The OU Decision on Women Clergy: Five Challenges That Remain

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86 Responses

  1. Bob Miller says:

    “The OU sought to minimize that damage with a generous grandfather clause, allowing the four congregations that are now in significant violation of Orthodox norms to determine in the next three years whether they want to stay in dialogue with the rest of the Orthodox world through compromise, or plunge ahead in forming their own denomination. ”

    1. Is this like “Don’t go away mad…”?
    2. Will the OU have the nerve to make the edict stick if they don’t shape up or leave on their own by the deadline? I’m not sure; maybe you are.
    3. And what is this business of “through compromise”? Does this signal the OU’s willingness to concede on some points as part of a compromise? That’s ominous!

    If you think my making these points puts me on the fringe, so be it.

  2. dr. bill says:

    the wisdom of the OU’s decision is that both you and I can applaud. in my humble opinion, any shul who wants to employ women in any but a well defined and limited number of roles can do so; the OU made the playbook public.

    i expect opposition from both sides of the issue. Hopefully, we will be able to check back in twenty or thirty years and the issue will have been rendered moot.

    • Chochom B'mah Nishtaneh says:

      It sad that you feel that in just 20-30 years the OO movement will be so far down the Reform path that there will no longer be any connection to Judaism.

      • dr. bill says:

        1) While most of those that make attacking the OO a major activity, compare them to the conservative movement of one hundred years ago, you jump straight to reform. May I remind you that 100 years ago while what has begun Yeshiva University contemplated a merger with JTS, Reform leaders were eating shrimp.

        2) Were there to be women clergy speaking from the pulpit on Shabbat, providing counsel to women abused/battered by their husbands, giving advanced academic Talmud classes, ministering to female converts before and after conversion, providing advice to unmarried and married women on sexual issues, etc. etc. how do you see that severing “any connection to Judaism..?”

        a few months ago in Jerusalem, I met the (post-orthodox) niece of a brilliant Chareidi RY who died about 45 years ago. A much more right-wing individual said to me that it is too bad – she was born a few generations too early.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Who says that the Orthodox community both via rabbis and mental health specialists don’t already deal with abuse , female a gerim etc? The notion that women giving classes in advanced academic Talmud will help mainstream MO is dubiouss. What MO needs from both genders is role models who inspire and impress their peers with their commitment to the mitzvos incumbent upon them now

      • Chochom b'mahnishtaneh says:

        1) You were the one who said that the differences would be moot in 20-30 years.

        2) None of these issues have anything to do with a pulpit. There is nothing here not already provided by Chareidim and by chareidi women and Rebbitzens. Most often on a one to one basis as appropriate.

        3) “Post Orthodox”. What a horrible term to use. Speaks volumes about the user.

      • dr. bill says:

        1) they will have become more clear, perhaps even mostly decided, by then.
        2) so your only issue is speaking from the pulpit and the use of the title. i think that is significant progress.
        3) I understand the term. if orthodox and reform were defined by their reactions to modernity 150+ years ago, perhaps post-orthodox implies a belief system defined in its own terms. if we are picking labels, traditional is my contender.

  3. Laura says:

    I am disappointed that you believe that “there is no possibility of answering them to people who have extremely limited Torah education.” Why is that? Can you not explain and educate at the same time? I, for example, do not consider myself stupid or unable to learn. I just never had the opportunity to do so, as I chazarti b’tshuva in my 30s. Does that mean that I should be excluded from the conversation?

    • Chas v’shalom! Don’t underestimate what you know. Because baalei teshuva often join the community as inquisitive, mature adults, they can quickly pick up enough familiarity with and understanding of the thinking of Chazal. And there are “lifers” who have never really thought things through, and never internalized the world view of Chazal. (Think of what we now call “social Orthodoxy.”) So no one need be excluded a priori for having begun later in life. OTOH, it has to be stated that a term like “excluded from the conversation” sheds little light on the issue, and serves only to say, in so many words, “You got to be wrong, because if you are not, people’s feelings will be hurt,” which is the general yardstick today that is used to assess any position, having replaced the truth or falsehood of that position as the way we used to assess things. It is demonstrably true that people who have had no exposure to basic algebra will indeed be excluded from a conversation about advanced calculus, whether or not their feelings will be hurt. Those who have not spent time with the words of our Sages are just not going to get the conversation about why meta-halacha is legitimate, necessary, and properly applied only in conjunction with Gedolei Yisrael.

      • YS says:

        Laura – You should have quoted the end of the same paragraph:
        “Those without minimum exposure to the language and texts of rabbinic Judaism lack the vocabulary to understand the answers.”
        For all practical purposes, this sentence argues that you cannot understand the answers, not because you are a Ba’alat Teshuva but rather because you are a woman. So you will unfortunately need to take the word of your husband or some other male, who will have the exposure to the language and texts of rabbinic Judaism that the yeshiva-world prevents you from learning.
        In other words, you will never be able to truly understand why women are treated the way they are. This, at least, is the inescapable conclusion of this article.

      • Actually, the women I know have both a deeper grasp of Chazal, and have been exposed to far more of their words, than any of the YCT people who offer their broken wares to the public.

        Nope, it is authenticity that we are debating here, not gender.

      • YS says:

        Rav Adlerstein – I wasn’t comparing anyone to the YCT people. It’s simply a matter of women being familiar enough with the central canon of halacha – Shas – to be able to have an informed opinion on a topic like ‘Women in positions of authority in the Jewish community’. Unfortunately, for the most part, they’re prevented from having this familiarity with Chazal and are therefore not in a position to have an opinion or to influence the yeshivish community.
        Consequently, they cannot ‘understand the answers’, in your phrasing.

