An Open Letter to my Chaveirim

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105 Responses

  1. Steve Brizel says:

    Excellent article-R Landesman posits that OO has no answer to the following question-“why be Jewish” or “why should one be a Shomer Torah Umitzvos”?

    • Shmuel Landesman says:

      I appreciate your kind words.

      Thanks for clarifying my position.

      • mycroft says:

        “R Landesman posits that OO has no answer to the following question-“why be Jewish” or “why should one be a Shomer Torah Umitzvos”?
        Reply
        Shmuel Landesman
        January 5, 2016 at 10:57 pm
        I appreciate your kind words.

        Thanks for clarifying my position.”

        Since you agree with Steve Brizel that OO can’t answer those questions-I’d be curious as to your answers to he two questions as why be Jewish and why be shomer umitzvot.

         

      • Shmuel Landesman says:

        I don’t have brief answers as to why be Jewish and why be shomer mitzvot. Unfortunately, Cross-Currents doesn’t pay any money and I have a family to support, so I can’t answer these questions now.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Answering the critical question of “why be Jewish” or “why should one be a Shomer Torah Umitzvo?” is IMO the acid or litmus test of all hashkafic trends, which must either answer the question, or wither away and become intellectually and culturally irrelevant, after their initial purpose as a supplementation to Torah , Avodah and Gmilus Chasadim has segued into rationale for their non-adherence to the above three ikarim that were stated not by a Charedi RY or an Admor, but rather  by Shimon HaTzadik.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Mycroft-Look at the Haggadah and the acceptance of the Luchos Shniyos and TSBP as understood by the Gemara in Gittin 60. One is a Jew because you live in the present to transmit the past to the future. Everthing else is commentary

  2. mycroft says:

    “A special blame was placed on the new generation of RIETS Roshei Yeshiva for the ominous trend. But, this was disingenuous, for these musmachim knew and lived the history of RIETS.”

    From a previous cross- currents post of mine responding to almost identical arguments.

    Dr Tovah Lichtenstein wrote
    “In the United States, I believe that the influence of my father, the Rov, is on the decline…And yet, there are former students, notable among them a number of faculty members or former faculty members at RIETS, who have not only turned their backs on the complex worldview the Rov espoused but are anxious to claim that the Rov him-
    self turned his back on this view. It has even been claimed that “Whatever
    he (the Rov) did aside from learning Torah came to him coincidentally.”
    It is, indeed, preposterous to think that his major philosophical essays,
    which interweave general philosophy and science, are “coincidental.” From page 15 of pdf file of article by Dr Tovah Lichtenstein
    http://traditionarchive.org/news/_pdfs/0007-00221.pdf
    Read more: http://www.cross-currents.com/archives/2015/05/20/rav-aharon-lichtenstein-
    the-haredim/#ixzz3bwiKjnPT
    The following footnote from an article by Prof Waxman might indicate why a walk around the RIETS Beis Medrash does not reflect Modern Orthodoxy or the Orthodoxy of the Rav
    “7 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 JosephB. Soloveitchik (“the Rav”), rather than within Orthodoxy as a whole, but is so glaring because rabbis are much more visible than the laity. On revisionism with respect to the Rav, see Lawrence Kaplan, “Revisionism and the Rav: The Struggle for the Soul of Modern Orthodoxy,” Judaism 48,3 (Summer 1999): 290-311

    • Shmuel Landesman says:

      Thank you for writing such lengthy comments on my piece.

      Rav Ahron Lichtenstein ZTL was my hero in life as is, may she have a long life, Dr Tova. We’re even kinda related (through the Lichtenstein side).

      The only proof brought in the Tradition article for her “Belief” is a quote from a 22 year old  Algemeiner Journal article (pre-internet) written by a rebbi who left the yeshiva over a decade ago (may he have a refuah shleimah). So, it doesn’t undermine my point.

      Prof. Chaim Isaac Waxman is my second cousin. I don’t know how to respond to a footnote quote that is a conjecture. Maybe or maybe not. I do know that his son Ari, who’s a musmach from my era, served in the Israeli army and is now a Ram at Shaalvim.

      Did you know that Prof Waxman’s father in law was the Suvalker Rov, who I mentioned in my piece? Can you seriously tell me that today’s Roshei Yeshiva are to his right?

      Thanks again for giving my piece such thought.

      • mycroft says:

        I am aware that Rav David Lifshitz ZT”L-BTW his stationary had his first name spelled David not Dovid-was the father-in-law of Prof Waxman. Prof  Waxmin was a student of R David’s before going to the Ravs shiur.

         

        “Can you seriously tell me that today’s Roshei Yeshiva are to his right?” No no are they in general to the right of Rav Mendel Zaks, Rav Yerucham Gorelick,  Rabbis Parness , or Rabbi Bronspigel- however maybe it is sloppy writing but I don’t see the attacks on various Rabbis that they are not following the viewpoints of those Rabbis it is that they are not following the viewpoint of the Rav. Dr Lichtenstein is referring in her article to her opinion that in 2012 “notable among them a number of faculty members or former faculty members at RIETS, who have not only turned their backs on the complex worldview the Rov espoused but are anxious to claim that the Rov him-self turned his back on this view.”  OR bolded added-thus current faculty members of RIETS who were students of the Rav are included in Dr Lichtenstein’s description of students who turned their backs on the Ravs worldview. I will agree that the more egregious examples of those who turned against the Rav even openly during his lifetime went to Touro Rabbis Bronspigel and Parness-but those two are obviously not the ones who caused RIETS to change and musmachim to change their approach that IMO both  are not who Dr Lichtenstein and Prof Waxman are referring to.

        I consider it relevant if Dr Lichtenstein  or Prof Waxman writes that an institution is under control of revisionists who don’t follow the Rav.

      • Shmuel Landesman says:

        OK

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Mycroft wrote in relevant part:

        “” No no are they in general to the right of Rav Mendel Zaks, Rav Yerucham Gorelick,  Rabbis Parness , or Rabbi Bronspigel- however maybe it is sloppy writing but I don’t see the attacks on various Rabbis that they are not following the viewpoints of those Rabbis it is that they are not following the viewpoint of the Rav”

        Two observations:

        1) the first sentence simply is factually incorrect. R Parness and R Bronspiegel left because of hashkafic differences with R Lamm.

