I had initially refrained from any extensive commenting on Noah Feldman’s now-infamous article in the New York Time Magazine “Orthodox Paradox” mainly because I did not want to address this painful and divisive issue during the Nine Days, a particularly mournful period preceding Tisha B’Av.
Since that time I’ve had some major life upheaval, having finally abandoned the hedonism and after-hours culture of the Upper West Side of New York City for the sedate land of ample parking and green vistas known as Westchester. I hope that this newfound sense of tranquility will mean more regular posting, especially on the Tanach project. I have to confess that I’ve been reading on my own, and am now well ahead of the rest of you who were proceeding at the plodding pace of the blog. Don’t worry, unlike the reviews for Harry Potter VII, I won’t let slip any spoilers.
On to Noah Feldman!
Just recently, an anonymous commenter triumphantly crowed about the revelation that Feldman knew he was not actually edited out of the photo at his high school reunion. This was proof that Feldman was a lying liar, and with his credibility thus destroyed, he could be safely placed int he pantheon of publicly-self-hating Jews, and ignored, if not spit upon. While some, like DovBear, have commented that it hardly makes a difference whether Feldman’s absence from the photo was a result of being cropping or simply selection of a photo that did not contain him, I think the whole issue is a red herring. It’s a great part of the article, in that it conveys Feldman’s emotional state. Moreover, by continuing to keep Feldman out of alumni publications, the school is affirming its policy of excision, irrespective of the photo. What gets me is that Feldman cited facts and shone a light on actual tensions and difficulties attendant to Modern Orthodoxy’s ideology. Those do not stand or fall on the basis of Noah Feldman’s integrity. The arrows found the mark, even if the bow did not aim true.
And wouldn’t you know it, I’m going to have to cut this short as other responsibilities press in on me.