Unbreachable Divides in Judaism?

Shmarya Rosenberg brings us another post where he declares, essentially, that there are two Judaisms:

We have two Jewish communities, really two Jewish peoples. The fault line dividing them is Orthodox observance. One views exploitation of workers – much like other Agriprocessors-related crimes – with horror. The Orthodox other couldn’t seem to care less.

“Everybody does it,” a Chabad hasid told me. “Why should Rubashkin be different?”

“The Torah,” I replied.

The hasid did not understand my response.

Now, in instances such as this, I find it can be hard to disagree that there seems to be a rupture, indeed around Orthodox observance, as Rosenberg points out. The problem I have, though, is that this divide sometimes occurs in the Orthodox world as well, as that recent editorial by Rabbi Herzfeld points out. But it does seem to be the case, quite often, that “the Orthodox” preach that proactive solutions to the ‘problem of assimilation’ involve, pretty much, just being halachically observant in the Orthodox manner (it should be clarified, not halachic in the Conservative manner, God forbid).

It would seem that this divide, such as it is, seems to affect the Modern Orthodox mostly – those on the traditional end will likely end up siding with the Haredim and making overtures to an increasingly fundamentalist point of view, while those that might have a more liberal bent are caught in the middle, as it would seem to be more and more anathema to make any manner of conciliatory gestures to Reform/Conservative/Reconstructionst Jews.

So what is the solution? How did we get to this point? Is it as bad as Mr. Rosenberg seems to think? Honestly, I don’t know the answers to any of these.

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