        2) Invoking Dr Lichtenstein’s comments almost automatically on that issue doesn’t serve any purpose. It is Lhavdil like trying to condemn Bill Cosby without condemning Bill Clinton. Such a comment doesn’t mean that one can ignore the fact that at least two of RYBS’s grandchildren and one other close relative opted for the Charedi world.

        From the hespedim that I heard about R Moshe Twersky ZL, HaShem Yimkam Damo and the hespedim that I read in print, it is obvious that RYBS learned very intensively Bchavrusa with R Twersky ZL ( as well as his brother R Mayer Twersky Yivadleinu LChaim), and in fact learned either Zevachim or Menachos with every Rashi, Tosfos , Rambam and Shitah Mkubetzes and that R Moshe Twersky ZL, HaShem Yimkam Damo tore kriyah upon hearing of the Petirah of RYBS because R Moshe Twersky ZL viewed RYBS as his rebbe muvhak, despite his obvious absence of a PhD. I tend to doubt that RYBS insisted that any or all of his talmidim muvhakim had to hew to his views on RZ, secular studies or Kantian philosophy. Look at RAL’s comments on why he thought that the lack of a college degree should not have been an obstacle to R Akiva Eger ZL attending RIETS. Invoking such comments also ignores the fact that a talmid is not an automaton and, depending on what he is seeking in a shiur and a rebbe, has a wide range of options in seeking the proper shiur in RIETs.

      • mycroft says:

         

        “1) the first sentence simply is factually incorrect. R Parness and R Bronspiegel left because of hashkafic differences with R Lamm”

        I have no idea why they left. There are many possibilities. If hashkafic reasons with R Lamm that could be a reason for essentially all RY to leave-but most did not leave.

        I wrote that those two did not follow the hashkafa of the Rav-I did not which to be fair for those two go way back.

        “Invoking Dr Lichtenstein’s comments almost automatically on that issue doesn’t serve any purpose. It is Lhavdil like trying to condemn Bill Cosby without condemning Bill Clinton. ”

        Are you stating that a daughters viewpoints are not worthy. BTW she also was quite knowledgeable as one Rebbe of mine told me I should know what she knows.

        “Such a comment doesn’t mean that one can ignore the fact that at least two of RYBS’s grandchildren and one other close relative opted for the Charedi world.”

        There are other grandchildren much more liberal-none of the grandchildren-and an equally close relative to the close relative you  refer to – lives in the same city as the one you are referring to is probably more liberal than I am

         

         

      • Shmuel Landesman says:

        Rav Weiss ZTL was my yoreh deiah rabbi.

        You make valid points but let’s not get lost in the forest. My point that certain musmachim were disingenuous in criticizing the “right wing tilt” of RIETS staff still stands.

  3. ben dov says:

    Where is the RCA and OU?  Why have they not prclaimed OO a new, non-Orthodox denomination, as did Agudah?  Why have they not banned OO clergy from serving in shuls, day schools, camps and youth groups? Why was Avi Weiss allowed to remain in the RCA until he quit?

    How could the RCA limit their ban to women rabbis, as if that is the main issue?  As if OO is only  guilty of a mistaken policy? As Rav Aharon Feldman said, it’s like asking a naked person in the streets why he is not wearing tzitzis.  The problem with OO is not women rabbis; it is that OO has rejected Torah Judaism.

  4. Yonah says:

    When does this interest in Open Orthodoxy become an obsession?

     

    • R. B. says:

      Reading comments on this website and other places, I could also ask: “When does this interest in the Chareidi world become an obsession?” Obviously, even I would say that constant focus on the Chareidi World is not an “obsession”. Its looking at a growing “branch” of Orthodoxy, one that wields a lot of influence, especially in Israel.

      With OO, its not an obsession to focus on a new movement of Judaism that, like a boulder rolling down a hill, is constantly moving further and further to the left with its “hashkafos” not seen before in what we call Orthodoxy, such as consistent movement to egalitarianism, openness to heresy, focus on sexuality and sensuality, identification with liberal and left-wing political causes (ie. East Ramapo, support for recent Supreme Court decision on gay marriage and working with the LGBT activists), etc. If you believe that this is an obsession, than I would argue you fail to see or you don’t want to see what OO now represents and what it is doing. The truth is, this is also happening in Israel, as Dr. Bill has pointed out, and I believe that it is just as dangerous (eg. ITIM and such similar movements). However, since we are in North America, OO more directly impacts the American Orthodox scene.

    • Shmuel Landesman says:

      This is the first time I’ve written about OO.

  5. Raymond says:

    When I read the above article, my mind actually turned to politics.  I guess it now being a Presidential election year, it is even more on my mind.   I was reminded of it, because there are some Republicans who are both pro-abortion and pro-gay marriage.  To me, this makes no sense whatsoever.  It would seem to me that conservative values matter most precisely when it comes to the moral values.  What such so-called Republicans are trying to do, is have it both ways.

    Well, that is what Open Orthodoxy sounds like to me as well.  Their values are obviously not within the Torah Judaism ideological camp at all, and yet they are trying to convince everybody that they are nevertheless Orthodox.  They are trying to have it both ways.

    Apparently, they are doing this in response to our society’s changing values.  Yet it seems to me that one of the hallmarks of being a Torah Jew, is having eternal, Divine values that transcend the particular place and time in which one has been born and raised.   The very first Jew, Abraham, was specially called a Hebrew, because the whole world stood on one side of the moral fence, while he stood alone on the other side.  But those who identify with Open Orthodoxy, seem to want to immerse themselves completely into gentile culture, while dragging Torah Jews along with them.  No thanks.

  6. Chava Rubin says:

    Very  well  written  article .  It is a crucial point that he makes that many Jews, in particular  from out of  town  communities are truly confused as to what Orthodox standards really are because of the fact that  OO institutions  call themselves Orthodox.

    I have read several websites from OO synagogues in various communities around the US and outside of the US and was quite dismayed  to see that the websites simply describe  the shuls as Modern Orthodox WITHOUT mentioning the word OO on any place in their website. The only way I knew their affiliation was bec I had seen on the YCT website  that their rabbi was ordained by them or bec the bio of the rabbi mentioned in passing that  he  received  his ordination from YCT. AND  many of these shuls proudly state on their websites  that they are members of the OU.

    Isn’t  this something that we should protest?

    Why should innocent, well meaning out of town Jews get lured into OO shuls by joining a shul which they believe is a mainstream  MO shul??

