The End of Heterodoxy?


Ori Pomerantz is one of our more frequent commenters. He asked the following question as a comment to a previous post, seeking “our” response. So I sent the question around, and determined that several C-C writers are willing to attempt answers. I suspect that one of the things we will discover is that there is no one response, but a collection of individual opinions with some common threads.

We’ll post the answers over the course of the next week — but here’s the question:

One of the common themes of this site is the failure and futility of the heterodox movements. I’d like to raise a hypothetical situation, and read what you think about it. Please forgive me if this reads as disrespectful – that is not my intention.

Imagine that tonight there was a miracle, and tomorrow morning all the rabbis and chazzanim of the heterodox movements were to wake up orthodox. After praying shachrit the men would all go to their synagogues’ office, and tell the board that they cannot stay in their position unless the synagogue turns orthodox. The women would just resign.

If such were to happen, the heterodox movements would be exposed as a sham, and be unable to continue. The lay heterodox Jews would have two choices:

1. Turn orthodox. Move to within walking distance of the synagogue if necessary, make kasher the kitchens, get a divorce if intermarried, start observing Shabbat, start observing Niddah, etc.

2. Give up on Judaism completely. Just as Irish-Americans are not very Irish, and Italian-Americans are not very Italian, decide that Judaism must have been good for their grandparents – but they are not sure why.

How many of them do you think would become Ba’aley Tshuva and choose option 1? How many would choose option 2?

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