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MODERN orthodox: stereotyping and judging

MODERN orthodox or as Frumster likes to call them modern orthodox Liberal. Some folks call them the real MO, or some like to say they hijacked modern orthodoxy and created this religion solely based on not being shomer negia and not adhering to the laws of tzius and of women covering their hair. This post is bound to offend, so don’t take me so seriously ok.

The Upper West Side is home to a bulk of the real Modern Orthodox movement. Primarily made up of lazy ex-yeshiva guys and girls, folks who don’t want t hear about wearing skirts except for on shabbos- or Shabbat a they like to call it, talking in shull over the 30 inch high mechitza which can only be seen when all the men and women are seated. Eating milchigs out, because what can be wrong with a tuna sandwich or some grilled tuna? A sea of different colored yarmulkes and suede with no black velvet to be seen. The MO Libs like to dress nicely, they buy pimpin outfits and care about their looks, they tend to have good jobs and boring lives. You know financial analysts, attorneys, doctors, every mothers dream.

Every small town has a large group of these MO Libs, they usually have their own shull, and it usually tends to be the snobbier wealthy one, and the folks in the frummer one always like to bash their mechitza and the kids of the frummies will always talk about the women with those white doilies on their heads. The shulls tend to have movie theater style seats, and siddurs right in front of them, they dislike the whole bench thing for some reason- besides for the NYC area- those MO Libs don’t do pews.

They love to drag out kedusha of mussaf on shabbos for some reason, they just sing and sing, even though half the shull is probably talking to each other. After shull, the men and women kiss each other on the cheeks even if they aren’t married. Shomer negia and tznius for the ladies is always talked about in this “spit with disgust” sort of way. Just like the frum people love bashing the modern people, the modern people always bash the frum people, its like a circle of life.

In small towns is where the debate comes up the most. The MO Libs will tend to send their kids to the half assed day school, but at thirteen pull them out and throw em in public school, the frummies will scowl at this practice. But the MO Libs will scream when the frummies don’t eat at their perfectly kosher bakery or something purely based on the height of the KOSHER mechitza at their shull. Instead of working together, both sides will be guilty of creating rifts and the children reap the benefit.

In terms of food, especially hashgacha, many of the MO Libs tend to use any sort of symbol that is found on the product. Now that Hebrew National has a triangle-K, it is widely used in many households, as well as things with the classic non-copyrightable K. Those MO Libs love spinach and tomato salad as well as bok-choy. Do they check their spinach for bugs? Not based on my experience, but you cant even see those bugs. They also love deli roll and serving colorful foods. Frummies love brown foods while the MO Lib crowd loves color, maybe it’s a rainbow thing.

With regards to mixed dancing at weddings it’s a tossup, many of their children are quickly joining the ranks of the more strict MO machmirs and the MO Libs are quickly losing their grip on their children. The MO Libs usually come from more religious upbringings and speak Yiddish, while their kids are doing an opposite rebellion. If the kid comes home from their “year” in Israel wearing a black hat the parents are terrified, as well as if the kid spends an extra year in Israel. The MO Lib strongholds are places like Ramaz, Frisch, and Hafter. Even some MO Lib schools that claim to be yeshiva’s will have a prom- yes hypocritical depending on your interpretation of the Torah.

Many MO Libs will not see any issues with davening in a conservative shull or attending an event in a church. They tend to be politically liberal besides for things concerning Israel when they change to Michael Savage style right wingisms. They read the Jewish week, NY times and listen to NPR. The ones who live outside of NY tend to be more interesting then their frummy counterparts, while the ones who move to NY or lived there their whole lives tend to be boring and drab. Especially the singles that feel their duty as being 27 successful and single is to move to the UWS singles scene- even if they hate the scene- they can’t miss those tefilin dates and Friday nights at OZ.