    • Raymond says:

      I totally agree with you.  In fact, this happened to me, although admittedly on a much smaller scale.  I bought a particular parsha book with the seeming-assurance that it was kosher since, after all, its Rabbi-author is described as being Orthodox.  I remember when reading it, how light its contents felt, but figured that well, maybe he is appealing to a certain audience who may know nothing about Torah Judaism and so he has to proceed slowly and cautiously with them.  I finally stopped reading it about halfway, only because I felt that I was not really learning anything about the Torah portions, which was the whole point of wanting to read that book in the first place.  Only later did I happen to find out that that particular Rabbi-author, is part of the Open Orthodox movement.  And now I don’t know what to do with that book.

      • Yehoshua Friedman says:

        What should you do with the book? How about give it to a Christian friend. It wouldn’t do any harm. It could only help. See the Rambam’s teshuva on the prohibition of teaching Torah to a non-Jew.

    • Shmuel Landesman says:

      Thank you Chava for your kind words.

      You make a good point.

    • Shmuel Landesman says:

      Thanks for the compliment.

      You are making excellent points.

  7. Bob Miller says:

    OO can only expand in proportion to the Jewish public’s degree of ignorance about Torah MiSinai.  Job one is to address and root out the ignorance.

  8. Oren Adler says:

    I am saddened by your closed mindedness.  I am offended by your ego.  I am enraged by your narcissism.

    Who are you proclaim and define the Gedolim of our generation?  I have met R’ Sperber, R Weiss Halivni, R Helfgot, R Blanchard and many others.  I am a bur & ahm ha’aretz, but many have stated that R Weiss Halivni is an iluy.  R David Silber is not slouch in Torah knowledge.

    Your view reject the learnings and teaching of woman like Nechama Leibowitz.  I enjoy listening to the dvar Torah from Adina Berkowitz.

    While Open Orthodoxy or any woman at the pulpit might be strange to you, many have proven and written the halachik context upon which it is permitted.

    You are entitled to your opinion and to engage in civil discourse.  But you do not have the right or throne with which to reject Jews who differ from you.

    In addition, you write,  “Yiddishkeit is a way of life, a way of living and a way of learning. We have a Mesorah (Tradition) as to how Yiddishkeit is transmitted.” Does that mean you reject Smart Boards, Spreadsheets, Power Point, Web sites, online learning, etc?  Does that mean we must beat our kids like they used to? Does that mean we must have one book on a table with 15 kids sitting around it, and everyone learns to read from their angle (this is how my grandfather learned in Poland)?  Do you really reject all new pedagogical theories on teaching and transmitting information to the next generation?

     

    • Shmuel Landesman says:

      I am saddened by your closed mindedness.  I am offended by your ego.  I am enraged by your narcissism.

      Thanks for giving me a chance to improve my midos by not responding to this line.

      Who are you proclaim and define the Gedolim of our generation?  I have met R’ Sperber, R Weiss Halivni, R Helfgot, R Blanchard and many others.  I am a bur & ahm ha’aretz, but many have stated that R Weiss Halivni is an iluy.  R David Silber is not slouch in Torah knowledge.

      Actually, I don’t proclaim and define the gedolim of our generation.
      I am glad you met all these Rabbis. I agree with you that Rabbi Weiss Halivni is an ilui. I don’t know anything about R David Silber (presumably from Drishah) but I accept your point that he is no slouch in Torah knowledge.

      Your view reject the learnings and teaching of woman like Nechama Leibowitz.
       
      No I don’t. I’ve been using her sefarim for years. 
       
      I enjoy listening to the dvar Torah from Adina Berkowitz.
       
      Wonderful. Who is she?

      While Open Orthodoxy or any woman at the pulpit might be strange to you, many have proven and written the halachik context upon which it is permitted. You are entitled to your opinion and to engage in civil discourse.  But you do not have the right or throne with which to reject Jews who differ from you.

      I love all Jews and do not reject those who differ from me.

      In addition, you write,  “Yiddishkeit is a way of life, a way of living and a way of learning. We have a Mesorah (Tradition) as to how Yiddishkeit is transmitted.” Does that mean you reject Smart Boards, Spreadsheets, Power Point, Web sites, online learning, etc?
       
      Of course not. We’re communicating right now via a web site.
       
      Does that mean we must beat our kids like they used to?
       
      Chas V’shalom. I have never once hit any of my students (or my children).
       
      Does that mean we must have one book on a table with 15 kids sitting around it, and everyone learns to read from their angle (this is how my grandfather learned in Poland)?
       
      No
       
      Do you really reject all new pedagogical theories on teaching and transmitting information to the next generation?

      ​No​

      • Michael S. says:

        I’m new to this blog.  I don’t know Rabbi Landesman or Mr. Adler.  As an impartial reader, who doesn’t know anything about the OO, other than what I read today, I couldn’t help but notice the anger and hostility and venom Mr. Adler shot forth at Rabbi Landesman.

        Having just read the Rabbi’s blog, and being a careful student of position statements, I couldn’t find any evidence of the Rabbi’s alleged narcissism, or ego, or closed mindedness.  A fair reading of his blog is that he believes OO is going down the same path as has been tried, with harmful results, by other predecessor movements, including, most recently, the Conservative movement.

        Nothing in that position statement refers to or even suggests Rabbi Landesman has an inapropriate love of self, or an ego which is offensive, or somehow implicated by the blog.  Perhaps Rabbi Landesman does have these terrible character traits, but it is not in evidence in his blog.

        Which leads to the question of why a Torah-loving Jew like Mr. Adler would feel publicly making such comments about the Rabbi.  Wouldn’t these comments constitute Loshon Hora ?   Would R’ Sperber, R Weiss Halivni, R Helfgot, R Blanchard  approve of such comments ?  Would Nechama Liebowitz ?  Is publicly insulting and degrading another Jew, even if he has such traits, accepted within the OO ?

        I think that Mr. Adler probably didn’t mean these comments, and, judging him favorably, I believe that he was just hurt on behalf of the Rebbeim that he cares for in the OO, and perhaps a bit defensive about what he perceives as an attack on the OO, and in light of that, I’m going to disavow his statements on his behalf and deny that he meant them.

        What he really meant is, “I love the OO, and I disagree with you, and with your position.  Respectfully, Mr. Adler.  P.S. No disrespect intended, because we at the OO love all Jews and follow halacha and don’t openly practice loshon Hora.

        And, Mr. Adler, thank you for allowing me to clarify what you really meant, since I am sure your response was provoked by your love for your fellow Jew, and that you know your affiliation with the OO doesn’t require you to degrade yourself or others or to inflict hurt .