      • I understand what you are saying, but I think that you are not giving enough credit to the intense background that frum women get today – especially in the more right-wing communities! – to the thought of Chazal. You don’t have to have a chavrusa for a given mesechta, or learn Daf Yomi to become conversant with Chazal. The entrance exam that my granddaughter in 8th grade took to get into a Bais Yaakov high school demanded far more familiarity with the content of Chazal than my high school seniors in a ModOx school had. And those seniors stood a good chance of narrowing the gap if they spend one or two years in Israel in the right seminary. Both groups will have a far better grasp of Chazal than what is evidenced in the public discourse of OO clergy – both men and women.

      • YS says:

        Please correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems to me as if what you’re saying is that the women you refer to know enough to understand the ‘No’ but not enough to be given a say in the decision-making process.

      • Everyone has a voice. Very few have a say. That role is reserved for Torah luminaries. Anyone can decide to throw a football. Only a small number of the best get to play in the Super Bowl

    • Steve Brizel says:

      R Adlerstein is 100% correct. When I walk into a house or shul, I can tell from a look at the bookshelf if the sefarim there have been touched by the owner by seeing bookmarks, frayed covers and other indicia. The more that you learn Torah and are in an environment where learning is considered normal the more you become aware that halacha has views on every aspect of your life. There is no praise in being either ignorant or unwilling or uninterested in learning. Those attitudes send messages to children and relatives that Torah and Mitzvos don’t matter.

  4. Shades of Gray says:

    When speaking with one of my roshei yeshivah who gave a difficult shiur, I used to feel like the Ger standing on one foot.  I used a technique, I think I read in the name of  the Chofetz Chaim,   who showed overlapping sefarim as a Venn diagram to illustrate the difference in thought  between the initial  hava amina and later maskana of the Gemara. I would ask simply, “what’s the exact nekudas hamachalokes, difference,  between the hava amina and maskana ?”, and then return to my seat to think it over.   Asking  even a basic question has value because you are working from where you are, in addition to Hillel’s second statement of doing the work,  “Zil gemor”.

  5. Shades of Gray says:

    I agree that “Zil gemor”,   Torah sophistication from original sources,  would take away from the appeal of reading a secondary distortion.

    YCT advertises its “intellectually honest faculty” on its website. One author of a critique of Open Orthodoxy, R. Francis Nataf, preceded his criticism with an article titled  “10 things I admire about Open Orthodoxy”,  #8 being  “Its intellectual honesty: While this is a highly sensitive area, it is certainly appropriate to address hard issues and to do our best to be true to ourselves as well as to our tradition.”(R. Adlerstein acknowledged the need for improvement on the Right in the 2015 Klal Perspectives, “Responses must be as sophisticated, thought out and compelling as are the questions. Serious study of the challenger’s positions must be undertaken.”). R. Menachem  Penner began a discussion  on a Torah Musing  symposium, ” If there is one thing that Modern Orthodoxy should agree on, it is that open orthodoxy is a good thing. The devil, however, is not only in the details, but in the definition of “open” and the definition of “orthodoxy.” One can embrace open orthodoxy without embracing Open Orthodoxy.”

    Building on R. Nataf’s article, and in the spirit of R. Yisroel Salanter who spoke about knowing one’s strengths, Open Orthodoxy should not distort Mesorah because of its strength of intellectual honesty. Similarly, the values of unity and community modeled in  the current OU statement  should be reciprocated by the 4 shuls. Finally,  empathy and understanding another’s position cuts both ways.  In an article written on the Lerhaus blog  a year ago after the original OU psak, Dr.  Rivka Press Schwartz  quoted a conversation she had with a  rosh yeshiva who said  that “the  lack of familiarity and empathy goes both ways—that the laity accept seeing the Torah leadership caricatured in certain ways because they do not know them, and don’t realize how little those caricatures capture the actual character of the men in question.”

    • Bob Miller says:

      If you scan down this web page,
      —you’ll find this from Rabbi Nataf:
      “Uri L’Tzedek has emerged as an important initiative to highlight and teach the important role of social justice in the normative Jewish tradition. I am hopeful that others will follow their lead and work with them in this worthy project. As the Orthodox Jewish community grows in strength and numbers, it is critical that we use our influence to benfit all those who could benefit from it. Moreover, social justice projects, such as the ones sponsored by Uri LTzedek, can provide an energizing experiential component that will only enrich the traditional Jewish studies curriculum.”

      • Shades of Gray says:

        He does write in the article that  his criticism of Open Orthodoxy is different than others in that it’s  “from a friend – from someone who in the past would recommend YCT over RIETS and who is appreciative of much of what they are trying to do”, so supporting  Uri L’Tzedek makes sense.

        Does he have a point in defining a (potential) strength of Open Orthodoxy, in what he terms a “highly sensitive area”?

      • Bob Miller says:

        He seems to be staking out a niche between OO and MO, but OO complicates this task by being amorphous. Possibly, he left the David Cardozo Academy because the latter was headed down a blatantly radical track.

    • Steve Brizel says:

      Please define “social hustice”.is it the so called progressive agenda ?

  6. Eric Leibman says:

    Rabbi Adlerstein. Punt those four shuls. Now. In my opinion, the OU is showing itself to be weak and afraid by not doing so. The OU needs to show clearly once and for all who is the sheriff in town.

    • lacosta says:

      i think it woould be interesting to classify the objecters to the weakness of the OU. my gut tells me it’s people who are far RWMO or modern haredi. i bet 90+ % of MO do’t know this issue exists , a similar number don’t care, and a sizable percent would side with the four congregations

  7. Eric Leibman says:

    If somebody tried to do this in the Agudah or Young Israel, they would be out on their ear in 5.

    • True of Agudah; not so true anymore of Young Israel. There has been some serious erosion there. While the take-no-prisoners approach has its place, it is not the only way to go. I know of the seriousness with which some of the players brought to the decision. A chief consideration was collateral damage. The people still remember the letter the OU received when it deliberated about ejecting the last holdovers from the no-mechitzah days. It came from the head of the NCSY chapter of one of the shuls that would have been dropped from membership. The letter urged the OU not to do it, because it would mean that the shul would immediately drop its NCSY chapter that serviced some 70 kids. Those kids, bederech hateva, had no other chance of becoming frum. The OU made its decision, which history now proclaims to have been correct in drawing a line in the sand between authentic Judaism and other varieties. The shul was dropped; it dropped NCSY; as far as people know, those kids were indeed lost. I believe that the sunset clause in the OU decision stemmed much more for a concern for the Jews in the four shuls than a weak backbone.

