“The importance of adjectives and ideologies into Orthodoxy is a symptom of the breakdown, socially, of the structures of community and intellectually, of the tradition of argument which is the dialogue between Torah and its application to a given age.”
“ Words are often born when the phenomenon they name is under threat. The adjective ‘orthodox’ first appears in a Jewish context in France in the early nineteenth century in the course of the debate about Jewish citizenship in the new nation state. For the first time in the modern world the traditional terms of Jewish existence were thrown into question. Alternatives were proposed. Some argued that Judaism must change. Those who disagreed were given the label ‘orthodox’. Only when something is challenged does it need a name. Until then it is taken for granted.”
“It is no longer possible to be a Jew tout court. The noun, to convey anything at all, now needs to be qualified by an adjective, perhaps several. There are Orthodox, Reform, Conservative, Liberal, Reconstructionist, and secular Jews. There are Israeli and diaspora Jews, Zionists and non-Zionists. Each label is further divided. Zionists are religious or secular. Religious Zionists are messianic or pragmatic. And so on. Jewish existence has become adjectival existence.”