Contrary to Nadav Shragai’s excessive admiration in Israel ha-Yom (https://bit.ly/2W92Wzl), the up-to-date reality is that there are a number — a growing number — of Torah scholars who have a significantly deeper understanding of essential aspects of U.S. Jewry impacting the current Orthodox-Non-Orthodox rift in global Jewry than Rabbi Dr. Shlomo Riskin. This growing number of Orthodox rabbis see the need for more science and reality in understanding Tanakh and relating to the ha-Sheim as the Creator-Singularity of our universe; more Torah and less “Orthodoxy”. It is Khareidi Ultra-Orthodoxy–dragging Orthodoxy along–that has delegitimized Rambam and standards of conversion that stood for millennia, until the Ultra-Orthodox reforms of the last few decades. Asserting that “all is quiet on that front” contrary to reality is quite opposite to scholarly.
Riskin is very polished to be able to gloss over the gaping Orthodox-Non-Orthodox chasm with a syrupy formulation that makes “you aren’t legitimate Jews!” sound like “ha-Sheim listens to you, too, and we should continue dialogue until you understand why you should become legitimate Jews like the Orthodox.”
Like marriage, Am Ekhad between Orthodox Jews and non-Orthodox Jews is a two-way street: it takes two to make it work but it only takes one to divorce. Orthodox Jews cannot impose “have to talk” on non-Orthodox Jews while maintaining that non-Orthodox Jews aren’t legitimate Jews and their conversions aren’t legitimate—even so (the insufferably arrogant Orthodox preach), ha-Sheim listens to all of His creatures! Aren’t the pitiable non-Orthodox fortunate and complimented! Puh-leez!
Riskin doesn’t even begin to deal with the Khareidim-Rabbanut Ultra-Orthodox DNA-racist standard, reformed in the last decade into the Israeli definition of Who Is A Jew that excludes not only non-Orthodox conversions but a growing number of decades-old Orthodox conversions as well; after-the-fact “reversals”, disenfranchising “converts”, shattering the only legitimate standard, which, until recently, stood for millennia.
This new, Khareidi, standard for conversion has a sinister repercussion: Israel’s new National Law, as a result, defines Israel as the home only for Khareidi-standard, DNA-racist, “Jews”; NOT the home for all Jews it was originally intended to be. Non-Orthodox were thereby relegated as illegitimate; i.e. “goyim.”
“All quiet”? What planet did R. Riskin move to? The recent Khareidi (Ultra-Orthodox) DNA-racist redefinition of who is a Jew and for whom Israel is the Nation-State home, disenfranchises the great majority of world Jewry! This is the gravest Tzeva Adom Israel faces. The Israel Democracy Institute warned in 2018 (https://bit.ly/2JPXSto) and The Shoresh Institution for Socioeconomic Research warned of “Israel’s deepest long-term threat” only a couple of days ago (https://bit.ly/2wbYsJD) that “Substandard education and brain drain are urgent existential threats to the country… When we look at the future of Israel, half the children today are getting a third-world education. Haredi [ultra-Orthodox] children, who do not learn core subjects like math, science, reading and English, belong to the fastest-growing parts of the population… This is unsustainable. Within two generations… nearly half the country’s children will be ultra-Orthodox… the burdens of living here could outweigh people’s sentimental attachment to this place. For some, this is already occurring. In 2017… for every four and a half Israelis with academic degrees who left the country, only one person with an equivalent education returned… So the center-left bloc is getting smaller and the right-wing/religious bloc is also declining. Who’s rising?… the Haredim, who have more than tripled their percentage of votes… The Haredi political parties have growing political power in Israel, enough to ensure this just continues forever. The problem is it can’t continue forever, because already today, not just Haredim but half the population here is so poor they don’t even pay any income tax. They don’t reach the bottom rung of the income tax ladder.
Yeah, all’s quiet… to those who are stone deaf.