      • Bob Miller says:

        The renegade shuls could use their NCSY kids as pawns or hostages in this negotiation, including later on as the deadline approaches. OU needs to be able to counter this and not kick that can down the road one more time.

      • lacosta says:

        young israel is effectively two branches — young [agudas] israel —- the black hat YI’s of mostly the tri-state area ; and young [MO/LWMO] israel, especially in the hinterlands… and the farther out of town you go , the more liberal the people in the pews will likely be….

      • Bob Miller says:

        This one doesn’t fit your paradigm:

      • Sarah Elias says:

        How many members are native Houstonians as opposed to tristate area transplants?

      • Bob Miller says:

        Note—When we lived there and were members in 1998-2000, the majority in the shul had moved to Houston from many parts of the US, plus Canada, Mexico and overseas. Many people are drawn to the Houston area by the mix of jobs there.

      • lacosta says:

        the one thing that RYA states that can be agreed upon is that a good portion of these four places could and probably would easily slide into the C temple that they are more akin to politically , and whose egalitarian /lgbqt sensibilities are more palatable…

  8. Steve Brizel says:

    I think that the OU acted wisely and carefully in the way it drew the line in the sand with respect to the four shuls in question and any future applicants for membership. I cannot see how, when or why any OO oriented shul or partnership minyan, especially in light of the hashkafa of unbridled radical egalitarianism and feminism that is the defining nature of such institutions, would ever apply for membership in the OU. We should hope that perhaps their children who are enrolled in yeshivos and day schools return to the normative and accepted definitions of MO..As far as the five areas of proposed discussion, many of the essays here by R Adlerstein R Gordimer and R Fischer should be set forth as easily accessible links on the issue together with the original report rendered by the Poskim and women to who the OU turned to in the first place.

    That being said, it is clear that the LW of MO is engaged in a process of creating its own idea of what halacha is and should be both here and in Israel on a range of issues where far more competent and greater voices have spoken and written . One can agree with or offer reasoned arguments for instance as to the RCA/BDA protocols for Gerus .That is not as important as determining whether the alternative grounds for determining personal status are rooted in scholarship and considering the havoc that can be implemented when the application of a non uniform standard is applied practically .

    In this regard, the lack of scholarship as to whether the same is rooted in Rov Rishonim and Poskim should be critiqued together with the very serious consequences of the highly dubious acts of applauding the forbidden and the far more problematic act and policy of creating a second class tier of Gerim who no Orthodox rav-even from a LW MO POV-would marry but whom a C or R clergyman would perform such a ceremony. What we are beginning to see is a policy of increasing the numbers of dubious at best conversions, challalim and worse among the Jewish People. ( Noone here should be surprised or shocked if an OO affiliated clergyman affiliates at or performs a same gender ceremony It is the inevitable of what happens when MO is defined by twisting Halacha in such a manner that Modernity dictates how one observes halacha),

    We are living in a time when by their actions, as RYBS noted, R”L we won’t have to learn Ksuvos, Kiddidusin Yevamos and Gittin because any notion of adherence to Halacha and studying the vast amount of Torah that governs marriage divorce and conversion will be R”L viewed as academic and the subject of historians. We must fight this battle with all of the Lomdus Tzidkus Yashrus and the fifth chelek of SA as strongly and powerfully as possible.
    It is the equivalent of performing shechita and deeming it satisfactory for someone else to eat, even if the shochet would never eat it under any circumstances. I kid you not when I write that such policies are rendering the vast amount of debate in the Gemara and Poskim as to such issues on the personal status of any Jew ( and in many cases especially that of Kohanim) merely academic in nature in such circles.

    • dr. bill says:

      In order that you sleep better, rest assured that in the most OO/egalitarian/post-orthodox shul I of which I am aware when a small bimah magically appears situated on both sides of the mechitzah, where laining will take place, the first two aliyot go to males. I kid you not.

      BTW, the Rav ztl’s only yartzeit shiur I vividly remember on a non-AH topic covered among other things, a female kohein and her status. it is in my memory, among the best shiurim I ever heard.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Listen to the shiur on the Aseres HaDibros. RYBS clearly challenged the legitimacy of a kohen marrying a Giyures. Your comments on an ” OO/egalitarian/post-orthodox shuL” illustrates the lack of halachic argument supporting what is purportedlya Krias HaTorah but in reality cannot be described as an Orthodox shul. I would daven elsewhere in another shul or at home if I had no other choice.

      • dr. bill says:

        again a sequence of non-sequiturs. you do not have to quote the Rav ztl as a source for a kohen not marrying a geyoret; there may be a few older sources :). i am beginning to doubt you read the yartzeit shiur in question. for that matter, i wonder if you read the yartzeit shiur where the Rav discussed HLMM, a shiur you tell me i do not understand.

        why i once attended an ultra (on steroids) OO minyan is not your concern; i decide such matters without seeking your halakhic counsel. i can find no halakhic basis for not being mekayaim hearing kriat hatorah; in fact, given my understanding of trop, i was probably better off there on that account than in most shuls i know. this week features a few challenges for even an average baal koreh.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Dr Bill commented in relevant part:
        “i am beginning to doubt you read the yartzeit shiur in question. for that matter, i wonder if you read the yartzeit shiur where the Rav discussed HLMM, a shiur you tell me i do not understand.”

