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Hasidism developed at same time as Reform in opposite direction.

Reader comment on item: The Orthodox Future of Judaism

Submitted by Stuart Teich (United States), Jan 26, 2005 at 23:11

"These alternatives and other developments, in particular the Holocaust, caused the ranks of the Orthodox to be reduced to a small minority. Their percentage of the total world Jewish population reached a nadir in the post-World War II era, when it declined to about 5%."

You ignore the contemporary Hasidic movement.

"Orthodoxy" is a minority in the US, England and France. The big Reform community in Europe was....oh, yeah.....and they were so CIVILISED, too. So correct. Alles in ordnung. Even the trains ran on time.....

The big deal about WWII for Jews on this side of the pond was that, for the first time in history, a large proportion of Jewish boys went abroad in the military, and returned not wanting to daven in Zaide's corner shul anymore. The impetus behind the explosion of the Conservative movement, as they themselves "discovered" in the 1980's, was their deliberate policy of having no philosophical basis: Conservative is what the check writers in each locality say it is, as long as they keep writing checks to the "movement." Take a look at their Emet veEmunah 1985 publication, the one with all the "Gee, you mean we don't actually stand for anything? I'm Shocked!" statements, or for that matter Marshall Sklare's seminal book from (I think) 1955, or Why Be Jewish? by Meir Kahane, which is vastly more polemical but no less accurate on the subject.

The Jewish demographics do indeed point in a wild direction: We are below replacement birthrate over all, except for the Orthodox sectors, which means the Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist, Ethical and Lox and Bagel sectors of the Jewish community are shrinking rapidly. Assimilation is most damaging among those without any idea what Judaism is. And yet, there are people who cling to an identity whose basis they have long since, in many cases by a generation or two, abandoned completely.

There will be a schism. There will be the halachic Jews, and those who, for a generation or two will insist they are Jews, before fading into the oblivion of those original 10 tribes, screaming and cursing about the foul, evil, nasty, bad, illiberal, undemocratic, nonsecular, antihumanist discrimination of the halachic Jews in marriage, burial, etc. What they will never say is that they have a case on the basis of which their recognition and inclusion should be made. They will assert their desire for recognition as a moral absolute. S.R. Hirsch's sich selbst begreifendes Judentums will be nowhere in their rhetoric. The language of non- and anti-Jewish politics will be pervasive. Expect some fascinating lawsuits.

But remember, I'm nuts

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