In the forthcoming Winter issue of the Jewish Review of Books, a colleague and friend of many years, Rabbi Daniel Gordis, has written an article titled “Requiem for a Movement,” referring to the Conservative movement in the aftermath of the recently released Pew Report. As one might imagine, the article has generated a great deal of “discussion” among my colleagues in the Conservative rabbinate. I can only imagine that the lay leadership of our movement is similarly engaged.
The claim about overwhelmingly right-wing and exclusively anti-liberal agendas at the Tivkah Fund is easy enough to track in its written platforms. While the proceedings hosted at Princeton, NYU or JTS are originally closed and private (recorded sessions of panels are available online at the website for Princeton’s Tikvah Project on Jewish Thought), the pages of Jewish Ideas Daily or the Jewish Review of Books are presented to the broader public. For present purposes, I am more interested in ideological expression at the latter because the ramifications are more serious for questions relating to university scholarship and politics in Judaic Studies. From the six numbered issues of the Review published to date, I have identified 22 items which show a significant right-wing, anti-secular, anti-liberal and/or anti-progressive slant. Innovative forms of Jewish expression are routinely ridiculed (and never defended), secular Jewishness is seen as self-destructive, and liberal Judaism in general is presented as virtually oxymoronic. These references are:
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