         

      • Shmuel Landesman says:

        I love your re-formulation. Thanks.

      • mycroft says:

        Adena Berkowitz, , received her masters and doctorate from the Jewish Theological Seminary and law degree from Yeshiva University’s Cardozo School of Law. She and her husband  Zev Brenner live in New York. .

        Zev Brenner has been the owner and principal host of Talkline Communications Network. They deal in Jewish programming- very high percentage of marketed to the Chareidi market.

    • YbhM says:

      In addition, you write,  “Yiddishkeit is a way of life, a way of living and a way of learning. We have a Mesorah (Tradition) as to how Yiddishkeit is transmitted.” Does that mean you reject Smart Boards, Spreadsheets, Power Point, Web sites, online learning, etc?  Does that mean we must beat our kids like they used to? Does that mean we must have one book on a table with 15 kids sitting around it, and everyone learns to read from their angle (this is how my grandfather learned in Poland)?  Do you really reject all new pedagogical theories on teaching and transmitting information to the next generation?

      I find this statement fascinating, and I think it really shows what OO is about – though as someone who is thoroughly non-OO the statement strikes me as a total non-sequitur.

      Perhaps you can explain why it is that Jews who believe and follow the Torah and are willing to adapt new technology and pedagogic methods should in your view simply accept contemporary perspectives on feminism, gay rights and the like.  The former are simply tools (about which the Torah, halacha, and mesora have little to say), the latter are fundamental perspectives on why we are here and what we are supposed to be doing.

      By the way, Powerpoint is old school and I use web-based presentations as much as I can.

  9. Joshua says:

    I’m curious as to the veracity of your premises that
    “Yiddishkeit is a way of life, a way of living and a way of learning. We have a Mesorah (Tradition) as to how Yiddishkeit is transmitted. There is a system, a methodology. Today, in the 21st century, we are still living and learning Torah through this Mesorah or Tradition. Historically, there have been groups of Jews who have broken off and started new movements that rejected this Mesorah. But, the Sabbateans, Karaites and Sadducees all disappeared. Only we Pharisees, Rabbinic Jews, Mesorah Jews, have continued on.”
      There appears to be a large number of historical inaccuracies in this passage which would undermine the premise that Judaism has historically stayed in a stagnant path and thus the current deviance, OO, is invalid.
    Firstly, I don’t think you can find a single passage in the whole corpus of Chazal in which they identify themselves as the continuation of the Pharisees. The “traditions of the Fathers” which Josephus talks about need not (and likely doesn’t) correspond to what we would call “Torah SheBeal Peh”  See Martin Jaffee’s work on this.
    Secondly, Karaites are still around.  There is a sizable community in Jerusalem and elsewhere. Moreover, the anti-Karaite polemics we find in literature did not correspond with the actual behavior of the “rabbinite” Jews as research into the Cairo Genizah has shown.  There were business contracts and even ketubot showing weddings between the two groups.
    Thirdly, and most importantly, you have thrown away the best part of our Mesorah, our heritage of heterophony which allows for a dynamic discourse of theology and avodat Hashem. Your notion that Judaism has remained the same for thousands of years is a fallacy. It is a fallacy which allows for modern day dismissive polemics, but it is a fallacy nonetheless.
    I’m not calling for a broad open tent, or even a tent which allows heretical views, but to keep the tent as small as you seem to want, and to use the past erroneously to do so appears to me to be disingenuous.

    • Shmuel Landesman says:

      2. I’m curious as to the veracity of your premises that “Yiddishkeit is a way of life, a way of living and a way of learning. We have a Mesorah (Tradition) as to how Yiddishkeit is transmitted. There is a system, a methodology. Today, in the 21st century, we are still living and learning Torah through this Mesorah or Tradition. Historically, there have been groups of Jews who have broken off and started new movements that rejected this Mesorah. But, the Sabbateans, Karaites and Sadducees all disappeared. Only we Pharisees, Rabbinic Jews, Mesorah Jews, have continued on.”  There appears to be a large number of historical inaccuracies in this passage which would undermine the premise that Judaism has historically stayed in a stagnant path and thus the current deviance, OO, is invalid.
       
      My premise is NOT that Judaism has historically stayed in a stagnant path. I regret writing in a way that caused you to misunderstood my piece.

      Firstly, I don’t think you can find a single passage in the whole corpus of Chazal in which they identify themselves as the continuation of the Pharisees. The “traditions of the Fathers” which Josephus talks about need not (and likely doesn’t) correspond to what we would call “Torah SheBeal Peh”  See Martin Jaffee’s work on this.
       
      Correct. Chazal do not use historical terms.
       
      Secondly, Karaites are still around.  There is a sizable community in Jerusalem and elsewhere. Moreover, the anti-Karaite polemics we find in literature did not correspond with the actual behavior of the “rabbinite” Jews as research into the Cairo Genizah has shown.  There were business contracts and even ketubot showing weddings between the two groups.
       
      My only awareness of the current Kaarites is reading every spring, in Israeli newspapers, coverage of their korban Pesach ceremony . I’ve never met any Kaarites. Have you? Have any of our readers?

      I am 100% in favor of having business contracts and even marrying the Open Orthodox chevrah.

      Thirdly, and most importantly, you have thrown away the best part of our Mesorah, our heritage of heterophony which allows for a dynamic discourse of theology and avodat Hashem. Your notion that Judaism has remained the same for thousands of years is a fallacy. It is a fallacy which allows for modern day dismissive polemics, but it is a fallacy nonetheless.

      I am a big fan of allowing for dynamic discourses. Of course, there is an elasticity to the Mesorah. I do not engage in dismissive polemics.

      I’m not calling for a broad open tent, or even a tent which allows heretical views, but to keep the tent as small as you seem to want, and to use the past erroneously to do so appears to me to be disingenuous.

      ​I’m not aware of my erroneously using the past.​

  10. David Held says:

    I agree with every word.  Only problem is – the people who are being misled either don’t read this or they won’t find it persuasive.  The problem with the response to the Open Orthodox movement is that they have much better PR.

    People are rarely persuaded by logical arguments and usually persuaded by emotion and rhetoric.  For example, Lila Kagedan’s article in CJN (http://www.cjnews.com/living-jewish/jewish-learning/why-orthodox-judaism-needs-female-rabbis) is logical claptrap, to be sure, but to her audience the rhetoric will persuade as she repeatedly invokes her love of tradition as justification for her ordination.  What Jew can argue with love of tradition? thinks her audience.  It doesn’t persuade anyone on this blog, but it’s very persuasive for her audience and articles on Cross Currents don’t address this critical point.

