that which was in pre-war Europe. There are modern issues that must be dealt with; things that couldn't have been fathomed in the yesteryear. But who decides what changes are appropriate? I don't think this responsibility, or priviledge, lies with the individual; rather, it should be upon the rabbinate. I imagine that far less of the orthodox world as a strong kesher/bond with an established member of the local rabbinate as was the case in the past. Rabbis are tools there for our using, and less reliance on them can lead to individuals making decisions which may seem innocuous on the surface, but may be infected with a dangerous mindset.

I think many people believe that all they need to do to ensure future generations of frum children is to give them a Jewish education. While this is certainly part of the picture, there are proper hashkafos and mindsets that must be passed from parent to child in order to maximize the chance of this happening.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Greg said...

Something on your page, likely a javascript advertising thing-a-ma-jig is automatically sending me to some page every 20 seconds or so. This makes it very hard to read your blog.

In regards to your post, I think you are overestimating the lack of change Judaism/Orthodoxy has gone through since its inception. Of course the rabbis are going to be a part of the process, but by definition they maintain the status quo, unless forced to respond to communal concerns (you'll probably learn about this in law school). All change and innovation starts with the individual and his existential needs, wants, hope and dreams. Change on the communal level should be vetted by an authority, such as the rabbinate (or Supreme Court, or whatever), but the individual is essential in catalyzing change.

8:15 AM, March 21, 2007

 
Blogger AlanLaz said...

Greg,

I've checked the blog from a number of computer, and I don't get a problem, and I haven't heard anyone else mention anything to me about the blog acting funny.

Regarding change, I may not be fully aware of how much orthodoxy has changed throughout history, but I am aware that the Reform and Conservative movements were made up people looking for change from mainstream orthodoxy. No doubt, individuals are catalysts in change, but the decisions about whether or not that change is beneficial (or perhaps, not detrimental) to orthodoxy should be made by the rabbinate.

11:12 AM, March 21, 2007

 
Anonymous Greg said...

I think it was my browser, not your blog...sorry for the false alarm.

11:35 AM, March 21, 2007

 

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