Another Nail in the Coffin

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20 Responses

  1. joel rich says:

    A Judaism that accepts you what no matter what you do; one where there is no beyond the pale, only succeeds in conveys the message that Judaism is worthless.
    ——————————————————
    Careful R’JR – there are movements in orthodoxy whose kiruv approach sounds remarkably like this description.
    KT
    Joel Rich

  2. mycroft says:

    It has been since at least mid 20th century that the Conservative movement openly rejected halacha-see eg their Law Commission permitting driving to schul on Shabbos. Certainly by 1945 Rabbi Robert Gordis openly advocated changing halacha to an approach of see what people are doing. By 1946 Jewish Life -the OU publication started to publish a series of articles attacking Conservative Judaism. Those articles and others in general were written by Rabbis who today would be considered MO. The split is at least 70 years old. Once one does not see Halacha as supreme everything goes. Of course one may mkae a distinction between Conservative Judasim and most of OO. To the best of my knowledge OO in general does not say we can ignore Halacha they claim to be loyal to the halachik system. OO claims to argue its positions based on our mesorah-by 1945-1950 mainstream Conservative Judaism had stopped claiming they were following halacha. Whether or not one believes the OO claim is a different matter but their claim is in distinction to what Conservative Judaism was openly advocating.

  3. mycroft says:

    It has been since at least mid 20th century that the Conservative movement openly rejected halacha-see eg their Law Commission permitting driving to schul on Shabbos. Certainly by 1945 Rabbi Robert Gordis openly advocated changing halacha to an approach of see what people are doing. By 1946 Jewish Life -the OU publication started to publish a series of articles attacking Conservative Judaism. Those articles and others in general were written by Rabbis who today would be considered MO. The split is at least 70 years old. Once one does not see Halacha as supreme everything goes. Of course one may make a distinction between Conservative Judasim and most of OO. To the best of my knowledge OO in general does not say we can ignore Halacha they claim to be loyal to the halachik system. OO claims to argue its positions based on our mesorah-by 1945-1950 mainstream Conservative Judaism had stopped claiming they were following halacha. Whether or not one believes the OO claim is a different matter but their claim is in distinction to what Conservative Judaism was openly advocating

  4. DF says:

    For the record, as much as we all respect him, citing R. Wertheimer in regard to conservative Jews is the equivalent of citing R. Yitz Greenberg regarding orthodox ones. As JR would likely not view the latter as an authoritative voice on that subject, why should conservatives think anything different of R. Wertheimer?

    And what does this article prove – that conservative Jews evolve? As opposed to orthodox Jews, who remain static? I wouldn’t call that it a compliment if it were true, but, in fact, it’s not true. We all change and evolve. The only difference is that conservative Jewry is formally organized, and are thus capable of pronouncements and the like. Orthodox Jews are not organized, and hence all its many changes and shifts can only be perceived after the fact.

  5. Steve Brizel says:

    Mycroft- Based on the many articles on this site by R A Gordimer, I see no between CJ and what OO advocates and has practices. The notion that there is such a distinction IMO lacks the requisite proof to sustain such a conclusion.

  6. David says:

    I have found from my conversations with Conservative friends and relatives that the Conservative movement and self-identifying Conservative Jews tend to view intermarriage in the same manner that Centrist Orthodox Jews tend to view television: as something less than ideal that we would rather not do and are slightly embarrassed about but still do.
    What I find most odd is this:
    In my youth I encountered many Conservative pulpit rabbis who spoke out against intermarriage. Now, I have heard of stories of people getting intermarried and the Conservative rabbi that leads the congregation that the Jewish partner in the intermarriage goes to says “mazel tov,” apologizes that he or she can’t officiate the wedding and gladly recommends a Reform or Reconstructionst rabbi to officiate. He/she apologizes for not being able to go to the cermony, due to the rules of the RCA, but might risk coming to a reception afterwards. In most cases, the couple involved is not offended that the Conservative rabbi can’t officiate the wedding. After all it is the rules and you wouldn’t want to risk his job! But the odd thing is, why are the rules of the Conservative movement, that forbids the rabbi from officiating more important than the rules of the Torah that forbid intermarriage?

