Wednesday, August 5, 2009

being MO

I know I'm MM. But am I MO too?

(Cheeeezy, I know. I try!)

I hate telling people I'm modern orthodox. It's like putting a giant bar code on my forehead that says "this is how I'm packaged". I'd like to think I'm a little more interesting than that.

The truth is that these days, being 'modern orthodox' is as vague a term as any - I went to a 'modern orthodox' high school where half the kids kept kosher and half ate the Filet-O-Fish at McD's.

Maybe that's why they ('they' as in Saw You At Sinai - our internet age orthodox label maker) have invented new terms like MO Machmir, MO Liberal and MO Middle of the Road to try and categorize everyone under the big MO umbrella. But everyone’s got their own definitions of these definitions. Does being MO Liberal mean someone’s kosher but not shomer? And don’t we all think that we’re ‘middle of the road’? I know others have attempted to explain all the subtleties of each of these groupings. That’s why I’m not going to.

But where do I fit in? What makes me MO?

I never spent a summer at Moshava, Nesher or Stone or any of the other Bnei Akiva-type camps that brainwash kids into the Aliyah dream. I don’t even really want to make Aliyah. I certainly don’t say Hallel on Yom Ha’atzma’ut. But maybe that’s just because I hardly ever make it to Shul to say Hallel any other time of year… I don’t wear long flowy skirts and I don’t know what Rabeinu Tam says about women making a zimun. (does he even say anything at all on the subject?) I was taught Gemara in high school, and while I do think women have the right to learn if they so choose, I really would much rather read US Weekly in my spare time…

Does that mean I can’t be MO Machmir?

But I don’t wear pants or show too much skin. I don’t touch boys. Well, I don’t really touch boys. Despite what they may think. I don’t even chew non-kosher gum. I stopped eating salads out a few years back when I found a piece of bacon on my plate one time. I’m totally shomer shabbos…

Does that mean I can’t be MO Liberal?

So do I say I'm 'Middle of the Road'? It seems like the easy way out...


Jacob Da Jew said...

Interesting post.

I actually feel MO but yet not.

I guess you can call yourself...You?

A distinctive individual who just does her own thing.

Anonymous said...

I'm really happy you wrote about this..because the labels plague me as well. If I had an awesome blog like you, I would want to write a similar post. I'm just a fan, so I will write my own thoughts here...I keep kosher and shabbos (and all of the chagim, fast days), and I daven 3X a day (and I'm a girl). But I wear pants and while I'm very old-fashioned, I'm not militant shomer negiah. So where does that place me? I think we just have to focus on the fact that we're Jews and just do the best we can to follow Yiddishkeit.

G6 said...

Wow! TOTALLY Shomer Shabbos?!?!?

I'm not sure most great Rabbonim would even say that about themselves.

I think that catapults you to the head of the hashkafah class!

nameless, faceless said...

I agree, labels are confusing but a necessary evil. At least as a jumping-off-point.

As for myself, there is a whole chunk of people that like to call me not Jewish at all, but usually I go with MO Lib. Sometimes though I feel more right wing Conservative Jewey. Shocking, I know!