Modern Orthodoxy is hard to understand and harder to live. Orthodoxy is a set of views and behaviors that is governed by precedent and authority. It is most comfortable with stasis. Change irritates the system, and especially change that is based on what best can be described as modern sensibilities. In contradistinction, the fuel for the modern organism is change, adaptation, adoption and innovation.
The DNA of Orthodoxy is resistance: the DNA of modernity is osmotic. This is not a novel insight. It is a dichotomy that has been analyzed for decades by people far more qualified than me. However, in recent years, two issues have risen to the forefront of our communal consciousness that have proven to be stressors of this unstable ecosystem. The normative, social and halachic status of women and homosexuals in our communities are not merely talmudic debates that reside within the ivory walls of study hall, but are public-policy issues with the potential to be schismatic. In recent days, the issue of a woman’s status has reemerged and the results have been both predictable and disheartening.
Keith Zakheim, “Of Leaders and Followers”, Jewish Link of New Jersey (14 February 2019) [https://www.jewishlinknj.com/letters/29608-of-leaders-and-followers]