Egalitarianism is defined as an assertion, resulting from, or characterized by belief in the equality of all people, especially in political, economic, religious or social life. An example of ‘egalitarian’ morning prayer was recently posted on a face book feed:
The sparse numbers in attendance no doubt was in accord with the very best traditions of egalitarianism. The very best traditions of egalitarianism of course recently displayed by the latest women of the wall stunt:
Egalitarianism no doubt is very useful in the hands of those who espouse it. After all can anyone really expect that these women regularly attend a shul 3 times a day and put on their religious ‘man gear’ and read their Torah there? The irony of the falsehood being perfectly captured by one commentator on Facebook:
People really beating down the doors to get in there, eh? I grew up conservative and once I started to become shomer mitzvos I figured that my path was with the conservative rabbinate. Unfortunately, no conservative shuls in Connecticut, Indiana (where I was in university), or Manhattan (where I lived for the summer after I started keeping shabbos, etc) had anything resembling a week day minyan. One morning in new york I went to shacharis at JTS, New York’s conservative yeshiva, and I saw that at the highest place of learning and observance in the conservative world there was no minyan. In a school for people committing to a life in clergy the students either chose to daven at an orthodox shul or by themselves (or not at all). This seemed to be more of a political platform than a religious movement. I appreciate that people are uncomfortable with traditional roles in Judaism. But egalitarianism never seems to come with a strong commitment to anything other than egalitarianism. As if the whole point of the Judaism becomes a demonstration that I can throw off the shackles of tradition and then on top of that; indignation that those who respect and hold the tradition do not take their irreverence as a serious movement?
The envelope of Jewish and Christian Egalitarianism is also being presently pushed, what with throngs of evangelical pilgrims and ministries assembling in Jerusalem to celebrate various Christianized versions of the Jewish Feast of the Tabernacles (Sukkot), Israel’s Chief Rabbinate has issued a statement prohibiting Jews from participating in an International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ) prayer vigil scheduled to take place at the Southern Wall of Har Habayit, the Temple Mount, on the last morning of ICEJ’s annual Feast pilgrimage.
More recently we have the “Day to Praise” interfaith worship event, held at Hatzvi Yisrael Synagogue in Jerusalem on Yom Ha’atzmaut, which was conceived by the Jewish Executive Director of Rabbi Shlomo Riskin’s interfaith center, who very publicly admitted that he was influenced and received his inspiration for the event while studying Christian theology at the well-known Christian College, Oral Roberts University. The event was pre-publicized on Israel radio as being both “controversial and revolutionary”. And Christian audiences were told in promotions for the event that “Rabbi Riskin is the Jack Hayford and Billy Graham of the Orthodox Jewish world”.