Ask Unorthodox: What Should I Call Really Religious Jews? – Tablet Magazine
What, then, about haredim? The Hebrew word is lifted from Isaiah, chapter 66: “Hear the word of the Lord, ye that tremble at his word.” The haredim, then, are those who tremble. In Israel, the word is mainly used by secular Jews to describe their more observant neighbors. It’s not always meant kindly, although the community itself seems to have adopted it, naming one of its leading news sites Behadrei Haredim, or in the rooms of the haredim.
So is that word OK?
Not really, Shafran replied. “I’m not fond of the word,” he said. “Firstly, it implies that non-haredim are less observant, which isn’t necessarily true. And secondly, while we may shuckle when we daven, we don’t generally tremble (unless the IRS is auditing us).”
What word, then? What term to use?
“Personally,” said Shafran, “I prefer ‘Orthodox.’ Let prefixes be used by others: centrist, modern, ultra-modern. We’re the original, in no need of a prefix.”
Amen to that. And to all our friends, Orthodox and unorthodox alike, Shabbat Shalom.