Whether you like it or not, the Jewish community runs on labels. We need to have labels in order to know what community to live in, what schools to send our children to and what restaurants to eat at. Without those time honed labels and stereotype, a black hat guy may wind up in a modern orthodox shul with a mechitza he doesn’t hold by and start a riot. By the same token, can you imagine a bunch of regularly dressed shulamith girls walking into Mea Shearim and getting bleached because they didn’t realize it was a very religious neighborhood. In general, the frum community is broken up into several groups. Everyone can pretty much agree on Yeshivish, Modern Orthodox and Chassidic.
The technicalities such as yeshivish modern and modern orthodox liberal are contradictory, how can one be yeshivish or orthodox and liberal at the same time? In reality it doesn’t really work in the grand scheme of things, but what do we call those people who are stuck between modern orthodoxy and yeshivish. It used to be easy to label, we pretty much did it according to levush or dress codes. Black hat meant yeshivish and knitted yarmulke meant modern and anyone who looked like 18th century Eastern Europe was Chassidic. Since we can pretty much agree that Modern Orthodoxy, Liberlism and Yeshivish can’t really mix together we should probably come up with terms for those who call themselves “open Orthodox” and those who between yeshivish and modern orthodox.
Open Orthodoxy is troubling because it’s basically trying to take the conservative Judaism of the 1950′s and call it Orthodoxy. We can probably debate all day about the halachic allowance for women rabbis, but in the end Orthodoxy is much more about social norms and custom than actual letter of the law halacha. However, the purpose of this post was to come up with a new term for those folks who find themselves stuck between modern orthodoxy and yeshivish. I posted it on my facebook page and received a lot of good ideas. I think centrist orthodox is cool, but it may be an affront to those who are closer to yeshivish than to modern.
Frum but cool
Frum but with it (any term with “but” included always has a negative connotation, like most frum people aren’t with it or something)
Out of towners
Velveters (they tend to wear velvet)
JPF just plain frum
The blue shirts
Not your typical YU guy
Middle of the road
Netflix Frum (too frum for a TV, but you can watch it all online)
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