Sunday, March 07, 2010
[Rabbi Mosheh Lichtenstein, a Rabbi at Yeshivat Har Etzion]
The short answer is - No.
First of all, I would like to define what I mean by modern Orthodoxy.
Modern Orthodox Jews are Jews who do not use motor vehicles or electrical devices on the Jewish Sabbath or holidays, who only consume kosher meat and who have separate dishes for meat and milk foods. However they also celebrate Israeli Independence Day and they believe that people are descended from apes.
Modern Orthodoxy represents a transitional stage between on the one hand Orthodox Judaism and on the other hand atheism. Sabbath and dietary observances are Orthodox while Zionism and evolution were founded by Theodor Herzl, a completely secularized Jew and Charles Darwin, an agnostic. Distinguished Talmudic scholars have almost unanimously rejected Zionism and evolution.
This is probably a common phenomenon, that when a new religion (in this case, atheism) appears, there are people who try to merge the old and the new. For example, when Scandinavia was first Christianized, some people apparently worshiped both Thor and Jesus.
Modern Orthodoxy does not represent a serious, stable religion. The grandchildren of today's modern Orthodox will presumably be either fully Orthodox or fully atheist.
To get some sense of the demographic decline of modern Orthodoxy thus far, it's worthwhile to examine the makeup of Orthodox Israeli Parliament members since the founding of the State until the present:
1950: modern Orthodox 9 ultra-Orthodox 5
1960: modern Orthodox 12 ultra-Orthodox 6
1970: modern Orthodox 12 ultra-Orthodox 6
1980: modern Orthodox 12 ultra-Orthodox 5
1990: modern Orthodox 5 ultra-Orthodox 13
2000: modern Orthodox 5 ultra-Orthodox 22
2010: modern Orthodox 3 ultra-Orthodox 16
Incidentally, essentially the same trend may be seen among American Protestant churches. The more liberal, or "mainline", churches are declining. They too are a transitional phase between Christianity and atheism.
In addition to the theological contradictions of modern Orthodoxy, there are also serious political issues. The largest modern Orthodox community at the present time seems to be Efrat, in Israeli occupied Palestine. Israeli occupied Palestine represents a major stronghold of modern Orthodoxy today, and the ownership of this region depends on the final status negotiations between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority. Quite possibly, the final internationally accepted border between Israel and Palestine will follow the 1949 Armistice line, which would mean the dismantlement of all the modern Orthodox communities on the West Bank.
Posted by jewish philosopher at 10:38 PM