In the comments Pierre said,
This is terrifying to me beyond belief. Out of BT yeshivot, I talked with people of the functional illiteracy I left these institutions with. Unbelief was the general response; weren't these the same institutions with the Kiruv Kerovim institutions, the great BT-making rabbis of 20 years ago?...here I hear about mainline institutions that cannot even adequately teach students Hebrew - only creating more producers and consumers of behaviors.Pierre was speaking about Hebrew literacy and education per se, but I'm reminded of something else:
The greatest problem in Orthodoxy is this teaching of uncritical behaviorism, creating students who can do nothing more than parrot what their rabbis says.
We aren't selling a religion based on critical thought, based on the understanding that Judaism is a "religious civilization", on par with all other civilizations. Mordechai Kaplan may have been wrong, but as Rav Kook says, every idea has some divine truth in it. If Judaism is part of world civilization, if Hashem gave us a Torah that deals with the same issues all nations do, dealing with the same societal and personal issues that all people do, then our attitude towards Torah will be totally different. Independent and courageous thought, critical thinking, analysis and investigation of the world beyond our four cubits, will suddenly be more explicable. In a more prosaic way, the idea that aggadot are not dogmas, won't be seen as so heretical, because we'll realize that Hazal were philosophers, using the same basic thought processes as all humans do, albeit with an extra Sinaitic "seed-crystal" to serve as a skeleton for their thought; but the fleshing-out process was a HUMAN one.
This, I think, is exactly what Rav Hirsch did with Mensch-Yisroel אתם קרואים אדם. Reading Rav Hirsch's "Religion Allied to Progress" and "Judaism Up-to-Date" / "The Jew and His Time", one realizes that he's dealing with a totally different conception of Judaism. It doesn't just come down to whether you can go to university; it's an entirely different conception of what it means to be Jewish. To refer to Rav Hirsch as being "Orthodox" like Haredi Judaism today, is to do an injustice to one of the two; Rav Hirsch is barely more similar to Haredism than he was to Reformism. In fact, in Nineteen Letters, Rav Hirsch criticizes the old-world religious hardliners more stringently than he criticizes Reform!
Rabbi Eliezer Berkovits too. Now, many will of course disagree with where some of his philosophies led to, in halacha. But in principle, Rabbi Berkovits's underlying motivation was as expressed by his son, Rabbi Dov Berkovits:
I think it safe to say that Eliezer Berkovits used the well-worn phrase “halachic Judaism” in two revolutionary ways. First, though springing from the fundamental commitments of Orthodoxy, halachic Judaism according to Berkovits refers to a non-denominational, or better, a post-denominational, Judaism whose ultimate concern is not with ideology, or even theology, but with the living demands of the dynamic condition of the Jewish people. Second, though deeply rooted in the wisdom of the Tora, the central aim of halachic Judaism is not to formulate a defensive, traditionalist posture for the protection of Tora from life, but rather to be a formative tool for the creative fashioning of human realities.
But what do we have instead of all this? We have a Judaism that forgoes all critical thought, all introspection on how to affect this temporal world, how to influence history and society. Instead, we focus on how to keep mitzvot in all their technical detail, divorced from all philosophy of their meaning. This is "frumkeit", and it is EXACTLY what Rav Hirsch, in Nineteen Letters, says led to Reform. Reform, says Rav Hirsch, is understandable and reasonable (still wrong, however), when we realize what the Orthodox Jews were up to - says Rav Hirsch, they (the Orthodox) turned Orthodoxy into a dessicated and mummified corpse, devoid of all life, all vitality, all meaning.