Monday, August 29, 2011


Ever heard this term? What does it mean to you?


  1. It reminds me of a conversation I had with my brother, a while back. He was repeating something unflattering that he had heard about Orthodoxy. I told him that it wasn't true.

    Him: "Sis, it's the ultra-orthodox who do it."

    Me: "I AM the ultra-orthodox."

    Now, I'm sure there are those that would say that I am merely "Yeshivish lite" or something (I do have the internet, after all!), but I still think that as far as Judaism goes, I am pretty far to the right, thus placing me in the ultra-Orthodox camp.

    However, I think it's just a label to place people somewhere on the spectrum, in this case, all the way to the right. I also don't think it's necessarily a term used by those who would be deemed Ultra-O by someone else. It seems to me a term that is used to refer to someone else, but not yourself necessarily.

  2. To me ultra-orthodox always refers to clothing. As in the manner in which a person is dressed indicates unmistakably that they cannot be anything besides an 'orthodox jew'.

  3. Doesn't mean much to me because I've never heard a good definition. It seems like people use the term to refer to people who are more right-wing than they are. Some non-Orthodox people seem to apply it to anybody Orthodox.

  4. People who live in Hareidi or Chasidish communities such as Boro Park, Antwerp or Stamford Hill.

  5. It drives "Yeshivish" and "Chassidishe" people crazy that I call myself modern Orthodox because in general those groups see "modern Orthodox" as women wearing pants, not covering their hair, not following taharas hamishpacha (laws of ritual purity). But that's not me. I wear skirts, cover my hair, etc. But... I watch movies, have the internet in my home, let my kids play games on the internet ( and are fun, y'all). I went to college and I'd be 100% ok with my kids choosing to go to college if that's what they want and it works for their plans in life. So I call myself modern. But my husband (who learns in dirshu every morning but can still quote EVERY line of his favorite sitcom), typically cringes when I say "MODERN" Orthodox.

    Rivki--- it's all a matter of perspective. You're as right wing (or probably more so) as I am, and I consider myself modern. but there's plenty of folks out there who wouldn't even call us Orthodox because of the secular education/ internet/ where we live, etc. Those are the folks I would call "ultra-Orthodox" if I felt like labelling, but frankly I'm kind of sick of all the labelling and just want to call us all Jewish no matter what we believe or practice.

    There are those who say that anyone who observes more than they do is CRAZY. Anyone who observes LESS than they do is LAZY. So instead of Ultra-Orthodox and Modern-Orthodox we COULD go with Crazy and Lazy. (Just a joke---- I love everyone wherever they are in their observance and wish we could all do the same). We each want validation for our own brand of Judaism no matter now non-normative it is, so we all try to place ourselves where we feel most comfy. But Judaism isn't supposed to be comfortable--- we're supposed to be looking towards growth and change.

  6. i think that "ultra" anything is by definition more to the right than yourself; "liberal" being anyone to your left.

    I love what heatheramyprice wrote. "Crazy and Lazy" sound just as useful to me!


The purpose of OOTOB is Jewish unity via mutual respect and education, and we reserve the right to decline or edit any comments that are rude or mean. Comments are moderated, so it may take some time for your comment to appear. Thank you for your participation!