  7. dr. bill says:

    I do not find this all that surprising, but in any case disheartening. Over fifty-five years ago in its famous issue, Commentary Magazine spoke of really only two clearly identifiable branches of Judaism – orthodox and non-orthodox. If you read the responses back then of Rabbis Yitz Greenberg or the late Emanuel Rackman, it is not hard to see the seeds of what we today call open orthodoxy. With the split 30 years ago of the students of the late Saul Lieberman, from the conservative to what they labeled traditional Judaism, the slide broadened and accelerated. I believe if we take a non-theological / practice based definition of orthodoxy and non-orthodoxy the identification has become entirely clear.

  8. mycroft says:

    ” this site by R A Gordimer, I see no between CJ and what OO advocates and has practices. The notion that there is such a distinction IMO lacks the requisite proof to sustain such a conclusion”

    I am not a follower of OO-I’d rather spend my time listening to divrei Torah-but I am not aware of OO permitting driving to schul on Shabbos? Have they produced a Chumash for schul which claims that Yiziat Mizraim is a myth? I am not yet convinced that they will follow the way of CJ-on the other hand it wouldn’t totally surprise me if they did. Are OO my poskim no-but so far despite some smoke I haven’t seen the fire.

  9. mycroft says:

    ” Over fifty-five years ago in its famous issue, Commentary Magazine spoke of really only two clearly identifiable branches of Judaism – orthodox and non-orthodox. If you read the responses back then of Rabbis Yitz Greenberg or the late Emanuel Rackman, it is not hard to see the seeds of what we today call open orthodoxy”
    I assume you are referring to Milton Himmelfarb’s introduction to the almost 49 year old issue of Commentary which had in it the State of Jewish Belief. Himmelfarb to the best of my recollection stated that one could tell a submission was either Orthodox or not Orthodox-but if one compared all the Orthodox submissions whether by Rabbi Rackman, Rabbi Yacov Jacobs the editor of the Jewish Observer, or of 2 YU RYs R Aharon Lichtenstein and R Moshe Tendler-both BTW sons-in-law of maybe the 2 leading gedolim of that time period-or others. Are you sure that Rabbi Irving Greenberg participated in the symposium?
    1966 was also the time when Rabbi Lichtenstein and R Greenberg had their famous exchange in the YU student newspaper-which IMO was an open break between the yahadus of R Greenberg and Rav Lichtenstein

  10. L. Oberstein says:

    In my youth, our shul became Conervative and ,for a while ,it revitalized the congregation. However, that generation is gone and today many communities face decreased in marriage, fewer children and no need to affiliate . People joined Conservative synagogues in the suburbs for social reasons, not out of any committment to observance. You can criticize the rabbis but they were just doing what their bosses wanted and they had no real authority, they could be fired. In short, Conservative Judaism was normative in 1955 and is obsolete in 2015. I think they know it too.
    I belonged to USY and later to NCSY. You really can’t compare the goals of the two groups. USY accepts your non observance as normative. NCSY aims to make you frum.
    There is a glaring difference between Chabad and Conservative. Chabad rabbis openly believe and observe the Torah , they show ahavas yisroel and are non judgemental. Conservative rabbis often don’t believe in Torah MiSinai, Yetzias Mitzraim,etc. They keep halacha as a folkway,and thus can change it when it isn’t convenient.Open orthodoxy is a different parsha and time will tell if Rabbi Gordimer is right. I think the jury is still out, most of you don’t. OK, we’ll see in time how it developes. Just know that their rabbis are increasingly occupying pulpits formerly held by YU graduates. They aren’t a fringe like a while back. i can’t predict the future.

  11. mycroft says:

    “.Open orthodoxy is a different parsha and time will tell if Rabbi Gordimer is right. I think the jury is still out, most of you don’t. OK, we’ll see in time how it developes. Just know that their rabbis are increasingly occupying pulpits formerly held by YU graduates. They aren’t a fringe like a while back. i can’t predict the future.”