    We need an emotionally engaging response to the OO rhetoric and, from this side, none has yet emerged.  They’re trying to stake the high ground of “tradition” with their audience.  Another example – look at http://www.jofa.org/blogcasts cited by R’ Gordimer on this blog on Jan. 5.  This is JOFA’s blogcast regarding women’s tefilla groups.  R’ Chaim Marder, on YCT’s faculty, introduces himself in association with his “revered teacher, Rabbi Aharon Lichtenstein” and as a musmach of RIETS.  R’ Nathaniel Helfgott introduces himself as a musmach of RIETS.

    So long as RIETS can be cited by authorities in the OO circles, the battle is already lost because the OO crowd can successfully invoke tradition and the imprimatur of YU.  They’re fighting RIETS using RIETS’ own weapons.

    Stop trying to persuade those who are already persuaded.  Start trying to persuade everyone else.

    • Shmuel Landesman says:

      I’m glad you agree with what I wrote.

      You are correct that people are not persuaded by logical arguments but by emotional arguments. I just read Lila’s article that you cited. It’s very emotionally appealing.

      I might do a follow up piece bearing this in mind.

      I know R Marder and R Helfgott back from the good old days in RIETS. They should make clear that their opinions are their own and not reflective of RIETS. Notice that they’re employed by YCT and NOT by YU.

      • David Held says:

        Yeah, but no one outside of this blog sees the difference.  It’s all over when someone can cite his alma mater without consequence.  If YCT is no longer orthodox, why can YU graduates teach there and retain semicha.  I know it is harsh but they’re looking to usurp modern orthodoxy.

        Thanks for your response.

      • Shmuel Landesman says:

         {It’s all over when someone can cite his alma mater without consequence.  If YCT is no longer orthodox, why can YU graduates teach there and retain semicha.  I know it is harsh but they’re looking to usurp modern orthodoxy.}

         

        I do not know of anyone whose semicha was revoked by YU. I can speculate why they have not (to avoid lawsuits, it’s part of a university, etc…) but, do not know the actual reason.

        In my opinion, even more deserving of this is R Steven Greenberg who has “Come out” and promotes the homosexual lifestyle ideal which he now publicly embraces.

        As an aside, I remember in the 1980’s when YU was celebrating its 100th anniversary, they were looking to find the oldest living student of the yeshiva to honor at a ceremony. So much for that idea. Turned out the oldest living student was R Mordechai Kaplan, founder of the Reconstructionist movement. And he lived really long – till 104. The month after he died, YU honored the new oldest living student at a ceremony. (Kaplan was ordained at JTS, but had attended the yeshiva as a teenager. Did you know his father was a dayan on the Beis Din of RJJ, the Chief Rabbi of New York.)

      • mycroft says:

        Etz Chaim Yeshiva was founded in 1886-the earliest possible antecedent to YU-Mordechai Kaplan lived to 102 died 1983-thus he died before any possible 100th anniversary of YU. Note MTA just observed its 100th anniversary and we still have awhile before YCs 100th anniversary

      • Shmuel Landesman says:

        Mycroft:

        You are correct. Wikipedia lists Mordechai Kaplan as having died Nov, 1983.

        I was in MTA in the early ’80’s and YU was already celebrating the upcoming centennial.

      • dov says:

        Can I ask the logical question R’ Landesman. Why are these people given semicha by YU. I Know this type of question might have been asked before , but I would love to hear the reply. Shouldn’t semicha be something more than a degree, Shouldn’t it be something saying we advocate for who this person is?

        Why in the 80’s didnt the Rav revoke smicha of these people that you are clearly saying are not representative of what your Rebbe stood for?

        I ask this completely with respect someone that has smicha , respects RWMO, but I’m not from YU.

      • Shmuel Landesman says:

        I cannot answer that question since, while I love RIETS, I do not work for it, nor do I have any input on its policies.

        Unfortunately, the Rav was not my Rebbe. By the time I came to YU he had retired due to illness. I am a talmid of his talmidim.

    • Steve Brizel says:

      Let any YCT faculty member who claims to be a talmid of RAL provide proof that RAL viewed the eradication of all gender related halachos and minhagim, especially Minhagei Beis HaKnesses, as advocated by radical egalitarian feminists as a desirable goal. The burden of proof is on those who would make such an assertion.

  11. Jon Baker says:

    Why does R’ Landesman call our gedolei haposkim “Karaites”?  Because that’s who the Chachmei haMesorah were.  Not the carriers of the authoritative Oral Law, but those who rejected it, obsessing on the Torah’s text and editing into the text we use today.  The Masoretes were the Chachmei HaMesorah, and most of them, including (according to R Saadia Gaon) the Ben Asher family, were Karaites.

     

    • Shmuel Landesman says:

      ​Thanks for your clever comment Jon. Touche’.

      Nevertheless, while you might quibble with the term, I’m glad you don’t quibble with my points.

  12. lacosta says:

    what does it say about the current state of affairs , that a haredi website has become the prime locus for RIETS rabbis to condemn the OO  movement?

    — on the one hand ,  having haredi rabbis harp on the topic is just outsiders trying to preach to the choir , so it’s the only tochacha that can conceivably be nogeah

    [what aguda rabbis have to say doesn’t hold water with MO laity ]…..   on the other hand,  there seems to be no MO forum where OO can be attacked—certainly not on an OU website…..  but in the end,  puk chazi?  how will this takkeh  play out in Massapequa’s and Binghamton’s ?  not very well , i fear…. the word is  the first maharat who will assume the title Rabbi in her job has been recently hired, and let’s see where and how this will be reacted to….

    • Michael B. says:

      I thought both Rabbi Gordimer and Rabbi Adlerstein were members of the RCA. Perhaps the distinction between MO and charedi is more blurry than some would like. Or to say the same question differently, “what does it say that a haredi website is one of the best-read for serious MO readers?” I don’t think the OU has anything like this…

    • Shmuel Landesman says:

      I didn’t know Cross-Curents was a haredi website.

       

      • lacosta says:

        rabbis adlerstein and menkin have impeccable haredi cred . they allow columns that are either by haredi authors or conform to mainstream haredi hashkafa.  other than a few very selected comments [that must be tightly self-muzzled to be approved ] and a small fraction of the readership, what is NOT haredi about the website?   if there was an aguda.org  , this would be moved there….