        “why i once attended an ultra (on steroids) OO minyan is not your concern; i decide such matters without seeking your halakhic counsel””

        1)Over Shabbos, I reviewed the Hakdama of Rambam to Perush HaMisha to Seder Zeraim and how Rambam defines Halacha LMoshe MiSinai. I also reviewed the Yahtezeit shiur in question which RYBS set forth that we have a Mesorah that is rooted in learning as well as one in rooted in practice. Halachos LMoshe MiSinai are understood as not being rooted in the same methods of even those Halachos that are understood to be unquestioned. Then I reviewed the ET entry on Halacha LMoshe MiSinai which is a very important discussion on how the Mishnah and Gemara define such a Halacha, which lshonos tell us that such is a Halacha LMoshe MiSinai as well as the fact that a Halacha Lmoshe MiSinai can even apply to a rabbinic ordinance and the term can also apply to a Torah or Rabbinic law and whether a Halacha LMoshe MiSinai totally displaces what is Pshuto Shel Mikra , that the failure to follow a Halacha LMoshe MiSinai is associated with Tzedukim and Zaken Mamres. I also went reviewed Chiddushei R Chaim HaLevi Maacalos Asuros 10: 15 which explains based on a Machlokes Rambam and Geonim with respect to Orlah in Chutz LaAretz that a Halacha LMoshe MiSinai can either be Mchadesh a brand new Halacha of a Torah basis or be Mfaresh a Passuk in the Torah. A friend of mine in my shul pointed out to me that RHS has several shiurim on this issue as well. Now, tell us which of the Halachos listed by Rambam are of rabbinic origin

        2) You may have seen no halachic impediment to attending such a service, but obviously such are in print.

  9. Ralph Suiskind says:

    Most synagogue suffer from weak rabbinical leadership which places the entire orthodox community in jeopardy. With a dynamic leadership the entire community can be rehabilitated to meet all the challenges and enhance fuller observances by the masses. A community that has a local kollel can do wonders provided its members are in tune with the needs of the community as well as each member exemplifying a true role model to follow. The key to survival is introducing a intensive learning program given by reputable individuals

  10. lacosta says:

    i am so disappointed that there is no one to the left of extreme RW haredi judaism willing to call out the OU as a fraud for not following their own supposed daas tora [ MO isn’t supposed to believe in it anyways , i know] and expelling the four . watch what will happen . the four will flourish in their towns , metastasizing their influence — after all how can a Bnai David be expelled, when they are bosom bodies with YICC and Beth Jacob, and the rabbi of YICC is a mucky muck in the RCA — just watch in 36 months, this will be long forgotten , as these temples will move on to the next mesorah challenge…. maybe more gay marriage announcements?

  11. Raymond says:

    I think that over time, most of us Jews who are familiar with that movie from the early 1970’s called Fiddler on the Roof, have come to have that movie as a real favorite among us. I am just old enough to remember, though, that back in the day when it first came out, that it generated considerable controversy within the Orthodox Jewish community. Many such Jews felt offended because that movie portrayed religious Jews as living the Torah lifestyle not out of any kind of strong ideological conviction borne out of years of careful investigation, but rather simply because that is the only thing they knew. It was the tradition, and so they mindlessly followed it.

    Well, over the intervening years, I have come to realize that there is something to be said in favor of tradition. It is the generation of the 1960’s, who in turn were echoing the so-called intellectuals of the deadly French Revolution, that demanded that everything must be demonstrated by reason to be true, or else it should be abandoned. Contrast this with what is at least my understanding of the Rambam who, despite being the Supreme Rationalist among our Torah thinkers, nevertheless built his edifice of reason on the Foundation of the Torah. There has to be a place where assumptions must simply be accepted, a kind of Ground Zero, and for the Rambam, that meant Mount Sinai.

    And that is how I feel about the subject of women becoming Rabbis. On at least a surface or even rational level, one is tempted to ask what would be so terrible about having women Rabbis, but then Tevye’s cry of “Tradition!” sounds in my brain, and I cannot help but think that there is something to his plea. Countless generations of the most brilliant, learned, wise Torah scholars saw no room for the possibility of female Rabbis. For an ignoramus like me to challenge that, strikes me as being not only presumptuous, but quite foolish as well.

    Now, I can come up with some reasons why I might object to female Rabbis, but I have to warn the readers here, especially the female ones, that they might not like what I have to say. They may even think that I am some kind of creature from the Stone Age. I will not deny such a charge. And so here I go.

    One of the expectations that religious Jews have of their Rabbis, is that they arrive at legal decisions. This is not some kind of enjoyable game to help pass the time; these are rules that are supposed to be representing G-d’s Will as outlined in His Torah. It thus must be taken with the utmost seriousness. Well, and here I am speaking in very general terms, it strikes me that men tend to be more on the logical side of things, while women tend to be on the more emotional side of things. That is why, for example, I see judges as being a very male profession, as decisions have to be made in a very matter-of-fact, legalistic, even cold blooded manner. Elementary school teachers, in sharp contrast, require quite an abundance of warmth, compassion, loving-kindness…traits I identify far more with women. I frankly am suspicious of any man who wants to teach children who are that young.

    Another reason why I think that the Rabbinate should be only for men, is because of the different roles that we are correctly expected to play in Jewish life. This is admittedly a cliche, but a very true one, namely that there really is no profession more important than the raising of one’s children, for without that, the world quickly falls apart, descending into chaos. And all of the corrective measures one may try to employ later to fix any child not correctly brought up, tends to be very expensive and not too successful. Well, women are simply better than men at raising children. Again, there is the compassion factor so necessary in raising children, plus women have been shown to be much better then men at multi-tasking, which is another crucial trait in child rearing. So, a woman has to decide, does she want to spend her life working at some profession that might land her more money than raising her children, but does she truly feel fulfilled and is she truly making her maximum positive impact on the world in that way? And if she does choose the public sphere, then it may not be advisable for her to even get married and have children, given the supreme importance of raising children.

