Is this the twilight zone? What parallel universe has Yeshiva University Chancellor Rabbi Norman Lamm been living in?
According to Lamm, Reform Judaism has never played a role in American Jewry, and Conservative barely has. And the increased membership in Reform congregations is only because when you “add goyim to Jews then you will do OK.”
He claims that only Modern Orthodox and Hareidim will play a role in the future of American Judaism. “The future of American Jewry is in the hands of haredim and the modern Orthodox. We have to find ways of working together.” He is wrong. No, the answer is not doing kiruv to Reform and Conservative Jews (and, no, those denominations are not about offering a “watered down” version of Judaism).
His opinions are arrogant, insulting, and completely out of touch with reality. That someone with his (potential) influence, overseeing a large institution of students, teachers, and future leaders, can spread such a twisted version of history is amazing. Had he said, “denominational Judaism was disappearing,” sure, I wouldn’t disagree. But the blurring of denominational affiliation, the rise in independent and unaffiliated communities, does not mean “Orthodox wins!”
(It also seems like Lamm was just looking forward to having a soapbox, as he took the opportunity to talk about the Pope, interfaith relations, and homosexuality as well.