Sunday, January 16, 2005

Cross-currents - a note to Rabbi Adlerstein, more in sorrow than anger

Rabbi Adlerstein's posting on "Cross-Currents" - 'L'affaire Slifkin' - is, I am afraid, highly problematic. I started to do a phrase-by-phrase commentary/analysis; but a blog is a blog, and it is a place for short postings, not long essays.
In any case, a few comments:
1. Rabbi Adlerstein's Orwellian piece reads like Pravda or the China Daily in their classic times, including clear allusions to his own fear and the fear of those associated with him those that they may be 'next in line for execution' (or oblivion, or exile to Siberia, or cherem) if they say too much.
2. Rabbi Adlerstein -- the issue is not 'Torah and Science' - the issue is the 'cherem'.
3. The split in the Orthodox world is not between those who believe x or y about science, Torah or any other subject - it is between those who ban books and people, and those who profoundly reject that sort of primitive, medieval witch-hunting. It is between those who believe in treating others with respect, and those who will ruthlessly quash anyone who deviates from the supposed 'party line'. And as I have written elsewhere, that 'party line' covers conformity in a whole range of things. Don't expect to be considered Orthodox if you (are male and) wear blue shirts. It is also about increasing thought-control in the Orthodox community.
4. the refusal to allow comments on Rabbi Adlerstein's posting, and the pronouncement that no further postings on the issue will take place is profoundly insulting to readers of 'Cross-currents', and disqualifies it from future serious consideration as a forum about anything. It is a sociological curiosity, but it is no longer a 'blog'.
5. I would like to hear the views of other "Cross-currents" editors - particularly Emmanuel Feldman - on the ban.
6. Rabbi Adlerstein (and I call him Rabbi Adlerstein, although he conspicuously drops the 'Rabbi' when talking of Rabbi Slifkin - step one in the Newspeak) piously says that the blog is not the place for the debate - there are other forums. Perhaps he will post here the name of any Orthodox forum - in print or any other medium - where a respectful, uncensored, open debate on 'laffaire Slifkin' can take place?

.... I could go on (and on and on). The point is clear. Decide on which side of the court you're playing. The stakes are high. Comments welcome - especially from "Cross-currents" editors and others who cannot access their own site on this issue. Weep for the generation, and weep for Yiddishkeit.

UPDATE: See also 'Daas Hedyot' for similar comments. Shmarya shows that Aish Hatorah has decided where it stands ...
MORE UPDATES: and Chakira has a perceptive posting which is worth reading on this issue -- as I 've said, conformity is the name of the game ...

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