I saw this article before I left for work this morning, and the first two paragraphs had me spitting nails, but it wasn’t until a few minutes ago that I read the whole piece, and whoa. Rabbi Norman Lamm, Chancellor of YU, I expected more from you (and in some cases less)!
“With a heavy heart we will soon say kaddish on the Reform and Conservative Movements,” said Lamm, head of the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, in an interview with The Jerusalem Post.
“The Conservatives are in a mood of despondency and pessimism. They are closing schools and in general shrinking,” he said.
“The Reform Movement may show a rise, because if you add goyim to Jews then you will do OK,” added Lamm, referring to the Reform Movement’s policy, starting in 1983, of recognizing patrilineal descent.
“The future of American Jewry is in the hands of haredim and the modern Orthodox. We have to find ways of working together.”
I can just see Rabbi Lamm sitting at his desk, talking to the heads of USCJ and URJ. “That’s a nice looking movement you’ve got going there. Be a shame of anything happened to itâ€¦”
I’ve heard this kind of thing before from Orthodox leaders, and I find it mind-numbingly boring. It’s a way to pat oneself on the back. Wow, my movement is doing such a good job. Except for all the money we lost to Madoff. The big Kashrut scandal. Oh, and all of those pesky sexual predators. But other than that, we’re doing great.
And then, in a truly bizarre turn of events, Lamm goes on to basically endorse the idea of Orthodox female rabbis (or Mahahra”ts, if you’re feeling fancy), which he says he opposes for reasons that are, “social, not religious.” Meaning, I assume, that men would be too shocked to be respectful of Orthodox women rabbis today, but if given some time, they might adjust.
I just did a Scooby-doo-like double take.
I don’t even have any real analysis of this. It’s just weird.