    One more word about the idea of tradition. For many years, even centuries, the most sophisticated secular intellectuals mocked the traditional Jewish position about the Creation of the universe. They echoed Aristotle’s contention that the universe was always here, thus requiring no Creator at all. Then several decades ago, along came scientists who discovered that there was indeed a Big Bang to our universe, that at one point in time the universe was indeed suddenly created from nothing, thus very very strongly implying that we Jews were right all along in claiming that our universe had a Divine beginning. Just some food for thought for those who insist on mocking the notion of tradition.

    • Ben Waxman says:

      Where we apply “Tradition” and where we don’t usually says more about us than it does about the tradition itself. Mass learning in yeshiva for years on end was never part of our tradition and yet here we are.

      I’d like to see the cheider in which women teach 7 year old boys. AFAIK they don’t exist, certainly not in Israel.

      • Precisely. That’s why it is so important that there be people to oversee the kind and rate of changes that occur when the world inexorably changes. A long literature shows that those who were entrusted with this oversight were the available top-notch gedolei Torah

      • Mycroft says:

        Much change that has been accepted started from the bottom up. To take an important example which is currently universally accepted is how we celebrate last day of Shmeinei Azeret. Reading Torah at night, repeating laining, taking Torahs to dance without a need for the Torah. It took awhile but was ultimately accepted.

      • The difference, however, should be obvious. Those changes – and many others – took place either with the tacit approval of Torah leaders and luminaries, or at least with the approval of some. The innovations of OO are taking place with universal rejection by top-echelon Torah figures, without a single exception. (Please do not throw names at me. It will be embarrassing. The statement will stand.) That kind of change is unwanted.

      • Mycroft says:

        I do not want to get into any current specifics but I intentionally used an example that the stated principle of Rabbinic acquiescence was not mandatory at the beginning of any change..
        I do not want to discuss the plusses and minus of any individual change. What is important is that Halacha is followed. There are certainly actions that many Rabbis do that are prohibited to women and many activities that they do that are permitted for women.
        The nature of what exactly a Rabbi is in modern twenty first century is of interest in any discussion. The differences in power and authority are clear. See eg a ger becoming a Rabbi and functions that they can perform according to at least some poskim are greater than was a thousand years ago. I do not want to discuss the underlying issue but one has to discuss functions rather than misusing a title. We refer to Conservative Rabbis as Rabbi yet clearly they are not a Rav.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        All of the above were as R Adlersteun noted either explicitly or tscitly approved of by Gdolei Torah.

      • dr. bill says:

        if you read the masterful “divine law in human hands” and “the shabbos goy” and other books and seforim of the late prof. katz’s works, you will be freed from that misconception. many changes started bottom up; perhaps some unknown religious figure, certainly no match for the gedolim of the time, approved. then, in times gedolim applied the halakhic boundaries that would govern such activity

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Look at Ramban on Shemos 24:11 immediately before the commentary om Shemos 24:12 for a mareh makom for a seudsseudas mitzvah upon the Siyum of the Torah.

      • rkz says:

        Dr. Bill. I will risk being accused (again) of a biased POV, but having read all of Prof. Katz’s work (in Hebrew), I have to say that he had a rather weak grasp of the halakhic sources, and a completely agenda-driven (a far-left agenda) method of analysis (and I wrote so in my doctorate, but my thesis advisor, who agreed with me on the merits of the issue, and called Katz an Am Haaretz, counseled me to soften my criticism for reasons of academic politics)

      • dr. bill says:

        rkz, you have the right to your view. but let me mention two other facts. when prof. katz’s first volume deriving history from SHU”T came out, the first ringing endorsement came from a then young Harvard professor, Isadore Twersky. Of course after studying with his father and prof. Lieberman, dr. soloveitchik spent years studying with prof. katz. When dr. Soloveitchik republished a work written in Hebrew in a much longer English essay with full citations, he wrote that his earlier Hebrew essay was written without many sources quoted since in all honestly, its intended audience was his father, prof. lieberman and prof. katz for whom sources were not needed. not bad company or praise.

        let me use the shabbos goy, which was published in Hebrew; what specifically do you think exhibits a lack of familiarity with halakha? I am curious; I admit that my knowledge of hilchot shabbat can stand some improvement.

      • rkz says:

        I wrote a response that was way too long, so it was erased, and I will try once again:
        Thank you for the detailed response.
        When I wrote “that he had a rather weak grasp of the halakhic sources”, I did not mean “a lack of familiarity with halakha”. What I meant was that he presented the halakhic sources in a mechanical way, and he usually glanced over the internal significance of the shakla vetaria (though as a methodological rule, he wrote otherwise). Tat is an Am Haaretz- kara veshana velo shimesh talmidei chachamim.
        Therefore, I was always puzzled by RPCS’ attitude towards Katz, and never understood how he can be compared to Lieberman (who was the most brilliant talmid chacham in the academic world) and kal vachomer to RYBS zt”l
        (I tried to copy here what I wrote about this issue, on the methodological side, but failed twice, so I will not try again)

      • dr. bill says:

        rkz, The Rav ztl and prof. lieberman were incomparable. Prof. Lieberman did not study much that did not enhance his learning. he was the quintessential, bor sheaino meabaid tipah. the story, dr. Soloveitchik’s late colleague, prof. ta shma tells about his only meeting with prof Lieberman after he turned 80, exceeds any story of any TC I ever read throughout our history, hagiography included. (vol.4 of his posthumous writings.) The Rav read broadly and was the consummate Okair Harim. Halevi any of our descendants can be mechadaish as much as Prof. Lieberman or have the yediot of the Rav.

        Prof. Katz was different than both. he did not write in anything like a classical rabbinic style. i agree he often referred to sugyot or shittot without the depth both rabbinic and academic scholars display. Nonetheless, his mastery kept dr. soloveitchik with him for decades. Unlike both the Rav and Prof. Lieberman, his approach was to write prolifically without fear of making minor errors. If you read, the Pride of Jacob, most of the essays by younger academics in honor of him after he died, take issue with many of the details in his writing. perhaps to be expected from the inventor of a new approach to the study of halakha, who wrote incessantly. halevi, i will have as many productive years after i write my autobiography – a fascinating read.

