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Thursday, June 26, 2008

The end of Neo-Orthodoxy? A breakdown

You might have heard about the unpleasantness at R' Breuer's. In short, the present rabbi declared Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch (RSRH) was wrong, especially in consciously embracing culture. (Of course, with a typical hareidist drey, he rather said RSRH was bigger than Moishe Rabeinu, but only He was able to implement His grand prophetic wisdom, while we are stupid worms and so we just have to do what the gedoilim tell us to, that is, the opposite. Or their clerks, de facto.)

Also, an honourable descendant of RSRH's criticised that the community's school system today is educating people to believe work is evil and one should have 13 children and kick one's heels in kollel.

The rabbi left the room at these words, and later made derogatory remarks about "lawyers and grandsons". This also shows the division between omniscient leaders and sheep, incompetent by nature. No space for Jewishly educated, independently thinking ballebattem, a formerly outstanding feature of German Orthodoxy. It fits the hareidist ideal and reality that people either abandon Judaism or are rabbis.

The actual surprise was that the rabbi openly said what he said, though.

Here's an off-hand attempt at a breakdown of German Orthodox communities today. Please correct me or add more in the comments!

R' Breuer's, NY: increasingly hareidified since the fifties or sixties. Now officially no more independent.

Other German Orthodox communities in the US: none left, or no more specifically Yekke (NYC, Baltimore).

R' Munk's, London: Not sure (anyone?), but rather hareidified, too.

Adath Yisroel, London: was minnek Paulen anyway, not Hirschian.

Gateshead, UK: Really, Gateshead had a lot of Germans in the beginning. Of course, today it's a metonym of hareidism.

South America, South Africa: Don't know - anyone?

Paris, France: One shul is using some German tunes and customs (not specifically Hirschian).

Strasbourg, France: same, and one according to the Alsatian custom.

Other places in France, especially Alsace: Don't know.

Basle, Switzerland: Main community is proudly following (some) German customs, but it's quite Zionist. Otherwise yes, you have old-style fully Orthodox and Jewishly educated businessmen and professionals. The tendency is to either go Zionist or join -

Basle's other community (technically not a legitimately founded Austrittsgemeinde), which is hareidified by now. Visually blackblackblack. Nice people - don't get me wrong. Hareidist rabbis since the war, now the son of the former rabbi.

Zurich, Switzerland: Main community is still borderline Orthodox, legitimate Austrittsgemeinde is about like Breuer's. Decided for a hasidist rabbi, then appointed the former rabbi's son. Last Rabbiner Dr. died in 1972. A third community, unhappy with both, was just founded, they're regular Zionist MO.

Lucerne, Switzerland: Well, this is where the current rabbi at Breuer's came from. Very hareidist, and the only community there, so other Jews simply left the community or the city.

Israel: Some shuls were founded, as a subset of hareidism there.

Germany, Austria etc.: Yeah, sure.