        [YA – Maybe R Menken. Me? Not so sure. See this.]

  13. mycroft says:

    “Rabbi Dr. Norman Lamm, President Emeritus of Yeshiva University, would proudly tell us how during his long tenure as head of Yeshiva, not one student switched from RIETS to the Conservative movement’s Jewish Theological Seminary.”

    Assuming a true statement-one can’t forget that the draft ended in the US a couple of years before R Lamm became President thus no incentive for people who weren’t truly interested in entering RIETS for the 4-D.

    Also the decrease in number of Conservative synagogues meant that there were fewer jobs available for Conservative Rabbis.

    “(In the 1950s, a plurality of JTS students were Yeshiva College graduates.) Rabbi Lamm explained that this was due to the Conservative movement’s drastic turn away from Halacha and the strength of an Americanized Orthodoxy”

    The Conservative movement had turned away openly from Halacha  by 1950 when they permitted driving on Shabbos to synagogue. There was from 1945 or so to the 1960s major polemics written typically by YU  musmachim against Conservative Judaism.

    BTW there are fewer Orthodox synagogue jobs available for Rabbis now then there were in the 40s and 50s. Victor Geller I believe in his book of about a decade ago or so traces the decline in number of synagogues by decade.

    • Steve Brizel says:

      All true-but the salaries in CJ affiliated syngagogues were much higher than the average O shul-MO or otherwise until quite recently.

      • mycroft says:

        Agreed-but also nature of sociasl implications of CJ changed-they openly  rejected   halacha for at least 70 years-but it has been since roughly the time of Dr Lamms YU presidency that CJ has changed social aspects eg women Rabbis, egalitarian services etc to make a clearer break with  what most people perceive as Orthodox and closer to Reform-thus the typical RIETS grad was not necessary or desired by C synagogues.

  14. mycroft says:

    I do not know any RIETS musmachim who call Rabbi Avi Weiss when facing life or death shaylos. We all know whom we call – the Chachmei Hamesorah.”

    How many RIETS musmachim  call/called Mr. Joel, or Rabbis Lamm or Belkin and Dr. Belkin was a leading RY before becoming President.

    BTW you’d be surprised that it was not necessarily the best talmud students became mechanchim-look at list from 1940-1980 of winners of talmud prize on YC graduation and who had the lead speech at the Chag Hasmicha they were not necessarily those who became RY.

    Another trivia which I’ve written about before RHS and RAW  in the late 60s used to alternate giving shiurim between kiddush and lunch on Shabbos morning Rav Schachter on hilchos Shabbos-BTW counter to his modesty he was extremely clear and worth listening to back then an R A Weiss on parshat hashavua. I attended both regularly. I assume that RAW was not ignorant if they had him alternating with Rav Schachter.

    • Shmuel Landesman says:

      President Richard Joel is very clear that he is not a Rabbi and, therefore, would not pasken shaylos.

      Musmachim did ask shaylos to Rabbis Lamm and Belkin.

      I never called RAW ignorant.

       

  15. mycroft says:

    “In the 1940s, unlike today, RIETS had not produced musmachim who were qualified to be the Roshei Yeshiva.”

    Who told you so? How do you know who would have been qualified to be a RY. Did it ever occur to you that perhaps back then there were those who the Rav for example felt it would be most suited by their personality, skills etc to become a RY-but wanted to go to the Rabbinate-back then people believed they were fighting practical battles in the field to further yahadus. Also one can’t forget that was during the time period when in the more chareidi world-the fight between RAK on one side and RESilver and RYK as to supremacy of leadership between Rabbonim and Roshei Yeshiva was not yet fought.-see RARothkopf’s biography of R E  Silver for a good description of the battle.

    BTW-there were grads of that time who became RY whodid not even win the Talmud prize or top smicha for chag hasmicha. The idea that top students all became RY is not true.

    • Shmuel Landesman says:

      I made my statement based on the fact that Dr Belkin, President of Yeshiva, did not hire any of his graduates in the 1940’s to be his Roshei Yeshiva, while in the 1970’s he did.

      • mycroft says:

        You made a leap of faith assuming that those who were YC grads and thus fluent in English did not want to get out in the real world and try and save Yahadus. To make the assumption that you did that all who had the ability/knowledge to become a RY would become one is simply not true then or in later periods.

    • Charlie Hall says:

      I could be wrong, but weren’t both Rabbi Melech Schachter z’tz’l and Rabbi Moshe Tendler at YU in the 1940s?

      • dr. bill says:

        Charlie Hall, and many more from the fifties.  another 30’s/40’s graduate was Rabbi Weiss ztl who was just recently niftar.  what is absent from the article is any recognition of the supply and demand vacuum created by the Holocaust that distorted the availability of positions for almost two decades.

      • dr. bill says:

        Charlie Hall, there were many more from the fifties.  another 30’s/40’s graduate was Rabbi Weiss ztl who was just recently niftar.  what is absent from the article is any recognition of the supply and demand vacuum created by the Holocaust that distorted the availability of positions as a RY for almost two decades.

      • Shmuel Landesman says:

        Correct.

        They were too young to be the RY some 70 plus years ago. When they got older they became RY

    • dr. bill says:

      mycroft, you are completely correct in pointing out an anachronistic retrojection of current thinking to a past time.  As a past Talmud prize winner, I can verify that being a RY was not viewed as it is today.  The RY, as opposed to the Rov, as a posek, has a complex history.  150 years ago, rav yitzchok elchanon, rav shaul natanson, rav shlomo kluger, Rav dovid karliner – friedman, Rav YM epstein, etc. served primarily as a Rav in a major city.  Germany in the late 19th/early 20th century had a unique history with many RY serving as poskim.  In the US, the early poskim were all rabbis of communities.

  16. Bob Miller says:

    I realize we all have work to do to keep other Jews from being misled.   But OO targets its message largely to Jews identifying as Orthodox.  Why do such Jews ever fall for the bogus OO pitch?   Because their religious education lacked depth?   Because their genuinely Orthodox contacts, if any, didn’t inspire them or address their questions?

    • dr. bill says:

      Because orthodoxy will not confront some elephants in the room including the chumrah of the month club, invented traditions, increasing knowledge about the bible, talmud, halakha and jewish history from observant jewish scholars, intolerance for diversity, distortion of the rav ztl’s legacy, etc.  I could keep writing for an hour.