      • Robert says:

        There seems to be to be a certain irony in spread of greater Torah learning. Perhaps when only a few great scholars were able to have communal, family or marital support for learning at the highest levels, there were only a few great Torah scholars relied upon for significant rulings. Now that so many more learn (quality of learning aside), many more can study a gemara and use it to fit their biases, preferences, and personal worldview, instead of submitting to the greater wisdom of gedolim and fealty to Torah above secular influences (i.e. see the non-Orthodox movements)

      • Bob Miller says:

        Isn’t the idea “to get yourself a Rav”? If you had the right personal teacher/mentor, you’d want to follow his lead and not leap tall buildings in a single bound to contact the highest level Gedolim directly. Once you’re properly in synch, your day-by-day decision process will be such that you don’t go off on tangents. Eliminating all the middlemen and always relying on ones own judgment are both bad options.

  12. Bob Miller says:

    Raymond, you write this about Fiddler on the Roof: “Many such Jews felt offended because that movie portrayed religious Jews as living the Torah lifestyle not out of any kind of strong ideological conviction borne out of years of careful investigation, but rather simply because that is the only thing they knew. ”

    This was actually a major problem among Jews arriving in the US from Eastern Europe pre-WW1. Many had Jewish habits but not much Jewish knowledge and understanding, and had problems resisting assimilation. Some were eager to fit in above all.

  13. Shades of Gray says:

    I once read  an interview in Mishpacha with a member of the Agudah executive staff who pointed out the complexities of making public decisions or responding to events. Chagigah 5A interprets Devarim  31:17, “tzaros” related to co-wives, who rival and conflict with each other. The Gemara there gives an example of  a wasp and a scorpion which sting simultaneously, where it’s worse because the treatment for one(hot water) is a detriment to the other(cold water) and vice versa. He quoted a rishon(I saw it in Paneach Raza, but I think he mentioned Daas Zekenim)who pointed to medieval times as an example of this, where a threatening anti-Semite presents conflicting courses of action; if you complain to the authorities about him, he might be vengeful, if you don’t, he will continue(I also think of it as the dilemma of  “woe to me if I say it; woe to me if I do not say it” from the Gemara, or colloquially,  “damned if you do and damned if you don’t”).

    This can be used to appreciate the complexity involved in the making of policy decisions that the OU, and Agudah for that matter, face  even if you don’t see eye to eye with them.

  14. Ben Waxman says:

    Regarding Who is a Rabbi: Before the Orthodox world takes on other rabbinic programs, it should get its own house in order. Graduates of two year rabbinic programs that basically touch on Yoreh Deah and other sections of the SA should not be getting the “Rav” job title.

    • Bob Miller says:

      What is the supply vs. demand situation? How would requiring a lengthier, more complete education affect this?

      • Ben Waxman says:

        I have no idea. I don’t know what type of job someone with this type of smicha can obtain.

        On a Facebook discussion that I saw there was some disagreement about whether or not YU/standard yeshiva grads are willing to take positions in the boondocks. Some people familiar with the subject said that they are not willing to work in say North Dakota and is where OO fills the gap.

    • Steve Brizel says:

      If the above was meant to characterize RIETS the same is inaccurate.

      • Mycroft says:

        There are cities that have day schools with no Orthodox schuls. My impression is that a much higher percentage of RIETS musmachim went to the boondocks 75-50 years ago than go now. There are various reasons for that but sadly there are many states with no Orthodox communities. I do not count Chabad because they don’t market to Orthodox clientele in the boondocks

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Who went to and built communities in Atlanta and more recently in Dallas and Houston?

      • Mycroft says:

        Compare the number of schuls. There were far more schuls 75 years ago today in major metropolitan areas than today. Smaller cities have been a greater disaster. See how many seforim were written by Rabbis from smaller cities where there is nothing today.

      • dr. bill says:

        in New England where i was raised, once significant Talmidai chachamim and even a few gedolai olam served as rabbis in a variety of second-tier cities. now, these cities are a shell of what once was. The sources of employment for orthodox jews shifted to larger cities. Worcester, springfield, bridgeport, new haven, etc. struggle to reestablish or maintain an Orthodox presence. The orthodox history of those towns prior to the second world war is remarkable; sadly the requirements to raise the next orthodox generation were lacking. even when that was addressed the economic/employment situation shifted.

      • Ben Waxman says:

        Steve I was referring to a program in Jerusalem that shall remain nameless.

    • dr. bill says:

      an academic historical look would clear that up in an instant; in many circles, tradition reigns even when circumstances change.

      • dr. bill says:

        Well presented lecture but not relevant to what I said; in traditional circles religious, non-halakhic, arguments often continue practices even in changed circumstance. I was talking about the stability of practice not it changes.

        wrt my post above, Dr. Wolff, who mentioned Prof. Katz in developing his lecture, does not bear on what I wrote referencing Prof. Katz. He described halakhic change as practiced by rabbis. I described how change occurs within religious Jewish communities – not always top-down driven by a rabbinic leader but in many cases bottom up to which rabbis eventually apply halakhic boundaries. Dr. Wolff, a grand student of Prof. Katz, did not differ with his Doktorvater’s Doktorvater.

  15. mb says:

    I fail to see how banning something that is legally permitted is good for Orthodoxy. Don’t like female Rabbis? Then vote with your feet and don’t attend their Synagogues. I bet I’m not the only one here who will not daven in a NK Shul. Besides, soon after eliminating those 4 Shuls the inquisition will spread to the practices of other left of the right Shuls.

    • Steve Brizel says:

      Who says that such practices are either legally permitted or should be or are consistent with Mesorah ?

