Tuesday, November 06, 2007

"The people I talk to I cannot daven with...the people I daven with, I cannot talk to"

This popular adage from German-Israeli Professor Ernst Simon (the exact form of it I have from R. David Weiss Halivni from his "The Book and the Sword" [a picture with heart I just found], where he states he'd heard the wording himself), may be more complex than merely a commentary on historical scholarship and emunah.
I recently found a statement by Zvi Zameret in Winter 1971 edition of Conservative Judaism, that in conversation, R. Joseph Dov Ber Soloveitchik asked of Ernst Simon why he associated with the Conservative movement (I am assuming in Israel?). His response was;

"I can pray with Orthodox Jews, but after services, I can hardly share a word with them. But I can both pray and converse with Conservative Jews".

This adds profoundly to the whole nature of the popularly attributed quote, for which I have found no actual attribution aside from R. David Weiss Halivni. It goes from speaking about his widely-known, but personal and lonely reconciliation with two incommensurate perspectives to say the same individual ultimately found community - and this fact was spoken over to a specific - and renowned - individual.

I offer this only as an historical curiosity, not commentary on the Conservative/Masorti movements as they presently exist - though I think something like the potential-split of the Episcopal Church from the world Anglican Movement will happen, in some sense, with the Conservative movement.


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