I have been asked by several people for a copy of my article on Rabbi Walter Wurzburger’s thought- A Tiny but Articulate Minority TRADITION 41:2 (2008). So here it is below. Wurzburger formulated an existential and Kantian defense of Orthodoxy against historicism. In his time, congregations in Queens and Long Island, with YU rabbi were still called Orthodox. Yeshivish Jews were called Ultra-Orthodox. The term modern Orthodox (small m) was a term only for the rabbinical intellectuals who embraced modernism, by their own count – a few score at best. In the late 1970’s the term was applied to a not very clearly defined sociological group of those who have more modern congregation, graduates of day schools, and orthodox summer camps. By the 1990’s there was a serious mess of terminology.
Rabbi Wurzburger saw a need to affirm a modern philosophic Orthodoxy. He was active in interfaith work and was committed to an ethical Judiasm that aspires to answer to higher “covenantal imperatives,” greater than a formalist reading of the legal canon.
I wrote a long article but think someone out there should use my article to write for him an appropriate wikipedia article.
Here it is: A Tiny but Articulate Minority- The Thought of Rabbi Walter Wurzbuger by Alan Brill