Why Are Most Jews Not Orthodox?


If it is generally accepted here that orthodoxy is more true than other denominations of Judaism like reform, conservative, reconstructionist etc. why are most Jews affiliated with synagogues not orthodox? Why does it seem like there’s a mindset gap between orthodoxy and the rest of Judaism



  1. Being Orthodox is a twenty-four hour a day, seven day a week commitment, which looks like a daunting prospect to many people. Coupled with this is the fact that far too many Jewish children have been given no effectual Jewish education, if any at all. The results are catastrophic. Generations of Jews who have been brought up unaware of their own heritage, to the point that they are not even intellectually curious enough to begin to investigate it. Possibly, for many people, the reason for this is that in their hearts they know that it would mean changing their entire cultural and philosophical lifestyle. Why is that? Because being a committed Jew means living a life that reflects one’s connection to God through according to the Torah. And, it seems, that can feel like a terrifying prospect. I often point out to my students that the Shulchan Aruch – Code of Jewish Law – is a “pre-birth to post-death primer.” There is not a moment in our day that does not have a a theological dimension to it. And, for an intellectually honest person thinking about looking into their heritage, such a commitment might seem to be overwhelming. So the easiest route is taken: inertia and doing nothing or relatively little.

    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team