Orthodox Judaism today is not struggling against the allure of a more Protestant Americanized ethos. It is struggling with the great challenge of relativism and postmodernism.
Postmodern influence on the religious worldview of today’s Modern Orthodox millennial generation is profound. Whether it is deconstructing previously held core theological tenets such as a belief in God, the theophany at Sinai, or the election of Israel as a chosen people; or being unconvinced that there are any truth claims, the postmodernist critique of society, culture, and literature has shaken up the Modern Orthodox community in ways we are only beginning to recognize.
How can one become passionate about something that is no more or less true than any other competing value and belief system? How can one find inspiration in the narrative of one’s people if it has been deconstructed through literary criticism and voids in the archeological record? What relevance does Jewish peoplehood have in an era of universalism and global solidarity?
These are the most monumental challenges facing our community now and in the years to come.
Rabbi Ben Greenberg, “The Millennial Generation: From the Chosen Nation to the Nation that Chooses”, Conversations, Issue 24 (Winter 2016/5776), 77.