Modern Orthodoxy is especially vulnerable to kids leaving the derech, precisely because its philosophy is to stay actively engaged with the outside world. Unlike the more insular ultra-Orthodox communities, Modern Orthodoxy puts a bigger premium on studying at the best colleges and pursuing professional careers.
This engagement with the outside world creates a constant tension over adherence to the Orthodox lifestyle — praying three times a day, finding kosher restaurants, taking days off for Jewish holidays and so on. Maybe that’s why Shabbat is the crucial ritual that keeps Modern Orthodoxy alive. It’s a day of no pressure, no ambiguities, no need to navigate different worlds. You disconnect from work and the world, and you reconnect with family and community.
The problem is that for a new generation of Modern Orthodox Jews who are addicted to checking their smartphones every few seconds, it might not be so easy to disconnect. And if you’ve been raised on the message that “all commandments are important,” one little slip could demoralize you into a slippery slope of chucking it all.
David Suissa, “How Do You Stay Jewish?”, Jewish Journal (1-7 May 2015), 8.