When debating originalists, who will tell you loudly and at length how their theory is the only one that can provide any stable meaning to the constitution, I always am left wondering -- what if the text is intentionally left ambiguous? What if, for any number of reasons, the intent was leave certain things uncertain, in the hopes that future generations could work them out consonant with the ideals and best knowledge of the time?
I wonder the same thing when dealing with certain religious fundamentalists. There is ample grounds from within Jewish tradition to hold that ambiguity, uncertainty, and plurality are really important values. Yet, as Gershom Gorenberg reminds us, there are still plenty of fundamentalists in the Jewish faith who are fanatical in their assertion that Jewish tradition provides clear, unambiguous, and literal answers to all of life's questions.
The thing is that these debates are always cast in terms of more versus less religious adherents to the faith. But that concedes the argument before it gets started. The fundamentalist ethos bears more in common with other fundamentalists (of any faith) than it does with the totality of Jewish traditions. So I reject that they are more religious than I. Indeed, I think that their outlook is a deep perversion of Judaism itself. Were I inclined to such language, I might call them heretics.
More broadly, I don't like the norm that Conservative or Reconstructionist Judaism is just Judaism for Jews too lazy to be Orthodox. If we're going to hold these ideals, then we have to be prepared to defend them as the right interpretation of Judaism, not the right "balance" between being Jewish and being secular. Judaism is not inherently a series of concentric circles emanating from the Haredim at the center. Those of us in more liberal denominations have just as much right as anyone else to say that we're representing what Judaism ought to be.