      • dr. bill says:

        i understand consistent with halakha; i understand the spirit of shabbat or a beis hakenneset or many other halakhot. consistent with mesorah is a phrase that normally implies, i don’t like it but i cannot find a strong halakhic argument. What constitutes our mesorah has credence but only to those who value the opinion of the person that is presenting their viewpoint.

      • That may be true when the pronouncement that something is afoul of mesorah is made by an individual. When it comes unanimously from all Torah leadership, then the only ones who reject it are those who reject mesorah itself as a guide to proper conduct, occupying a parallel position of importance alongside “pure” halacha. Such a rejection is contrary to centuries of traditional practice and belief.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        The first Mishnah on Avos states a chain of transmission of the Torah . Not everyone is a transmitter of the torah.

    • Robert says:

      An “inquisition” would spread only if people and rabbis at shuls publicly express contempt for Torah, Halacha, and Mesorah as understood by poskim on which OU relies. Ya know, sort of like the OO crowd have done.

    • Bob Miller says:

      In the Northern KIngdom of ancient Israel, someone might have be told, “OK, if you don’t like our idolatrous temple, find someplace else. We do our thing.”

  16. Aaron Emet says:

    I realize the OU is acting in the interest of achdus (and wary of bad press and schisms, etc.) but this strikes me as overly pragmatic and potentially damaging to the halachic consistency of the Modern Orthodox movement. The OU is kidding themselves if actually they think any of these shuls will come into compliance (though I suspect they know this already, which makes their decision all the more puzzling). These women were not hired by accident, their hiring is driven by a specific agenda and that agenda will certainly not be changing over the next three years. Not helping matters is the OU’s intentionally vague “re-evaluation” comment, which does not inspire confidence that they will actually take any action when the evaluation period is over.

    Also, the three year timeline is comical. What part of coming into compliance with guidelines issued a year ago could possibly take three additional years? Is the OU handdelivering copies of their guidelines via pony express? I’m quite shocked that Rabbi Adlerstein has no problem using the term “grandfathering”. Does this not imply tacit acceptance? Reasoning that “these shuls didn’t know” or that “the hiring preceded adoption of the policy” is blatantly disingenuous. It seems to me that the Open Orthodox movement got precisely what it wanted – when all is said and done, the Orthodox Union will have permitted female clergy in multiple shuls for over half a decade.

  17. Steve Brizel says:

    The notion of grandfathering is exactly how the OU dealt with shuls that had no mechitzos . They were encouraged over the years to install a mechitza. A shul that hired a rav on the express condition that a mechitza would be installed and failed to do so lost not just a rav when it failed to do so but also left the OU. RYBS told any of his talmidim in such a shul that they had either two or three years to install a mechitza or leave. Other musmachim of other yeshivos stayed for many years in shuls that had no mechitza, microphones, etc. Their children evolved into the Charedi world.

  18. yg says:

     Yitzchok Adlerstein
    February 4, 2018 at 5:02 am
    Precisely. That’s why it is so important that there be people to oversee the kind and rate of changes that occur when the world inexorably changes. A long literature shows that those who were entrusted with this oversight were the available top-notch gedolei Torah
     Mycroft
    February 4, 2018 at 2:11 pm
    Much change that has been accepted started from the bottom up. To take an important example which is currently universally accepted is how we celebrate last day of Shmeinei Azeret. Reading Torah at night, repeating laining, taking Torahs to dance without a need for the Torah. It took awhile but was ultimately accepted.
     Yitzchok Adlerstein
    February 4, 2018 at 3:57 pm
    The difference, however, should be obvious. Those changes – and many others – took place either with the tacit approval of Torah leaders and luminaries, or at least with the approval of some. The innovations of OO are taking place with universal rejection by top-echelon Torah figures, without a single exception. (Please do not throw names at me. It will be embarrassing. The statement will stand.) That kind of change is unwanted.
     Mycroft
    February 4, 2018 at 4:57 pm
    I do not want to get into any current specifics but I intentionally used an example that the stated principle of Rabbinic acquiescence was not mandatory at the beginning of any change..
    I do not want to discuss the plusses and minus of any individual change. What is important is that Halacha is followed. There are certainly actions that many Rabbis do that are prohibited to women and many activities that they do that are permitted for women.
    The nature of what exactly a Rabbi is in modern twenty first century is of interest in any discussion. The differences in power and authority are clear. See eg a ger becoming a Rabbi and functions that they can perform according to at least some poskim are greater than was a thousand years ago. I do not want to discuss the underlying issue but one has to discuss functions rather than misusing a title. We refer to Conservative Rabbis as Rabbi yet clearly they are not a Rav.
     Steve Brizel
    February 4, 2018 at 9:28 pm
    All of the above were as R Adlersteun noted either explicitly or tscitly approved of by Gdolei Torah.

    There are two decisions from JTS which became ‘the symbols’ of C Judaism- one was the ‘psak’ to allow driving to shul on shabbos, and the second was ordaining women rabbis. They waited for Rabbi S. Lieberman to die, because he opposed and prohibited it, and then ordained women rabbis. For 40 years, women rabbis were one primary symbol of C Judaism. Now, OO, which is a new C movement, has done the same. The truth is, as one prominent RIETS RY has pointed out, they are worse than the C. It took the C around 70 years to ordain women, while OO waited only around 7 years.
    Thank you to R Adlerstein and Steve Brizel for this fundamental point. This is the crux of the issue. Mycroft and Dr. Bill constantly refer to the idea of changes starting from the bottom up, as part of their defense of parts of OO. The two of you point out correctly that never has a minhag started from the bottom up which was opposed openly from the beginning by all the gedolim and leading poskim of the generation, never. This is certainly true of any minhag rooted in a foreign influence. No gadol or leading posek would ever support that. This point is indeed obvious.

    Mycroft and dr.Bill continue to maintain their position against the historical record. Now Mycroft finally wants to give a specific example, and he comes up with leining on the night of Simchas Torah.