      • YbhM says:

        dr. bill you obviously have some issues with some aspects of the Orthodox community.  As I noted before some of these issues  are specific to the greater NYC area.

        But I would hope that someone who feels that way could still perceive the shallowness and bogusness in eg. the Maharat’s dvar torah quoted in Rabbi Gordimer’s article.

      • Shmuel Landesman says:

        I’m confused by your comments:

        What Chumrah of the month club is there in modern orthodoxy?

        What invented traditions are there in MO?

        What intolerance for diversity in there in MO?

        What distortion of the Rav’s legacy is there in MO?

      • dr. bill says:

        Rabbi Landesman,  As you correctly imply, the MO I respect exhibits none of the four symptoms you list above.  However, these things are in (RW) orthodoxy and not roundly condemned by the RCA like they do to the OO.  The hypocrisy is palpable. Is the creation of a large wretched underclass of second-rate full-time impoverished learners not a larger problem for Jewry and the state of Israel than Rabbi Hefter?  At least the late Rabbi Hartman explicitly stated where he broke from the Rav; Rabbi Meiselman does not behave similarly.  Does anyone argue that whatever distortions you might accuse R. Riskin of, pale in insignificance compared to what R. Meiselman espouses.  I could go on for hours illustrating the tolerance shown to those to the right and not to those on the left.

        YbhM, I can point you to divrei Torah (so to speak) every friday on Matzav, that make the maharat into a veritable fount of wisdom.  you are correct, however, that out of town communities exhibit more tolerance of diversity, for a interesting set of reasons.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Dr. Bill-I reject your equation of RD Hartman who by his own writings , rejected not just RYBS’s teachings, but the binding nature of Halacha, with either RMoshe Twersky ZL, HaShem Yimkam Damo, and Yivadleinu Lchaim R Meiselman and R Shurkin for the simple reason that ToMO does not produce “a large wretched underclass of second-rate full-time impoverished learners”. You should take a tour of Lakewood and BMG, look at the housing available to young couples , admire the fact that Talmud Torah as a cradle to grave mitzvah is such an integral part of the communal fabric, ask yourself why full time learning continues to be looked at askance within the MO world and ask yourself why so many buildings are named after families who previously were associated as Baalei Tzedaka in the MO world. 

      • Dov says:

        I think the protectors of MO should be very careful not to compare breaks in Orthodoxy with breaks in MO. While Toras Moshe students certainly might be a problem for MO, I dont see them being a problem for Orthodoxy.

        RCA Rabbis are trying to protect Orthodoxy , not MO. I think it would be wise to realize that you are standing on ceremony to protect the words of the Rav, while most of these colommists are trying to protect the words of Hashem.

      • mycroft says:

        For a good discussion of Revisionism and the Rav see Lawrence Kaplan, “Revisionism and the Rav: The Struggle for the Soul of Modern Orthodoxy,” Judaism 48,3 (Summer 1999): 290-311

        available for free

        http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Revisionism+and+the+Rav%3a+The+Struggle+for+the+Soul+of+Modern…-a064507449

      • dr. bill says:

        Steve Brizel, you are correct, if “compared” means “equated.”  It doesn’t and you are not.

        Dov, the RCA rabbis that are leading the attack on YCT have not shown outrage with outlandish statements made on the right.  If you need help finding any, I can help.

      • Shmuel Landesman says:

        While your points are valid, none of them are the reasons for the OO break off from MO.

      • lacosta says:

        kvod harav,

        i think you phrased this wrong. OO  isn’t trying to break off from MO— it’s the reverse , MO is trying to break off in the sense of ‘treyfing up’ OO. what i think you meant to say is that the OO changes are not valid or legitimate, and therefore they had no right to make them …

  17. Shmuel W says:

    Yasher Koach R’ Landesman for this article. I posted it on my FB wall, and I am jealous of you that you got to meet such luminaries. Ashrei ayin ro’osah kol eyleh.

    • Shmuel Landesman says:

      Thanks, I’m honored.

      Please don’t be jealous of me. Everyone from my time period had the same opportunity.

      Unfortunately, I never met Rav Mendel Zaks, who died in 1974. However, I was close to his talmid muvhak and successor as Bochein – Rav Paretzky.

      I was zoche to meet Rav Gorelick, but didn’t know him since he died when I was only in 11th grade.

      I was zoche to have a kesher with Rav Dovid Lifschutz. He was holy. I lack the words to explain it.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        For many talmidim who thought of learning in RYBS’s shiur, RYBs was terrifying. R Dovid ZL had a major influence on many of his talmidim.

      • dr. bill says:

        Not after 1967.  As his son observed, in the late 60’s, the Rav once called a rather poor idea, “interesting.”  It took a great deal to bring out the Rav’s “terror.”  Three times in three years, 1967-1970, by my count.

  18. dr. bill says:

    When you write  “Can you seriously tell me that today’s Roshei Yeshiva are to his right?”, I wonder how that might matter.  I do not doubt that today’s RY are no more right-wing than many of 50 years ago.  However, 50+ years ago, in the language of Pirkei Avot, the Rav ztl outweighed all of the rest combined in the esteem with which he was held and in his influence.  He, and he alone, created the weltanschauung of YU.  Today, that has changed. Perhaps, the dissension between some of the jewish academic scholars and (even between) the RY is a good thing; students can evaluate their areas of respective competence. However, it was much easier with one voice largely in control.  In the one case I remember forty some years ago when the Rav tilted right and opposed separating RIETS from the university, he eventually backed down.

    • Shmuel Landesman says:

      Unfortunately, I never had the privilege of learning by the Rav. He had already retired due to illness when I came to YU. I know how nostalgic older chaveirim are for the halcyon days of the Rav. But as a friend of mine my age who also missed the Rav’ shiur and is now a YU RY wonders if there’s been a revisionism about the Rav’s influence. True, the ultimate goal for most guys was to get into the Rav’s shiur, but there were plenty of talmidim who got semicha who were never in the Rav’s shiur, and even those who were, they spent the majority of their years learning by other rebbeim.

      That’s worth considering in comparing the RIETS faculties.

    • Steve Brizel says:

      Actually RYBS gave an impassioned address at the time and opposed separating RIETS from YU. It was a clear disagreement between RYBS and R Belkin ZL,  but one in which R Belkin ZL prevailed.

