The Synthesis Inheres in the Doing
It's from the end of a chapter in a Modern Jewish History book that I used in graduate school, but neglected to write down the name of the book or the author of this chapter.
"[the Orthodox], like other German Jews, possessed a 'hyphenated identity'. Yet the reformulation of Jewish tradition they provided reveals that a 'hyphenated identity' or successful synthesis works not because it is logical. It works because one lives it. The synthesis inheres in the doing. It is this which allowed the Geman Orthodox, like other Western Jews, to create a modern Orthodox traditionalism that worked. This may be why, in the end, these people hold up a mirror to other modern Jews who are engaged in the same process of constructing and living within a tradition in a modern, pluralistic world. All Jews who affirm their identity and religion in today's world are ultimately engaged in the same task that they were. All Jews who struggle with the Tradition in the modern West employ, as the German Orthodox did, a new language to awaken and defend an ancient faith and tradition."
In other words, Modern Orthodoxy — the ideals of Tora uMada‘, Tora ‘im Derekh Eretz, Tora va‘Avoda — is not about belief. It's not about dogma. It's about action, and the living practice of being dati ‘olami — religious-and-worldly.
And I Am A Member Of A Human Civilization.
I Am A Member Of A Civilization.
I do believe that there are dogma limits and principles of faith that characterize [Modern] Orthodoxy, just like any other stream of Judaism. I just think this is also an interesting and meaningful way to look at it.