Great article, particularly:
Last Saturday was my father’s yahrzeit, the anniversary of his death. I spoke aloud the ancient Hebrew words of the mourners’ kaddish, as my English/Yiddish-speaking father did for his father, and his Polish/Yiddish-speaking father and forefathers before him for theirs. Declaiming it in English would have no heritage meaning for me. It is a comfort to know that I could have walked into any synagogue in the world on any Sabbath, recited the same prayer, and experienced the same sense of peoplehood as I do here.
In the 1960s, the received wisdom amongst ascendant secular humanists taught that all traditional, hierarchical institutions were intrinsically corrupt, and only an induced cultural amnesia would suffice to level the playing field. Even the Vatican was not immune to the force of the zeitgeist. But making the mass egalitarian, and literally more accessible through the use of vernacular, did not bring more people to the Church, in North America at any rate.
Reform Judaism once tried to phase out Hebrew in the interest of “active participation.” The services were “accessible” but sterile and deracinating, and now Hebrew is back in the Reform liturgy. Quod erat demonstrandum. Bring back the Latin mass.