Today on Tablet, Rabbi David Wolpe reports on the Women of the Wall, whose quest to pray at the Western Wall has ignited a controversy that is more familiar than it first seems.
For the modernists, part of the power of religion is its willingness to challenge the social structure. This is the legacy of the prophets and, in some incarnations, of the rabbis. Individualism, free speech, and democracy have taken root as part of the ideology of modern Judaism. Armed with these Western principles, modern Jewish scholars have searched for their antecedents in our tradition. Religion does not skate on the ice of time; Moses never wore a shtreimel and Maimonides did not speak Yiddish. God’s will, as modernists argue, is uncovered through history, not obscured by it.
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