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Three to one

Reader comment on item: The Orthodox Future of Judaism

Submitted by Duane Gainsburg (United States), Jan 25, 2005 at 23:29

Two thoughts. If the relative importance of Orthodoxy in American Jewish life is increasing, is this also true of other Diaspora communities, and indeed in Israel? Or is there something in America which contributes directly to increased observance which is independent of the frequently bewailed American Jewish dilution if not dissolution? Perhaps an analogy is the diamond's hardness which prevents erosion, while lesser materials lose their identity in the face of nature's inexorably transforming forces.

In this context, the dissolution of at least American non-Orthodox Jewry is neither good nor bad, but inevitable, and thereby may increase Orthodoxy's reach, and influence. A more important question may be whether Israeli Orthodoxy, or better, Israeli observance with or without 18th century clothes, is on the wax or wane. I suspect the former.

Second, "Observancy" should be seen in the context of the three Jewish streams generationally coming together. To preferentially elevate either Peoplehood, Observance, or Nationalism one above the other serves only to relive the fracturing of the nation 2000 years ago, and aggravates and indeed prolongs our essential disunity. The "What is a Jew?" question will hopefully one day become irrelevant, just as the "What is an Arab?" question today doesn't make sense. The question likely wasn't even asked before the Expulsion, and one dreams that one of our descendent generations won't have to.

Thank you for your continued insight, clarity and energy. Some would thus define Truth.
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