The MO Lib crowd also takes the elevator on shabbos when someone else presses it and they may even go out to say Barnes and Nobles or some other “kosher” hangout. On shabbos afternoons they tend to bust out of their suits and put on some shorts and t-shirts- this is both men and women- since the tznius time for women is shabbos, although on shabbos they may not even be rockin the tznius. The laws of yichud are not even heard of, let alone followed- they me chumras- I don’t even know if they are law.

MO Libs love going to baseball games, skiing, watching the Israeli day parade, talking about who’s dating who, eating sushi, going to the now ASSUR Miami for Pesach- that is their main vacation destination. They love kosher club med and go t places like Cancun or the Bahamas. I am sure I am missing something. Oh if they cover their hair its with a lampshade hat that covers half their hair on shabbos only.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • I have to say that this is a great post. Very funny and very true. I don’t know if anyone could have put it any better.

  • This is hysterical thanks for the laughs.

  • <![CDATA[Benny]]>

    I do not pre judge anbody. Whatever works 4u is ok by me

  • <![CDATA[MW]]>

    Awesome! Not many pple could have said it better. You hit it on the nose baby!!

  • This post is bound to offend, so don’t take me so seriously ok.
    Okkk. I am going to comment and that might offend, so don’t take me seriously either.

    The MO Libs like to dress nicely, they buy pimpin outfits and care about their looks, they tend to have good jobs and boring lives. You know financial analysts, attorneys, doctors, every mothers dream.

    I know, I know, being rich or well off is so boring. That’s why many people want to be rich or want to marry someone rich. People think my job is boring too, the reason why they think that is because they don’t have enough brain capacity to understand what I am doing. They find my MO friends boring too. Money is VERY boring.

    Just like the frum people love bashing the modern people, the modern people always bash the frum people, its like a circle of life.

    Yeah,I wonder why. At least MO crowds are more open minded towards Sephardi-Ashkenazi or BT/ gerim marriages. For other factions anything besides your own group of people is tumah.

    Do they check their spinach for bugs? Not based on my experience, but you cant even see those bugs.

    I am sorry but it sounds like you don’t know how to check for bugs? I always check for bugs.

    Many MO Libs will not see any issues with davening in a conservative shull or attending an event in a church.

    I don’t go to a conservative shul or a church.

    They read the Jewish week, NY times and listen to NPR.

    That’s good, they are not ignorant dorks like others who don’t read things.

    they can’t miss those tefilin dates and Friday nights at OZ.
    I don’t do tefillin date and my MO friends don’t do them either.

    The MO Lib crowd also takes the elevator on shabbos when someone else presses it and they may even go out to say Barnes and Nobles or some other “kosher” hangout.

    I don’t go bookstores or take an elevator on Shabbes.

    On shabbos afternoons they tend to bust out of their suits and put on some shorts and t-shirts- this is both men and women- since the tznius time for women is shabbos, although on shabbos they may not even be rockin the tznius.

    Shorts and t-shirts are better than some guy who took his shirt out of his pants and his underwear and his tzizit is sticking out. Mind you I am not interested in seeing some guy’s underwear on Shabbes. I don’t wanna see his naked fat belly sticking out either.

    they me chumras- I don’t even know if they are law.
    Humras are humras, halacha is halacha.

    going to the now ASSUR Miami for Pesach
    should they go to ASSUR Upstate New York and do a humpathon in a bungalow?

    Thanks for posting this, it reminded why I still want to date MOs. Other frummies might mock them but they MOs are very tolerant BTs and don’t act holier than thou.

  • The last line should say:

    Other frummies might mock them but they MOs are very tolerant towards BTs and don’t act holier than thou.

  • No they dont, its actually funny to talk to MOdox folks about the frum copmmunityh politics like the fact that frummies hate Lubbies and the MOdox have no idea about any of it unless they receive the Jewish Press at home.

