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23 Responses

  1. Miriam says:

    Oh goodness don’t most moderates think they’re in between some extremists on each end? And those who define their position at least partially as intentionally extreme see themselves as maintaining something true and everyone else as not making the cut?

    Somehow I don’t see the purpose of this entry as proving that we can use our eloquence to further subdivide ourselves.

  2. L. Oberstein says:

    Much ado about who is a centrist. When Reagan was President he had a woman who vetted job applicants. Being a “conservative”, even “very conservative” wasn’t good enough. You had to be a “movement conservative”. I guess those who chose to define Rabbi Adlerstein and Rabbi Weinreb by their not having attended YU and therefore not being eligible to be “centrist’ feels the same way. I have met some young rabbis from YU who are far to the right of some young rabbis from another yeshiva that I am familiar with. Let’s get past the intramural competition and deal with the real issues. The divide is between superficiality and depth of conviction. Some of us, both modernish and yeshivish pay too much attention to color of shirt and not enough to sincerity of belief.

    Let me phrase it this way. My daughter in Seminary told me that her teacher was telling the girls about graves to visit for different needs. She said a certain formerly anonymous tzadeikis promised that if you daven at her kever, whatever you ask for will be granted. My daughter raised her hand and said “In my family we don’t believe in that. We daven to Hashem.”. Will that hurt her shiduch with a heimisheh frum boy?

  3. rtw says:

    Bob, Rabbi Norman Lamm — one of the premier exponents of Centrism and IIUC the man who came up with the name — doesn’t consider Centrism to be “in the center.” What they mean by “center” is what Maimonides means — moderation.

    But don’t take this anonymous commenter’s word for it. Rabbi Lamm expounds on this much better than I can. See Lamm, “Centrist Orthodoxy and Moderationism: Definitions and Desiderata” in Seventy Faces: Articles of Faith.

  4. Bob Miller says:

    RTW (12:09 pm), please answer my question about Centrism according to your own understanding.

  5. rtw says:

    Bob:
    If you read the writings of Rabbi Lamm, that’s not what they mean by Centrism.

    YEA:
    I’m not a centrist or a third-wayer, so I’ll punt. Best leave that one to exponents of the third way like R’ Adlerstein.

  6. YEA says:

    RTW: Can you please explain the differences between Centricism and the “Third Way”?

  7. cohen y says:

    rtw:center-right

  8. Bob Miller says:

    RTW wrote,
    “I agree with Rabbi Adlerstein’s own analysis of himself: he’s part of the Third Way in Orthodoxy that doesn’t have a name. It’s not Centrism.”

    Does this mean Centrism is not what it purports to be, namely, in the center?

  9. joel rich says:

    R’ YEA
    Does it have leadership personalities? An articulated vision?
    KT

  10. rtw says:

    YEA:
    I agree with Rabbi Adlerstein’s own analysis of himself: he’s part of the Third Way in Orthodoxy that doesn’t have a name. It’s not Centrism.

  11. chaim says:

    YEA,
    I’m sure if you told Rabbi Adlerstein and Rabbi Weinrib that they were modern Orthodox they’d respectfully disagree. Neither of them studied in an MO institution, and I have never seen them affiliate themselves with the “Modern” segment of Orthodoxy. Both just happen to work for a living. Chaval! Gevalt!

    As far as a Centrist is concerned, this is not a centrist blog it is by chareidim for chareidim. I am just a spectator to see what is being said.

    Labels are awful. Some who would be labeled as modern orthodox would be far to the “right” on many issues of hashkafa than those on the “Right”. Labels are for bottles not for people.

  12. YEA says:

    Rabbi Maryles, your post was put up on Jan. 3rd at 11:35 a.m. ARW commented on Jan. 3rd at 10:41 a.m. He didn’t miss your post — it hadn’t yet been posted.

  13. Harry Maryles says:

    My impression is that Rabbi HM has become progressively more anti-charedi over time and in a bitter way.

    Really? You must have missed my post yesterday

  14. cohen y says:

    perhaps ARW can answer his own question

  15. Steve Ehrlich says:

    To ARW: You need to understand sir, how offensive your post was. Are only Charedim “Torah Jews” ? With due respect, the tone here is, for lack of a better word, self-righteous and more then a little intolerant. I dont know you. I’m sure you didnt really mean it that way. But that sort of terminology is precisely what alienates everyone outside the Charedi sphere. Me for example. I hope this sheds a little light.
    Have a good day.

  16. dr. bill says:

    ARW, i do not see MO taking on chareidim (in either quantity or intensity) any more than even centrists have been maligned not just by bloggers but by acknowledged leaders of various chareidi sects. Yes their medium may be different, but that hardly matters. It would be best to limit criticism to areas that have some utility in their expression. Exposing abuse and rabbis who do not forcebly condemn it is a good example of criticism with utility; unfortunately, there are many others.

