“Modern Orthodoxy is Modern. But it is also Orthodoxy.”

It is indeed not difficult to point to various trends within Modern Orthodoxy over the past generation or two that can justly be characterized as moves to the right. It is true, I think, that the tendency to consult roshei yeshiva rather than local rabbis on matters of Jewish law has grown, although the latter continue to be the prime address for such inquiries. Other changes have generally been driven by weighty texts and traditions. Mixed dancing has declined dramatically and is no longer sponsored by Orthodox institutions. Mixed swimming has declined less dramatically.  Considerably more Modern Orthodox men avoid listening to a woman sing than was the case a generation ago. Far more men attend daily services and regularly study Talmud. More men, especially young men, display their tzitzit, though they remain a fairly small minority.

At the same time, consider the following changes (among others) in the most-discussed area of gender: bat mitzvah celebrations that rival bar mitzvahs. Advanced Talmudic study for women at Yeshiva University and elsewhere. Women as scholars-in-residence in synagogues. Women advocates in Israeli rabbinical courts. Trained advisers with formal, synagogue-sponsored positions in areas of family purity. A prenuptial agreement formulated by a YU rosh yeshiva and strongly supported by the Rabbinical Council of America.

When such changes occur, critics simply bank them and announce the further haredization of Modern Orthodoxy whenever a new, radical proposal encounters resistance. Modern Orthodoxy is Modern. But it is also Orthodoxy.

David Berger, ” Determining The Parameters Of Modern Orthodoxy”, The Jewish Week (4 April 2014), 26.