Problems In Modern Orthodoxy

Gadi Pickholz emails: In Baltimore, the Rambam Academy has closed completely. In Phoenix, the two major modern orthodox schools have merged. In the Silicon Valley, one of the main schools has closed.
Even in LA there are serious problems necessitating merger that were simply delayed a few years by a sudden influx of immigrant Iranian wealth. In NY and NJ there are charter schools opening in lieu of traditional day schools because of the impossible expense.

Ramaz in Manhattan is now over $50,000 a year in true costs. For a modern orthodox family with four to six children, that is not a different lifestyle; that is effectively a different religion altogether.

Modern Orthodoxy, certainly outside of NY and LA, has simply priced itself out of the mainstream market, yet the OU puts together a committee headed by a born multimillionaire (Weil) and Chaired by another.

This is not simply madness, and indicates a truly tin deaf ear to its constituency. There is not a single committee member who works for a living, or needs to work for a living. There is not a single rabbinic representative who does not represent a community of extreme affluence and donation to the OU.

The OU long ago simply became pointless and irrelevant to the majority of halachically observant Jews in the United States. Now it has conceded “at least a 15-30% attrition rate” over the next decade to quote one of its primary rabbinic representatives.

There is an enormous void to be filled, be it from the left and right, or from Israel itself with a more British type structure or something akin to Tzohar.

It is hardly coincidental that even the OU had to ask the Chief Rabbi to publish his new commentaries and siddurim under their masthead. Do any other rabbinic organizations begin to comprehend the issues at hand, let alone plan for solutions?

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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