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The future of Judaism

Reader comment on item: The Orthodox Future of Judaism

Submitted by Yossi Ben-Aharon (Israel), Jan 27, 2005 at 04:32

Dear Dr. Pipes.
... With regard to your illuminating remarks on the future of Judaism, two comments:

A) The development of alternative streams of Judaism (Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist) it should be recalled that the original quest was prompted (especially in Germany and Hungary) by a very strong urge to be accepted by the non-Jewish society. The motto was"be a Jew at home and a person outside". If I am not mistaken, one of he reasons for the erosion of the non-Orthodox trends is the opennes of American society, in the sense that Orthodox Jews can function in every walk of life, communal, in the business world, in government and even in Congress, as you have mentioned.

B) A similar trend has been taking place in Israel. Not a move from Reform etc to Ortodoxy, but from secularism to Orthodox (even Haredi) observance. Unfortunately, these trends in Israel are accompanied by a lot of tension. The secular community feels threatened by the rise of Orthodoxy. In addition, these tensions are intermixed with political frictions between various scools of thought. The latest manifestation of this is the decision by the IDF to put an end to the "Hesder Yeshivot", (in which a five-year military service was divided into18 months in actual military service and the rest in a Yeshiva plus a semi-reserve duty). The IDF command did this because of a fear that elite military units, to which the Hesder soldiers belong, will refuse to participate in the uprooting and removal of the Jewish settlements in Gush Qatif and northern Shomron.

Warm regards,

Yossi Ben-Aharon

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