In Mock Defense of Argyle Orthodox Judaism

As we sit and write this post we are wearing a Brooks Brother's Cashmere Argyle Sweater. The sweater represents a style and substance that differentiates us from other types of Orthodox Jews. Together with the other 2 or 3 Jewish bloggers who wear argyle sweaters we constitute what you need to call "Argyle Orthodox Judaism." And it matters not that we have no formal structure for uniting together our various congregations into a denominational movement. It matters not that we have not even a single congregation registered anywhere as Argyle Orthodox. Our movement exists because we say it does.

Reality break. When we lived in Minnesota we got to know about some various real denominations of religious significance. After a while we understood that there were in fact different kinds of Lutherans. One organized segment belonged to the Missouri Synod. It's the second largest Lutheran movement, the eighth largest Protestant denomination in the US (some say 11th largest) with 2.4 million members, 35 districts and 6,100 churches. It has a history, structure, membership, and approved doctrines. The next largest Lutheran group is the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod with a baptized membership of over 395,000 in more than 1,200 congregations in all 50 U.S. states and 4 provinces of Canada. Both of these are religions that exist. Enough of reality.

There's a spate of recent postings about Post-Modern Orthodoxy on some of the blogs that we read. There has been lots written on blogs and elsewhere about Modern Orthodoxy in the last months and years.

Let's just be up front about this. Neither of these exist as actual religions in America or anywhere. PMO and MO are styles that comprise nothing of formal significance or durability, agglomerations of fads and fashion, not religions. There's just Orthodox and that's that.

The pundits (such as blog a and blog b) who write about these matters and the 40 or so confused blog commenters who write in response to postings (assuming that most of these are separate individuals and not sock puppets of the same nine mixed up people) - do not add up to a hill of chulent. The debates that they engender are as significant as gossip about celebrities, since that is what most of the chit chat is in fact - announcements about which rabbi has gone ahead and decided to wear a red argyle sweater instead of a brown one, and certainly not a black one.

Tomorrow argyle may be replaced with solids or polka dots. The next day we will dedicate to the parsing of the upsurge in Angry Orthodoxy. Two days later we will discuss the swing towards Unhappy Orthodoxy. And then eventually we will get to the consideration of the nature of the Non-observant Orthodox! Every religious micro-trend will get its own blog and every Orthodox sneeze will get its own posting.

None of this anyhow has anything to do with any essence of the Torah or any content of Judaism.

Nice sweater...

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