In a new symposium at The Lehrhaus entitled “Reclaiming Torah u-Madda,” I was given the chance to reflect on the state of “Torah U-Madda” (the relationship between Torah and Western culture) in the Modern Orthodox community today. I sought to address this topic on a philosophical level, through an analysis of a wonderful story by Isaac Bashevis Singer, as well as through some “real-world” examples of how these ideas might play out in practice. My latter comments generated more controversy than I would have liked. I would like to emphasize that my account of what has challenged me personally about my native community is not meant to constitute a comprehensive indictment of all that is wrong with Modern Orthodoxy. My goal in the essay is to introduce a philosophical framework and then briefly suggest how this framework might cohere in real-life scenarios. I don’t mind disagreement about the relevance of these scenarios but I am even more interested in discussing the worldview that underlies them.
Please see here for the full article. And I recommend perusing all of the terrific contributions to this forum.
2 thoughts on “One Life to Live: Torah U-Madda Today”
Thank you, Sarah. This is an outstanding reflection on Modern Orthodoxy and (sadly) its shortcomings. Erica and Jeff
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Thank you so much Erica, it’s wonderful to hear for you and I really appreciate your weighing in.