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What is Modern Orthodox?


Our community is blessed by a growing number of young professional couples in their 20s and 30s (some with children, some without) who form a tight-knit and welcoming group. Most of them came to San Francisco for work opportunities in tech, medicine, or finance. If you are a young couple thinking of moving to San Francisco, or just looking for different city to spend a shabbos in, feel free to email Rabbi Landau, who can put you into contact with the appropriate people.


Modern Orthodox Jews are comitted to observing the details of Jewish law, including strict adherence to the laws of the Sabbath, dietary laws (kashrus), and the laws governing formal congregational prayer. Further, Modern Orthodox Jews have a positive attitude toward many aspects of surrounding non-Jewish culture, based on the conviction that an observant Jew should confront and deal with modernity in all of its aspects Although it has roots in 19th century Europe, Modern Orthodox Judaism as practiced in America is based largely on the concept of Torah Umadda (Torah and secular knowledge), which was developed by the greatest leader of Modern Orthodoxy in America, Rabbi Yosef Dov Soloveitchik zt"l (1903-1993), known as "the Rav". He descended from a prominent rabbinical family in Eastern Europe and in 1941 became the Rosh Yeshiva at the rabbinical school of Yeshiva University in New York. The Rav articulated a paradigm which allowed for a "synthesis" between Torah scholarship and Western, secular scholarship, as well as positive involvement with the broader community; see more on Rav Soloveitchik’s philosophy. Soloveitchik himself did not use the term Torah Umadda, but some of his students including Rabbi Norman Lamm, characterize his legacy using the term.