Sunday, July 02, 2006

The demise of Edah-RIP 7/02/06

The announcement that the officers of Edah have voted to close its doors is not an unwelcome step.
From its inception, I was opposed to its creation not because I am a right -winger, but beacause I believed it was harmful to modern Orthodox unity.The turn to the right is real,and can best be answered by working within the organized community-namely the OU,RCA and YU.
For a long time, I objected to the motto " the real modern orthodox" as though my weltaanschung and those like me are pseudo-MO.
I have the same feeling for Chovevei-Rabbi Avi Weiss's liberal rabbinic seminary.The RCA (Rabbinical Council of America) will have to decide whether its graduates will be eligible for membership.
In truth Edah was an invention of the Jewish Week and its editor.If they had not written stories and puff pieces the organization would have died years ago.
The huge annual conventions appeared to be impressive.However, like the feminist orthodox conventions,they were a creation of a subset of liberal Manhattan Jews.The formula was simple=great sessions with outstanding lecturers,babysitting,low admission costs and lots of Jewish Week advertising.You can get 1000 or 2ooo yuppies to attend,but that is not a national movement.
When I was OU Pres.,on two occasions,I decided to test the waters.In Teaneck I was guest speaker at a modern Yeshiva HS dinner,and talked about Edah.At the end (and during my presentation) there was zero audience interest in this topic.On a second occasion while serving as a scholar-in-residence in the mid-west,I informed the Rabbi that I would spend a few moments in my talk on the Edah-feminist topic.He told me that it was a non-issue in his city. I was always convinced that the Edah phenomonon was artificially developed by the anglo-Jewish media.
Having said that,I always urged the leaders of Edah to bring these issues into the mainstream without dividing our small modern orthodox community.To my recollection,many of their leaders were also leaders in the Union and YU.
A great underlying problem in the turn of our community to the right,is the choice of Yeshivoth that we send our chldren to.It is also the lack of modern orthodox teachers and rebbes, forcing our schools to turn to black hat teachers for faculty. It speaks to our support of non-zionist charities .We have brought this upon ourselves.