Monday, August 21, 2006

Why I Hate Cross-Currents (Reason No. 724)


Without getting in a debate regarding the "Orthodox-ness" of KOE, this nasty post at Cross-Currents seeks to make the case that KOE is not Orthodox by stringing together non-sequiturs and sarcastic remarks futilely attempting humor:
It is fine that Congregation Kehilat Orach Eliezer, in the words of the Times, “functions essentially as a modern Orthodox community, seeking to adhere closely to halakah, or Jewish law.” It’s close, it just isn’t all the way there.
Hahaha. Very funny. Problem is, R' Menken is playing with words here. Not that the Times' description of KOE would be determinative of KOE's fidelity to halakha, but the term "closely" in this context is obviously being used in the sense of strict or rigorous (see here) rather than close but "not all the way there." And what is the proof that KOE is non-halakhic? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. The post goes on to mention the fact that its founder, R' David Weiss Halivni used to be a member of the Conservative movement but left the movement when it began to ordain women, and then founded UTJ, which, according to the post, "claims to 'support and encourage traditional Jewish practice among individuals, congregations, institutions, scholars and religious leaders across the spectrum of the Jewish community,' and says that 'our goal is to bring the greatest possible number of Jews closer to an open-minded, observant Jewish life.'" Um...what was the question?

The post then notes that KOE is (gasp!) not affilliated with the "Orthodox Union (much less Young Israel or Agudath Israel)," a description that applies to probably 50% of the Orthodox shuls I know, but that it "might find itself affiliating with the UTJ." Yes. And Cross-Currents might be affilliated with the Catholic Church. Problem is, KOE appears to have no formal affiliation with any Jewish group, including UTJ, despite R' Menken's wishes that it "might" be the case.

The post goes on to accuse KOE "of attempting to conform to both Torah and Western priorities, or attempting to observe 'Halacha Lite.'" Again, no bringing of actual evidence of KOE failing to observe Halakha. The article ends with another sarcastic dig:
If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and walks like a duck, declarations from the NY Times and NY Jewish Week that it is, in fact, a goose, tell us nothing more than that journalists may be lousy taxonomists.
If it looks like a weasel...

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