False dichotomies
0 + 0 = 0.

Friend Becca in a recent Shefa post makes some points that I would like to reiterate - so let me do just that by cutting and pasting. (What my friend Lobachevsky calls "research.")
Apropos of Ariel's article (which I first read about from a Jewschool postin g about it) & responses to it:

[W]e should avoid false dichotomies & zero-sum perceptions both here & in general. There are plenty of other popular & pernicious ones--the one that comes first to my mind right now is:

outreach/less-affiliated enagement vs. inreach/core group engagement

but one could also consider (some of which we've discussed here before):
  • egalitarian vs. traditional/halakhically serious
  • GLBT-friendly vs. traditional/halakhically serious
  • committed to social justice vs. committed to halakha
  • welcoming to families of mixed religious backgrounds vs. committed to Jewish continuity
  • encouraging of alternative structures for meeting Jews' needs (esp. young Jews' needs) for community ( e.g. independent minyanim) vs. committed to the USCJ and its member organizations (including synagogues)
  • intellectual vs. social
  • study (text) vs. ritual (action)
  • respectful of others' practices & beliefs (among Jewish denominations; with regard to others' religions) vs. committed to one's own practices & beliefs
Whenever we treat one of these groups as "our side" and the other as "the enemy"--and ignore that these groups in fact are not separable except by ignoring all subtlety, complexity, and nuance--we all lose.

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