  17. YEA says:

    Now we just need a Centrist contributor on this blog to confirm this thesis.

    Have you ever heard of Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein?!
    In case you have not, he is a regular CC contributor. Here are just a few facts about him:

    1. Rabbi Adlerstein recently defended Chief Rabbi Sacks and has also interviewed him in Jewish Action. It is obvious that he has much respect for the cheif rabbi. (According to Wikipedia, “…a group of Haredi rabbis, most notably Rabbis Yosef Shalom Elyashiv and Bezalel Rakow, accused Sacks of heresy against traditional Orthodox viewpoint.”)

    2. Rabbi Adlerstein has written that he is not convinced of the untruth of evolution (try making that statement in, let’s say, Lakewood).

    3.Rabbi Adlerstein strongly defended Rabbi Slifkin and his books. Here is a quote: “This author has his name on every one of the banned books. I am as supportive of the thrust of those books as when I first wrote those approbations. I believe that the thrust of what he wrote is firmly in line with the teaching of Rav Hai Gaon, Rav Sherira Gaon, the Rambam and his son, Rav Shamshon Raphael Hirsch, and Rav Aryeh Kaplan. I am also proud to be in the company of many talmidei chachamim who did not sign the letter, and of more chaverim than I could count who think the same way. I am in the company of virtually all intellectually rigorous kiruv workers, who have been using this approach for decades. With them stand literally thousands of bnei Torah who happen to work or study in areas that raise issues about Torah and science, and for whom the above-mentioned figures have served as their lifeline to uncompromised avodas Hashem. There are reasons why they have not (as of yet) come forward publicly. Hamayvin, yavin.”

    4. In response to an anti-Zionist commenter:
    “Let me tell you a little about myself. Like most people who spent serious time learning in yeshiva, I was an anti-Zionist. I might have continued, were it not for people like you. What shifted me was not warming up to the “others,” but gradually being repelled by the lies in our camp. After a while, I could not live with the inconsistencies, with the historical revisionism (no, the gedolim in pre-War Europe were not all anti-Zionist. As Rabbi Bulman told us many times, charedi Europe was split. Germany and Hungary – home to Satmar – were anti-Zionist, while the majority of leaders of Polish Jewry were sympathetic.) I especially grew weary and revolted (as I suspect many of our readers are, from all parts of the Orthodox continuum) of the jumping through hoops to prove that we didn’t really have to have so much appreciation for the soldiers who protected our lives with theirs, and the citizens whose money we (not Satmar) eagerly and greedily took.”

    5. Rabbi Adlerstein very strongly defended Rabbi Dr. Tzvi Hersh Weinreb when he was attacked by a very prominent charedi educator/kiruv rabbi, for not worshiping Charedi Gedolim the way this rabbi apparantly does.

    6. Rabbi Adlerstein on Daas Torah: “Does Torah Yiddishkeit come to a halt if you believe that gedolim are sometimes manipulated? I know very few people who don’t believe it – and they are card-carrying charedim…”

    7. A quote from Centrist blogger Rabbi Harry Maryles: “One of the brightest lights on the internet is Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein.”

    If you do not consider Rabbi Adlerstein to be a Centrist, what do you think his views represent? Mainstream Chareidism? [To Rabbi Adlerstein: do you consider yourself to be a centrist?]

  18. Bob Miller says:

    Since there were two Luchos, Orthodox Jews can’t just be monolithic.

  19. ARW says:

    My impression is that Rabbi HM has become progressively more anti-charedi over time and in a bitter way. This is unfortunate. In general I really don’t understand what drives so much anti-charedi blogging and commenting in the Modern Orthodox world. What do they think they are accomplishing by attacking Torah Jews? Much like secular Israeli’s it seems like they have to define themselves by the fact that they aren’t Charedi rather than the positive contributions of their own group.

  20. joel rich says:

    R’Joe,
    I meant in terms of showing diversity of opinion, it’s one thing to disagree on President Obama, quite another to disagree on hashkafa (e.g. kollel for all, the extent of daat torah…)
    KT

  21. Joe Hill says:

    I’d be more impressed if R’JR (I thought he doesn’t go by Rabbi?) took in R’AS on a hashkafic issue.

    Now, why would you encourage taking on R’AS on a random hashkafic issue?

  22. joel rich says:

    I’d be more impressed if R’JR (I thought he doesn’t go by Rabbi?) took in R’AS on a hashkafic issue.
    KT

  23. rtw says:

    Now we just need a Centrist contributor on this blog to confirm this thesis.