“A situation can arise in which Orthodoxy, Reform, Israel and the diaspora can each claim, within their own terms of reference, that the Jewish future is bright and that they are its inheritors. Each can argue that the others are insecure and under threat. These four ways of interpreting the present are radically incompatible with one another. But they reinforce the reluctance of each to come to terms with the existence of the others”
“Within Judaism.. Orthodoxy, Conservatism, Reform, and Reconstructionism are regularly portrayed as the four Jewish denominations. Those who think in these terms see such a description as just that: neutrally descriptive. But it contains a momentous hidden premise. It imports pluralism into Judaism. And this itself is an accommodation to secularization. Orthodoxy does not, and cannot, make this accommodation. It recognizes pluralism along many axes. It recognizes at least some other faiths as valid religious options for non-Jews. It recognizes, within Judaism itself, different halakhic traditions: Ashkenazi and Sephardi, for example, or Hasidic or Mitnagdic. Beyond halakhah, it legitimates a vast variety of religious approaches: rationalist and mystical, intellectual and emotional, nationalist and universalist, pietist and pragmatic. But it does not recognize the legitimacy of interpretations of Judaism that abandon fundamental beliefs or halakhic authority. It does not validate, in the modern sense, a plurality of denominations. It does not see itself as one version of Judaism among others.”
“The paradox is that Judaism traditionally had no place for the concept of a denomination. Orthodoxy maintains that belief. The result is that liberal Judaisms and Orthodoxy are condemned to systematic mutual misunderstanding, a situation that leads to division without providing any shared language through which division might be transcended. Ideologically, Judaism recognizes neither denominations not sects. Sociologically, it is currently organized into just those forms. Ideologically, Judaism is inclusive of all Jews. Sociologically, exclusivist attitudes prevail in just those sectors of Orthodoxy that most strive to maintain continuity with the past.”