Thinking Jews should be standing up for a genuine modern Orthodoxy that insists on functioning in contemporary world-time. While facing modernity has its real challenges, not facing modernity will lead Orthodoxy into a cult-like existence-- out of touch with reality, out of touch with the needs of thinking and feeling human beings…out of touch with Torah itself.
Self-initiated directed travel can be undertaken whenever decision-making is needed on a pressing matter, or when feels chronically bored, stagnant, or emotionally adrift. One chooses an unfamiliar location at least several hours
away by transportation, preferably where extended strolling or hiking is possible, and goes there alone.
For democratic Orthodoxy, the ideal Jew is a moral agent who knows how to determine “what is right and good” (Deut. 6:18), who is prepared to hold Jewish leaders to account, and who is faithful to Torah’s norms and to one’s own Torah informed moral compass. The democratic Orthodox Jew challenges human authority when that authority conflicts with Torah’s norms.
In response to the devastating Coronavirus pandemic, Israel’s government has outlawed public gatherings. In spite of the mandatory lockdown, there have been numerous instances of non-compliance among Haredi Orthodox Jews. Is it permissible/obligatory to inform civil authorities of these violations?
We have the possibility of a direct and personal relationship with God, and this is the route we should aspire to follow. It is, to give an analogy, the difference between having direct access to the President, instead having to make appointments with his secretaries and assistants. We have no need of intermediaries.
There are practices and some beliefs in Judaism that most people today would define as superstitions. My aim here is to investigate some of these in order to see to what extent these practices or beliefs are coeval with what was considered science at the time of our Sages.
Perhaps, under these circumstances, observant Jews must use telecommunications to keep tabs on isolated neighbors, friends, or relatives. Observant Jews in isolation must decide whether to use devices to call on their support systems.
As we approach Pessah, all of us are deeply concerned by the Covid 19 pandemic. We worry about health…physical, spiritual, mental, emotional, financial etc. Most of us are sheltering in place; our world is contracting.
To our members and friends
We congratulate our Campus Fellows for their ongoing programming through this difficult time of COVID-19. They have transitioned to Zoom and other technologies to reach their peers, and now their programs are available to students on other campuses. We appreciate how our Ideas and Ideals are bringing meaningful discussion to students everywhere.
When we ponder the continued expressions of racial hatred and anti-Semitism, we ponder the strange predicament of the human race. We witness the viciousness and violence of haters; but we also witness the faith, compassion and sympathy of good people who have demonstrated against the bigots.