It's exceedingly difficult to find jewish intellectual inspiration nowadays.
If I was in charge of a jewish association for intellectual inspiration and spirited innovation, I would probally keep orthodox out of the picture. I would focus on brilliant guys like Mayor Bloomberg/XGovernor Eliot Spitzer/Professor Noah Feldman/Shalom Auslander/and Steve Almond.
From a female's perspective, Orthodox isms and related must do's and how to's are just too growth oriented to the point of crowding out or into a corner behind a partition. Not to mention the starch n stifling & staunch stances, prone to bossing around. I dont understand many of the male oriented laws. And no matter how carefully & sincerely, I strip apart the laws that pertain to women exclusively, I havent been able to make any sense out of the nonsense. I see demeaning/ridiculous and outrageous where many pretend ? to see dignity/spirituality and benefits. Not that there is anything wrong with spiritual growth, discipline and other fine refining tools . Its just that I think I'm done growing/refining in that kind of way.
Re-reading Professor Noah Feldman's emotionally stirring essay "Orthdox Paradox" today , two teardrops actually dropped over my keyboard, when I read the part where he felt that deep connection, when reading the megillah with his kids. I have no such connection to the Megillah I havent listened to in recent years.
Everyone was so busy deliberately misconstruing his words/painting all kinds of false alterior motives and outrageous agendas and piously protecting their own pride in the name of "religion", they failed to understand and appreciate the analytical brilliance and unadulterated depth he was using to present the contradictions he was trying to reconcile.
My pick for intellectual inspiration scholar of the decade would be Professor Noah Feldman.
His analytical brilliance and innate depth coupled with his astoundingly astute understanding and creatively erudite writing style is the stuff intellectual inspiration is founded off of.