    Rebel do want me to publish your long comment with a link to you

  • If you like…

  • MO

    what do you call jews who are strict about kasruth, dont ask non jews to do melacha on shabbos, dont mix swim, actually do spend time learning, but dont wear black hats and like to listen to all kinds of music and see movies even if it might be a little prus, and like to read literature and learn about science and other subjects even if it doesnt make them money, and care about tikkun olam, certainly dont eat out in non kosher restaurants except for coffee, would not eat unchecked vegetables, are disgusted by truly non ethical people even if they donate money to yeshivas and get honored but dont get all bent out of shape by someone not saying hello to them at shul instead of the other way around.
    i would think thats more of a description of modern orthodox.

  • UWS girl

    MO where have you been?

    Do you ever hang out with the likes of Avi Weiss and Saul Berman the two biggest Modern orthodox heroes so to speak?

    In picture perfect world envisioned by the Rav zt”l we would be exactly as you described, but as a proud resident of the upper westside I can tell you that nothing you mentioned fits the typical person who calls themselves modern orthodox where I live.

    I get poked fun at for not eating at Ozu or Zeb Pallate- two vegetarian restaurants that are open on shabbos and have no reliable hashgacha- yet they are mostly reliant on Jews with yarmulkes for their business.

    What about the fact that I wear a skirt on shabbos and am looked at as strange when I walk among the other central park “scenesters” on shabbos.

    I

  • UWS girl

    If modern orthodoxy includes, rampant sex, not eating in strictly kosher restaurants, living with members of the opposite sex, going to shull to have conversations about the opposite sex and receiving back rubs afterwards(go to OZ on friday night or JC in the day time) then yes that is modern orthodoxy.

    But Mr. MO I am sad to announce that modern orthodoxy as a whole has a long way to go before it reaches what you described so thoughtfully.

  • Frum Hiker

    MO:
    I would call that picture perfect Rav Solivetchik modern orthodoxy, that like UWS girl mentioned is hard to find in America.

    In Israel it does exist, I can say I would fit what you described above except I do not watch TV or Movies. But we are rare.

    If asked to most people they would describe modern orthodoxy as someone who is “not orthodox” but thinks they are.

    Why is not covering your hair, not dressing tznius, eating not kosher milchigs out, and mixed dancing all synoonomous with modern orthodoxy?

    It is not a myth, that is how a large part of modern orthodox people choose to live.

    Take for instance my shabbos nachamu at Kutchers. A frum group sponsored it, yet on saturday night they had a DJ spinning disco with mixed dancing.

  • opt

    I second that! I’m more like the poster above but I don’t consider myself modern orthodox because it has the word orthodox in the title and might offend people who don’t wear pants. I like a lot of the principles of modern orthodoxy but don’t like the name. When people ask me what level of observance I am, I say I am observant but I’m not orthodox.

  • Anonymous

    I’m with you, opt exactly; I describe myself as “observant.”

  • Anonymous

    very insightful

  • Anonymous

    i fogot to mention super funny

  • Hesh

    Wow thank you for so many compliments- there are plenty more posts about this issue if you rummage around the archives or search for them

  • it’s funny. i guess my friends and i would be considered MO-lib by a lot of people, but much of what you wrote does not at all apply to us, e.g., not checking for bugs, eating out dairy, etc. but what really pisses me off is that if indeed i am MO-lib, how come i never get kisses from my friends’ wives?

    also, just to clarify, MO schools themselves do not (today) have proms. some students see a $ opportunity and organize one outside. but not every one goes and it is certainly condemned by the school. i can’t say for certain about other MO-lib schools, but in mine (flatbush), we got mussar about the prom and i think an exam was the scheduled the following day to screw people who went.

  • Well I don’t think it’s very accurate…but this post got a chuckle out of me 🙂

  • Linda

    Gee, Heshey. I thought I was MO, and yet I always wear skirts outside the home, only cook things without bugs, attend shul on Shabbos morning, daven daily and learn torah during the week (not every day, but several times a week), and give at least 10% of my take-home income to tzedaka. By your definition, I guess I am not MO even though I attend a MO shul.

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