Most people in the heimishe, yeshivish, black hat or Chassidish world don’t really know much of modern orthodoxy, many of them lump all modern orthodox people together, my friends wife thinks modern orthodox people celebrate Christmas, my cousins think they aren’t learned, the list goes on and on.This is because when I was a kid if you were modern orthodox the list below probably applied to you, but it doesn’t apply so much anymore – at least not to all of modern orthodoxy. It is not uncommon to meet modern orthodox folks that keep all of halacha and have the look too, they cover their hair with sheitles and black hats that send their kids to non-coed camps and schools. So in tribute to the modern orthodoxy I grew up with during the 80’s and early 90’s I bring you:
You know you’re modern orthodox if:
You brush your teeth on shabbos
Married man: You wear a wedding ring
You celebrate yom haatzmaut
You commemorate yom hashoah
You wear one of those lampshade hats that cover half of your hair
You wear jeans to other places besides work
Female: You wear pants, shorts sleeves
Married Female: You donít cover your hair
Youíre living room has a large home entrainment system
There is no assigned seat for the man of the house
You wear colored shirts on shabbos
You play ball on shabbos
You go mixed swimming
You donít dress up on chol hamoid
You look at your mail on shabbos
You donít use frum brands of products
There is only one bed in the master bedroom (I grew up with thinking this Ė but I think that Manhattan modern orthodoxy is more like conservadoxy)
You have a TV
Your DVD collection is out in plain view
You get a newspaper other than the NY Post or Jewish papers
You do not wear a black velvet yarmulke ever
You tend to wear baseball caps if you donít have to wear a yarmulke
You donít wear a yarmulke to work
You eat Vegan out
You go to the beach
You have mixed seating at weddings, brisim, shalom zachors, etcÖ
You have English names on your birth certificate
You eat vegetables
Lag Baomer isnít the only time you wear shorts
You sing things to the tune of Hatikva
Your shul has an Israeli and American flag in it
People pass babies over the mechitza in your shul
Even though your shul is orthodox – it is split amongst republicans and democrats (try finding a real frum person who is a democrat – that’s for another post)
Your shul sings more than just lecha dodi and yedid nefesh
You don’t know the joys of erev shabbos kugel
Your school has after school programs
Why are modern orthodox people in love with the song Acheinu?
Now for the serious part of the post:
So what really makes someone modern orthodox? You know – the philosophical reasons. I found this post that Rabbi Gil Student wrote way back in 2006 about modern orthodoxy. That’s kind of where my posts came from, he’s given me permission to reprint anything from his blog.
You know you’re modern orthodox if: See original post here
1. You approve of exploring some or much of general culture in order to find beauty and meaning in it (Torah im Derekh Eretz).
2. You believe that studying some or many areas of secular studies is valuable for more than just earning a living (Torah u-Madda type 1).
3. You see value in using some academic methods in the study of at least some areas of Torah (Torah u-Madda type 2).
4. You give the views of experts in any field serious consideration.
5. You believe that expertise requires serious training.
6. You encourage greater participation of women in the Jewish community.
7. Mingling of the genders, whether in educational or social contexts, is OK with you.
8. You dismiss the infallibility, omniscience and supernatural powers of rabbis.
9. You see the establishment of the State of Israel as a religiously meaningful event.
10. You think people should dress in the style of clothing they like rather than communal uniforms.