Building a Ḥaredi Conservatism

November 12, 2018 | Yehoshua Pfeffer
About the author: Yehoshua Pfeffer, a rabbi and rabbinical judge, holds a law degree from the Hebrew University and clerked at the Israel Supreme Court. He has taught at a number of yeshivas, published widely on Jewish law and thought, and is currently directing programs for the haredi community in Israel for the Tikvah Fund.

To an outsider, it would seem self-evident that Ḥaredim are conservatives, given their passionate attachment to religion and to the family, and to preserving their way of life. Yet, notes Yehoshua Pfeffer, there is something deeply radical about the ḥaredi community’s demand for religious intensity and personal sacrifice by all of its members. As ultra-Orthodoxy, especially in Israel, is beginning to undergo major changes in the face of a variety of economic and demographic pressures, Pfeffer argues that Western conservative thought can provide Ḥaredim with necessary guidance and perspective. Basing himself on his 2017 essay “Toward a Conservative Chareidism” as a point of departure, he discusses these ideas with Mark Gottlieb. (Audio, 35 minutes.)

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