Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Back to Opinion

Is Modern Orthodoxy the True Orthodoxy?

On Thursday night, Israel Prize Winner Rabbi Daniel Sperber gave a lecture at the Jewish Center in New York City on “Why Modern Orthodoxy is True Orthodoxy.”

Sperber, a Talmud scholar at Bar-Ilan University in Israel, provided a thorough history of Orthodox Judaism before noting the differences between modern Orthodoxy and ultra-Orthodoxy, emphasizing that modern Orthodoxy is willing to view Halacha as a “constantly developing entity and it is willing to face challenges.”

Sperber, devoted a large portion of his lecture on the evolving role of women in Orthodox Judaism, saying that only the modern Orthodox establishment accepts and supports these changes “that are taking place now in our society,” which are “completely rejected by our more ultra-Orthodox brethren.”

Sperber closed his speech by saying true orthodoxy regards Halacha as something “which is constantly growing, constantly reevaluating the situation, constantly readapting itself to changes in society.”

Annette Schabes, who travelled from Englewood, NJ to listen to the speech, empathized with Sperber’s views on the changing role of women. “I think that as long things are done within the framework of Jewish law, there’s no reason why one cannot take a more active role within ritual practice.”

The event was part of an annual lecture series sponsored by The Yavne-Shapiro Program in Torah and Jewish Ethics in cooperation with Bar-Ilan University. Thursday’s lecture was the first in the series given outside of Israel.

A message from our editor-in-chief Jodi Rudoren

We're building on 127 years of independent journalism to help you develop deeper connections to what it means to be Jewish today.

With so much at stake for the Jewish people right now — war, rising antisemitism, a high-stakes U.S. presidential election — American Jews depend on the Forward's perspective, integrity and courage.

—  Jodi Rudoren, Editor-in-Chief 

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.