Men and women without a country. I have known many over the years. They are attracted to Charedism (formerly known as Yeshivishness) yet uncomfortable with parts of it. The same applies to Modern Orthodoxy. They like the seriousness of Charedism yet struggle with the hostility to gentiles and secular studies found in many quarters. They like the openness of Modern Orthodoxy but find it too open, ie porous with regard to many of the toxic areas of the outside world. So back and forth they go from one world to other, the whole while feeling guilty about seeming like one of those shul rovers that are often criticized for not picking a place and a rav.
But how can they pick? The issues are too core. One tries to force the fit but after a few months it becomes like an ill-fitting shoe. First come the blisters, then the limp. They criticize themselves. Why can't I just fit in? What's wrong with me?
German Orthodoxy or Yehadus Ashkenaz is an alternative for many such people. Most people don't know about it because its adherents dwindled after the Holocaust for a variety of reasons which we'll discuss. But let's first talk about German Orthodoxy, what it offers, and how it differs from other derachim. I'll say from the start (and will try not to drone on about it) that the discussion is not meant to criticize other derachim in any absolute sense. If I talk about how I prefer living in the city to the country, I'm mostly talking about myself and my preferences. It may seem like I'm criticizing country living, but I'm not really. The same goes with derachim.
This write-up will take a little time. I'll do it piece by piece and hopefully cover before too long the main topics such that those who are unfamiliar with German Orthodoxy can get a sense if there might be a fit. Some topics:
Who Are the German Jews?
What Is Torah Im Derech Eretz?
Are All German Jews Practitioners of Torah Im Derech Eretz?
What Are These German Minhagim That I Hear About?
What Happened To German Jewry?
The Complete Kehillah