    Prof Waxman wrote the following: “This may, in part, help explain the perception of the “move to the right.” It may well be that Modern Orthodox rabbis, including those ordained at RIETS in the latter part of the twentieth century, were considerably more to the right than were their predecessors. In other words, the move to the right may have been within the RIETS semikhah (ordination) program, under the influence of a revisionist approach to the thinking of its revered head, the late Rabbi Joseph
    B. Soloveitchik (“the Rav”), rather than within Orthodoxy as a whole, but is so glaring because rabbis are much more visible than the laity.”
    If Prof Waxman is correct it would be reasonable to assume that Rabbis ordained under the influence of the current YU RY are less in tune with many people who would have been MO under RIETS musmachim in the past. Sadly IMO this turn to the “right” has had the natural impact of leaving an opening for those further to the left. All as a result of the turn to the right by RIETS RY after the passing of the Rav.

  12. L. Oberstein says:

    I know that Rabbi Adlerstein and Rabbi Gordimer have srong opinions and I am sure that almost everyone I associate with agrees that “OO is the new Conservative”. The question is what that means. If you choose to focus on theology and articles in learned journals, then I have notghing to contribute. I do not think that the four or five shuls in Baltimore that have so far hired Chovevei Rabbis care about these debates. What they want is a rabbi who is open to diversity beyond the diversity that is normative in today’s orthodox synagogues. Women’s participation in ritual is important to many of them.They may not want to put on tefillin but they certainly want the right to do so if tghey want to. At a girl’s Bat Mitzvah, what will she do? Will she lein the Torah at a women’s minyan? Will she give the drasha before the entire kehilla? Those are the issues that concern OO parents. We live in a society when females are able to aspire to be President of the United States and we are confronted with a Judaism that is rapidly being overtaken by thosw who airbrush female heads of state from news photographs. oth sides are radical changes, why are you so upset about one but complacent about the other. If anything would cause me to flip out and leave the chareidi world, it would be the success of Satmar and its allies in airbrushing out females from Judaism. It is heartbreaking that a great religion that has given the world so much chochma can regress like that. If you don’t see it, then maybe we are not looking at the same reality.

  13. Steve Brizel says:

    Mycroft wrote :

    “I am not a follower of OO-I’d rather spend my time listening to divrei Torah-but I am not aware of OO permitting driving to schul on Shabbos? Have they produced a Chumash for schul which claims that Yiziat Mizraim is a myth? I am not yet convinced that they will follow the way of CJ-on the other hand it wouldn’t totally surprise me if they did. Are OO my poskim no-but so far despite some smoke I haven’t seen the fire.”

    I would strongly suggest that you read the YCT website, and any links offered such as R Farber, the maharat training website and any website of any of the fellow travellers of OO identified by R Gordimer-There is plenty of fire that can only be classified as machish magiedehah, kefirah and apikorsus. Viewing the same as mere smoke is IMO part of the mistaken notion that MO should include such individuals and their teachings. Blaming the RIETS RY also ignores the fact that RYBS himself rejected the feminist critique of halacha in public addresses to the RCA and RIETS alumni-obviously the leaders of OO waved their collective hands and surrendured to the feminist critique and those who rejected Mesorah and viewe modernity as trumping adherence to halacha and Mesorah-which OO has been doing for years.

  14. Steve Brizel says:

    L Obserstein wrote in part:

    “I do not think that the four or five shuls in Baltimore that have so far hired Chovevei Rabbis care about these debates. What they want is a rabbi who is open to diversity beyond the diversity that is normative in today’s orthodox synagogues. Women’s participation in ritual is important to many of them.They may not want to put on tefillin but they certainly want the right to do so if tghey want to. At a girl’s Bat Mitzvah, what will she do? Will she lein the Torah at a women’s minyan? Will she give the drasha before the entire kehilla? Those are the issues that concern OO parents. We live in a society when females are able to aspire to be President of the United States and we are confronted with a Judaism that is rapidly being overtaken by thosw who airbrush female heads of state from news photographs. oth sides are radical changes, why are you so upset about one but complacent about the other. If anything would cause me to flip out and leave the chareidi world, it would be the success of Satmar and its allies in airbrushing out females from Judaism. ”

    I think that the above is a classical example of a red herring-the overwhelming majority of women in our community neither desire to ape men in their Shemiras HaMitzvos nor are bothered by the emphatic and implied role differentiation that constitutes the definition of being a Bas Yisrael and Bas Torah. Yes, airbrushing women, even if they are unattractive, out of pictures makes no sense, but raising a generation of young men and women that is at least aware of the basic Halachos of Tznius, and why that is best response and means of inspiring a life where kedusha and taharah are on the communal roadmap to a generation that views a casual hook up or doing what you want, when you want and with whoever you want provided that noone is hurt.

