The article doesn't say that it was mixed dancing.OK, OK, I'm sure it was.-Phil
When I grew up in London in the 50's-60's, the shtiebl to which we belonged -- like most other Orthodox shuls -- had what was called a 'Dinner-dance' on New Yr's Eve (Dec 31). No-one believes me when I tell them this.
I believe you, Paul. I remember a mixed dance party at an Orthodox shul as late as the mid-'70's. At the Brooklyn wedding of a YU classmate in 1975, there was an announcement that, "at the request of the chosson and kallah," there was to be no mixed dancing. Which presupposes an expectation that there would or might have been. Nowadays it's rare enough to be able to sit with your wife at a wedding dinner, much less dance with her.
Friedlander and Mordecai Kaplan helped found Young Israel. Late in Kaplan's life Young Israel planned an anniversary dinner where they planned to honor its oldest living founder/early leader. They changed the plans when it turned out to be him. When the article was written, JTS was equivalent of Modern Orthodox.
I know about Kaplan's role in the Young Israel (although the Oral Torah that I've heard is that it was YU which wished to honor its oldest surviving student, and as Kaplan had learned in Etz Chaim, and lived to 103, they were dismayed to discover that he was in fact the oldest), but JTS was most certainly not the equivalent of Modern Orthodox. Or, to put it another way, the denominational lines were very blurry in 1919 but much of what was standard JTS in 1919 is considered way over the line in so-called Modern Orthodoxy today. On the other hand to the extent that Modern Orthodoxy, in 1919, meant Orthodoxy with an American flavor, then I suppose you could say that since the rest of Orthodoxy was not native, the only game in town was JTS.
The story is even better than that - when YU discovered that Kaplan was the oldest living student they looked for the second oldest, who turned out to be Harry (Hillel) Rogoff, Abraham Cahan's successor at the Forward, a dyed-in-the-wool Socialist who, in his student days, had led protests against Yeshivat Etz Chaim for mistreating its blue-collar workers! They pretty much called it a day with that. A good biography of Friedlaender, a very interesting figure in his own right, was published several years ago by Prof. Baila Shargel.
The YU incident happened in 1976, their 90th anniversary, and is documented in Gurock and Schacter's book on Kaplan, right at the beginning. In 1986, for their hundredth, they tried again and found someone more "acceptable," Kaplan having passed away in the meantime. He was a garment worker from the Bronx; I remember the announcement when he passed away about ten years later.
Hmmm. Here we have blog posts concerning the gradual disapearance of mixed dancing -including spouses dancing together - and I see other blog posts elsewhere alarmed at the growing drop-out rate among orthodox Jews. I see more than a correlation, I see a causation
What do you mean?(By the way, I wanted to say that I didn't want to imply with this post that this is some secret Young Israel history I've uncovered. At least when I was a kid, "everyone" talked about the Young Israel's "mixed dances" even though by that time I think they were already a thing of the past. It's common knowledge. I just though in light of the recent direction they've taken it would be funny to point this little notice out.)
Agreed. The Young Israel dances were fairly well-known. My dad, Z"L, used to talk about his run-in with R. Miller who was aghast that he, a Chaim Berlin bochur, should be one of the principal organizers of one such event.Point of information, though: The annouced lecture by R. Friedlander was NOT at the Young Israel--the article says it was at the Pike Street Synagogue a few blocks away. While the Young Israel still exists, the Pike Street Synagogue (which was also, incidentally, the location of Rav Moshe Feinstein, Z"L's, US funeral) is now a Buddhist center.