The traditional nuclear family has been under attack for decades. The strategy to destroy its importance and value has reaped great dividends in the Western world. Today the world "family" can apply to almost any unit of people as can be imagined. Far from mom, pop and the kids, one can even find unrelated people cohabitating under a single roof describing themselves as a family. Then there's "alternative" lifestyles and even polygamists who still exist in North America.
Standing against this change has been the traditional Jewish definition of family which, despite endless social pressure, does not change. The ideal Jewish family remains what it has always been: a loving mother and father, along with their beloved children. This model remains the ideal, despite the attempts of social engineers to change that.
That doesn't mean the efforts cease. This recent article in Ynet seems to believe that change in the religious world means a necessity to change the definition of the ideal family:
With a delay customary for the religious world, slowly but surely the religious family is also turning into a new, different, and alternative family. We can show our displeasure, make a face at the synagogue, or turn a cold shoulder at school, but they are here: The new religious families, and particularly the special-different-alternative families; the debate over their legitimacy or definition has been irrelevant for a while now.
Really? According to who? Pretty much only those people in these alternative situations who crave the legitimacy the traditional nuclear family offers in Judaism. The article also betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of how Jewish law evolves:
Just like in the legal-secular world, and as opposed to common perception, social norms are not created by Jewish law, but rather, the opposite is true (or at the very least, two trends coexist simultaneously while constantly affecting each other.) The history of Jewish law is replete with developments and changes forced upon it by the world in which it exists. And just like in any other walk of life, the same will happen in the area of family life as well. Reality will change, and Jewish law will change – you should have no doubt about that.
Social norms may differ from Jewish law but Jewish law does not change to accomodate them. People may talk in shul but I don't know of a single posek who says that it's okay. People may want to have premarital sex but again, other than a professor at Bar Ilan and some horny admirers, one is hard pressed to find legal support for such a fundamental change in Jewish law. The history of Jewish law is, in fact, replete with examples of the resistance of Jews to changing morals and norms around them. As the world has intermittently slipped into barbarism, the Torah and its laws are the one thing that has remained as a bulmark against our joining the Gentile world in their tragedies and farces. Reality does not change Jewish law. Rather, for the believing Jew, the opposite happens.
Many would like to think that what is natural is also what’s right, and that it is the only way to manage proper family life (not to mention family life based on Jewish law) yet reality proves that this is not always the case. For example, those who give birth should naturally be raising their children…yet we have become accustomed to viewing adoption as an acceptable way for creating a family.
A Torah observant Jew does not think that what is natural is also what's right. He knows that what God wants, through the laws of His Torah, is what's right. End of story. Yes, reality deal us odd or tragic circumstances. No one should look down at single mothers or adoptive parents but to accept them as equivalent to the ideal Jewish family model is absurd. Let's not even mention the possibility of accepting "alternative lifestyle" families as acceptable in Jewish law.
It is catering to the common denominator instead of encouraging striving to the highest possible ideal. It is, in short, the mediocrity of Western secular liberalism vs the demand for excellence that is Torah philosophy.