      • dr. bill says:

        I was there when the Rav ztl spoke.  It is broadly known how and why the Rav ztl acquiesced to the separation.  When the history is written, I assume it will be accurately depicted.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        For those interested , see R H Billet’s description of the issues surrounding the changes in the YU catalogues in 1970 in Mentor of Generations at Pages 148-149 and RYBS’s speech .That hardly strikes me as an acquiescence.

      • mycroft says:

        I was at the speech and it was a fiery opposition to the changes.

        It is clear that YU did not follow the Rav in this matter.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        R Charlop’s vivid recollection of RYBS’s speech re the changes in the catalogue can also be found in Mentor of Generations.

  19. Steve Brizel says:

    http://www.thejewishweek.com/news/new-york/jewish-newsroom

    Talmud Torah is a huge part and parcel in the transmission of Torah from and between generations as a means of drawing ourselves to Har Sinai and Maamad Har Sinai. Events such as depicted in the linked article demonstrate the importance of Talmud Torah not just to the participants, but their families who are inspired by the sight of their fathers and grandfathers spending their spare time over a Gemara, because that shows what are their priorities and goals in life. It is easy to talk the talk about Talmud Torah, but unless and until MO emphasizes that  the role of transmission of Torah between the generations, as opposed to something that competes with secular studies and cultures,  MO will always be dependent on the prescription of a gap year or more in Israel at a yeshiva or seminary to inculcate the value of Talmud Torah as an important factor in one’s life and spare time, as opposed to being merely one of many options that are available in one’s adulthood once one has finished his “formal” years of yeshiva education. Kollel Yom Rishon is a wonderful program, but I am sure that there are many who would be attracted to a RIETS staffed Yarchei Kallah type program similar to the program depicted in the linked article.

  20. Steve Brizel says:

    IOW, the test for all hashkafic trends-does the trend supplement or supplant the above three ikarim of Shimon HaTzadik?

    • mycroft says:

      How about using  the end of the Perek the  3 things that Rabbi Shimon ben Gamliel-emet, din, vshalom.  Rabbi Shimon was post churban at least as relevant as Shimon Hazadik Avodah which sadly we don’t have. I am aware of the leading gadols opinion that saying karbonos is doraisa for that reason but my impression his opinion is a daas yachid.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Mycroft-How does one have an awareness of the elemens of Emes-Din and Shalom. Emes is Chasamu Shel HaKadosh Baruch Hu. Would you prefer to invoke Midas HaDin or Midas HaRachamim? Shalom is not merely some John Lennon like invocation, but rather what all of us have to strive for internally.

      • mycroft says:

        Emes-is first without Emes we have nothing thus after shma emes and then and only then other atributes, Camp song for Camp Emes-Maomonides day Camp in Boston-emes attah hu rishon. The Rav then was younger than I am today.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Mycroft-a case can be easily made that Korbanos=Tefilah. The focusing by Shimon HaTzadik upon study and observance of Torah and Gmilus Chasadim similarly are rooted in the Torah.

  21. Steve Brizel says:

    Mycroft-I mentioned those grandchildren and relatives of RYBS who are known and regarded as  great Talmidei Chachamim , and for the specific point that decrying the alleged slide to the right in RIETS without acknowledging that at least two of RYBS’s grandchildren and one of his nephews  are great Talmidei Chachamim are definitely Charedi struck me as highly ironic, to say the least.  Again, condemning Bill Cosby while ignoring  Bill Cosby struck me as an apt contemporary comparison.

    • mycroft says:

      Certainly the Ravs son is a bigger talmid chacham, his son  and daughters were raised in his household. They are far closer and were influenced much more by him than  some of his grandchildren.

      The Rav was far different than his grandfather.

      • Shmuel Landesman says:

        In 1967, following the death of his wife, the Rav lived in his daughter’s home (Twerski) exclusively. So, his Twerski grandsons were also raised in his household.

      • mycroft says:

        “exclusively” .Not true-for a while he  often stayed at his sisters house until the distance to Maimonides got too big to walk. It is true that for the vast majority of his time after his wife passed away until the Rav was niftar he stayed at the Twersky home.

        Much more important the Twersky grandchildren were brought up following the Twersky customs and practices NOT the Ravs customs-eg the Twersky’s did not eat in the Succah Shmeinei Azeret the Rav did, the Twerskys did not eat gebrachs the Rav brought his family up to eat gebrachs.

  22. ychaitovsky says:

    To Steve Brizel who inferred what R. Landesman “posits” (even though I did not detect that in his words) and to R’Shmuel Landesman (who appreciated the “clarification”) – why do you say so unequivocally that OO has no answer to the “litmus test” questions of “why be Jewish” and “why observe Torah and mitzvot?”

    • Shmuel Landesman says:

      There are YCT graduates who openly state that they do not believe in Torah MiSinai as commonly understood by Orthodox Jews.

      So, then WHY?

    • Steve Brizel says:

      ychaitovsky–the only answer to the two litmus questions is that we all are obligated to live our lives by transmitting the heritage of Torah , Avodah and Gmilus Chasadim   to the next generation. Any answer that apologizes for that mission or seeks to render the same de minimus in nature by emphasizing modernity at the expense of any of the above elements will by definition fail.

    • Steve Brizel says:

      Yes, since the takana of Yehoshua Ben Gamla, Jewish communities have had what can be phrased as “compulsory education.” Yet, the elements of the Pesach Seder remind us that education of many Ikarei Yahadus such as Tefilah , Shabbos and YT begin in the house by parents inculcating values and demonstrating why the transmission of what it means to live a life rooted in Kedusha means, as opposed to merely paying for yeshiva education and relying on educators to accomplish this, and then “allow” our grown children to “choose” whether they “desire’ to be observant or R”L walk away from the Orthodox community. IMO, parents , by how they spend their spare time, demonstrate the importance or R”L lack of importance to the inculcation of values and have to be able to proudly and passionately inform their children that our goal as a family is to transmit the Mesorah of Yahadus to the next generation.

    • Shmuel Landesman says:

      If a Jewish movement has does not unequivocally believe in Torah MiSinai, then it has no lasting answers to these questions.

  23. Sholom says:

    There’s a logical flaw in your argument here:

    You posit that Orthodoxy is growing (which shows that it’s true), and Conservative and Reform Judaism are shrinking (which shows they are false).

    But you cannot use that argument as a basis to call for expelling Open Orthodoxy, because if we did that, then Orthodoxy would also be shrinking, which would contradict the whole basis for your argument.

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