Living between two worlds: Modern Orthodoxy is hard to define

(Photo by Tanner Mardis/Unsplash)
(Photo by Tanner Mardis/Unsplash)

This is part three of a five-part podcast miniseries by The CJN, called Won’t You Be My Rabbi? To hear all five right now, visit

If you’re not a modern Orthodox Jew, the denomination might seem difficult to define. That’s because it is. Within modern Orthodoxy are different takes, interpretations, adherences and beliefs about what’s proverbially kosher and what isn’t.

What’s consistent, however, is its implicit duality. More than any other denomination, modern Orthodoxy balances biblical traditions with contemporary life, constantly searching for new ways to understand old laws as modern society evolves.

It is precisely these challenges that inspire Rabba Rachel Kohl Finegold, the director of education and spiritual enrichment at Congregation Shaar Hashomayim in Montreal and the first woman to serve as clergy in an Orthodox synagogue.

Rabba Rachel joins comedian Laura Leibow in the third part of The CJN’s five-part podcast miniseries exploring distinctions between the different denominations. Listen above, and find the others at