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the questionable future

Reader comment on item: More about the Orthodox Future of Judaism

Submitted by john w. mcginley (United States), May 9, 2006 at 11:03

1. "Secular Jew" in the Diaspora will become a meaningless term in less than fifty years irrespective of lineage. In other words it will not serve as a marker for Jewish identity. 2. "Secular Jew" in the land of Israel will come to be seen as oxymoronic in the same time period and, as a term marking Jewish identity will gradually disappear. 3. Both in the land of Israel and in the Diaspora the insipidness of Reform, Reconstructionist, and, sad to say, Conservative Judasim will in the next half century reach such a critical mass that affiliation with these groups will be -- and will be understood as -- a marker for Jewish identity in name only and will eventually be seen by the great prponderance of Jews as less valid than a square circle. 5. Yes. Of course. Orthodoxy -- both Khassidic and non-Khassidic -- will continue to thrive and even grow exponentially in the next half century both in the Diaspora and in the land of Israel. Indeed, an active committment to the life of halkhic fidelity will, in this time period will function as the primary marker of Jewish identity both in the Diaspora and in the land of Israel.

6: AND HERE'S THE RUB: if the "DOXy" of Orthodoxcy -- i.e., it's overly regimented and regulated ways of understanding the texts of Judaism's burning living center (Scripture and the Bavli) -- is not changed then Orthodoxy itself will, slowly, suffer the same fate as Reform, Reconstructionist, and Conservative groupings. It is the credit of Judaism that psychosis seldom engenders suicide bombers and such. But the Orthodox attitude towards the most important Jewish texts is a kind of intellectual psychosis present in Judaism since the time of the Geonic period. The life of halakhic fidelity cannot be sustained over the long haul with this kind of intellectual fare. 7. The flattened-out pablum which goes by the name of "Kabbalah" and which is so dominant in Kassidic orientations is a "cure" for the disease much worse than the disease. 8. Thus, unless brave souls WITHIN Orthodoxy -- for ONLY Orthodoxy has credibility when it comes to Judaism's long-term survival -- bring about a sea change in the intellectual currents of Orthodoxy in the sevice of the very seal of God, then the "final solution" to Jewish survival will come from within Judaism itself. "Israel": the people the nation the religion will never be defated by an external enemy. But it might be defeated by itself. 9. Finally there is more than a fifty percent chance that I will be dead before the validity of my prognostications will have been tested. John W. McGinley

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