Jeffrey Goldberg thinks there is such a crisis and conducts a very interesting interview with Erica Brown on the theme. You knew people would begin asking such questions, and answering them in the affirmative, when the Syrian Orthodox Jewish community centered in Deal, New Jersey, suffered its very public humiliation last week.
My own answer is that the Jewish community suffers from a worldview crisis. There’s too little discussion of the big questions that Judaism address, the answers to which the Torah deputizes the Jewish people to serve as priests in promulgating to the world.
We’ve sold ourselves to the Enlightenment’s promise of liberation through secularism. On the liberal end of the Jewish community, the sell-out to secularism is complete and entire. On the traditional end, we are too intimated to look Judaism’s vision for us directly in the face, because that vision demands that we confront the secular world with its view of men as animals.
This is the painful irrelevance of Orthodox Judaism. It’s demoralizing in every sense of the word. I’m able to write about it with some authority because I feel the effects of that demoralization myself.