Among the more well-known features of Prof. Haym Soloveitchik’s “Rupture and Reconstruction” is its description of the shift away from a mimetic tradition, in which people are socialized into a religious community through observation and “imitation” (the same root as mimetic), toward an often more stringent text-based authority. Soloveitchik contended that this was accompanied by a concomitant shift from the community and communal rabbi as role models to a reorientation of the center of gravity around yeshivot and Roshei Yeshiva.
To help us understand this phenomenon and how it plays itself out today, TRADITION’s associate editor, R. Chaim Strauchler chatted with R. Efrem and Rebbetzin Yocheved Goldberg of the Boca Raton Synagogue. They spoke about R. Goldberg’s contribution to our symposium, and Rebbetzin Goldberg’s recent essay about the contemporary role of the rabbi’s wife and family as communal role models. They consider challenges to a “centrist Jewish life”—both from the right wing’s supra-halachic modesty stringencies and the left’s so-called “reverse-engineered pesak halakha.” They argue that the modern rabbinic family and, in their terms, a vibrant “community of halakhic normality” have the potential to provide a new form of mimesis with which to energize Jewish life.
[Published on December 17, 2019]