  15. Steve Brizel says:

    Mycroft wrote in part:

    “1966 was also the time when Rabbi Lichtenstein and R Greenberg had their famous exchange in the YU student newspaper-which IMO was an open break between the yahadus of R Greenberg and Rav Lichtenstein”

    I invite anyone who read the abovementioned exchange either in 1966 or today to simply ask themselves-who was the victor? I read the same during the YU Judaica articles in the Commentator, and IMO, RAL and his views were the victor. RYG himself admitted that his views evolved to the post MO, see R D David Berger’s review of his book in Tradition.

  16. mycroft says:

    “YCT website, and any links offered such as R Farber,” Rabbi Farber openly rejects fundamental beliefs of Yahadus thus I will not disagree with you on the inappropriateness of his being a model for Yahadus. In response to your suggestion I did check the International Rabbinic Fellowship website and their Treasurer who teaches at YCT edited for the Toras HoRav Foundation Community, Covenant and Commitment: Selected Letters and Communications of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik. The vice president of the organization Rabbi Gelman has 120 records on YU Torah .
    “There is plenty of fire that can only be classified as machish magiedehah, kefirah and apikorsus. Viewing the same as mere smoke is IMO part of the mistaken notion that MO should include such individuals and their teachings”
    There are certainly individuals associated with OO where that is true-but there are individuals associated with OO where that is not true-thus the jury is out what will happen with OO.

  17. Steve Brizel says:

    Mycroft-R Gelman was an assistant rabbi at HIR-The fact that someone is listed as having 120 downloads available at YU Torah speakes nothing as to whether one should listen to the same. I stand by my posts-OO, when viwed in its totality and message, should be viewed, characterized and described more accurately as Halachlaless Orthodoxy because wherever and whenever there is a conflict between Halacha. Mesorah and the social and cultural fads of the time, OO’s advocates jettison any fidelity to Halacha and Mesorah.

  18. mycroft says:

    “OO, when viwed in its totality and message, should be viewed, characterized and described more accurately as Halachlaless Orthodoxy because wherever and whenever there is a conflict between Halacha. Mesorah and the social and cultural fads of the time, OO’s advocates jettison any fidelity to Halacha and Mesorah”

    Orthodoxy is based on halacha- anyone from any side OO, Chareidi Orthodoxy who doesn’t recognize the requirement to follow Halacha IMO is not Orthodoxy-Yahadus does not equal feminism, liberalism, conservatism, Zionism or any other ideology. Yahadus follows its own rules. Having said that Poskim are products of their environment-everyone in good faith could believe that they are following the halachik process and come to different decisions. Differences in approach between Ashkenazic and Sefardic poskim have been extensively written about. Issues that German poskim debated 80-180 years ago were different than those of Litvish poskim.
    What must be universally accepted is the primacy of halacha, Although I personally do not accept as my religious authority most of the people who I believe are associated with what is referred to as OO-I find the institutional attacks distasteful-I don’t care what the name of the institution is YU/YCT/HTC/BMG-I would expect that the heads of such institutions be totally committed to halacha. If they don’t no matter what the institutions name they should be treated as chutz lemachane. I don’t believe it is fair to hold an institution responsible for thoughts of all their faculty-I don’t recall anyone blaming Dr Belkin for Rabbi Greenberg’s being on YU faculty. Certainly you are aware that Rabbi Greenberg had important defenders for decades at the highest level of YU-does that mean that RHS should be attacked for being part of such institution.
    Don’t accept those who refuse to accept the primacy of halacha from any institution.

  19. Steve Brizel says:

    Mycroft-How could you link YCT in the same set of Mosdos HaTorah as YU< HTC and BMG?

  20. mycroft says:

    “Mycroft-How could you link YCT in the same set of Mosdos HaTorah as YU< HTC and BMG?"

    Precisely to emphasize the first part of my sentence "I find the institutional attacks distasteful-I don’t care what the name of the institution is"
    To be opposed to institutional attacks when they only include institutions that one would tend to respect takes away from my point. Attack the publicly stated arguments where one disagrees with the point. I suspect there is more than to keep bloggers of CC busy if they limited themselves to that.

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