    First of all, as SB points out, that minhag was not openly rejected by all the leading poskim and gedolim when it started, as the breaches of OO have been.
    Secondly, it is so silly to quote such an example. Rome is burning. A new C movement has started, and Mycroft is concerned with the burning issue of leining on simchas Torah night. Apparently we have forgotten what the struggle with OO is about. I will therefore, repeat part of a post from a while ago.

    Rabbi David Rosenthal wrote a book, ‘Why Open Orthodoxy is Not Orthodox’. I will be citing from that book. He starts by comparing statements of early R and C leaders to statements from OO/YCT leaders. I will be citing his direct quotes from OO/YCT leaders. (Members of the staff there, members of the board, graduates who are mentioned approvingly on the websites. None of the quotes below have been disavowed on any level. Just the opposite, when questioned, the heads of the movement give defenses.) He gives the exact references and context.

    Rejection of ‘Mosaic’ Law
    “The Rabbis reject Moses’ judicial views as conservative and archaic.”

    Denial of divinity of the Torah
    “The simplest explanation for these differences between the accounts in Exodus-Numbers and Deuteronomy is that they were penned by (at least) two authors with different conceptions of the desert experience.”
    “We do not have access to objective truth. Humans are created in God’s image, which means that human consciousness is the instrument of divine revelation..”
    “It began with the parts of the Torah which are clearly folkloristic or symbolic in character. The creation of the world in six days, the account of Adam and Eve in the garden, Noah’s flood and the tower of babel- all of these were easily identified as ahistorical…”
    “Abraham and Sara are folkloristic characters; factually speaking they’re not my ancestors or anyone else’s”

    Looking forward to redemption
    “My teacher Rabbi Dr. Cardozo once again hits a grand slam reminding us to get our priorities straight as we approach Tisha B’v. “Whether or not the Temple will be rebuilt is not our concern, nor is it our dream. It is of little importance….”
    “We have made too many mistakes throughout history. The thinking that the messiah is a person or event. They are called bar kochva… and certain Chassidic rebbes. It was Christian influence that helped further this idea of the single divine human. The Jewish notion, preceding that, suggested that all people are imbued with divinity. At the end of the day, I would like to suggest that we are moshiach- we are the ones we have been waiting for.

    Many quotes supporting the Ordination of women.

    The Torah subjugates women
    “And often she must contend herself to davening in a cage in shul…”
    “ I was viscerally in pain in my body because of the repression, exclusion, and marginalization of the feminine in the jewish texts.”
    Giving tacit permission to homosexual behavior (which is as (actually more) severe than driving on shabbos.)
    “I believe we have to come to terms with the fact that, in the long run, Orthodox homosexuals have no choice but to allow themselves to fulfill the intense desire for emotional and physical intimacy in the only way open to them.”
    Other quotes that gay men and women and their partners need to be “fully welcome and fully a part of our communities and schools”
    There is an entire chapter of quotes from YCT/OO supporting the LBGQT agenda.

    Criticism of the prohibition of a kohen marrying a divorcee
    “It hurts seeing the divorcee compared to a prostitute. Why should we ostracize someone whose sole crime is that their marriage dissolved?”

    Erasing troubling texts
    “…but the problem is intrinsic to Jewish texts in general, not just to mystical texts. It is true for the Tanach, Chazal, Rishonim, and Achronim. Texts are products of their times, strongly influenced by their contemporary social reality. As time goes by, we learn to adapt those texts to our new reality, excising or updating the troubling parts or reapplying them [note- Tanach is included] them in new ways.

    After the Holocaust, God needs to do teshuva, the covenant is not binding
    Therefore, morally speaking, God must repent of the covenant, i.e. do teshuva for having given his chosen people a task that was unbearably cruel and dangerous without having provided for their protection…Morally speaking then, God can have no claims on the Jews by dint of the covenant.. It can no longer be commanded…

    God’s imperfection
    “You know what is also interesting about this reading of Shemini Atzeret? God’s loneliness,,, It is funny to talk about God’s wants and needs..
    But that is clearly what we want to say as a community about God; God has issues, like all of us…”
    “In the talmudic imagination, between the two clauses in our verse (Exodus 3:14) Moshe taught God (whom he had only met) a profound lesson about humanity. He taught God that there exists an important, necessary gap between who God is and what we need God to be.”
    Chazal change the Torah
    “Simply read the biblical sotah procedure seems capricious and patriarchal. The rabbis, incorporating Divine ordained hermeneutics, drastically revised the procedure. The result: a process that is sensitive and somewhat egalitarian. They were the progressives of their time…”
    “In other words, Chazal avoided the problem by reinterpreting the laws and presenting their interpretation as the Torah’s original intent.”

    Changing halacha based on social norms
    Some of the leaders promote “finding within the Talmud voices that articulate those same values that are driving us…” [It is ironic that when Rabbi Weiss laid out his vision how his approach to halacha differs from the Conservatives, he wrote that the C held that “if a de’ah exists in the Talmud that never really took hold, one may follow it.” His description of C is nearly identical with what is written above from YCT.
    “my immediate goals for my years in Rabbinical school [YCT] is to acquire the tools that are necessary to overcome the halakhic and social impediments to change.”
    “In truth, this book also reflects my ambivalence about the binding nature of the tradition and the extent to which I follow traditional norms when they conflict with other values I hold.”

    Chazal as misogynists
    “We should resist relating to the metaphors of women as being humiliated and defiled as metaphors for the destruction of Jerusalem and instead cringe of their misogynist uses, we use them as a point of connection to violence against women of all types…”
    [at yeshivat maharat students have a procedure when they come across a “sexist” passage]
    “So we have a jar. In this jar we put a quarter, or a dollar, or whatever seems appropriate when a woman’s voice seems egregiously absent from the conversation.”
    [about shelo asani isha]
    “Written by male rabbis nearly 2000 years ago, these words evoke for me the sexism too prevalent in the O world and beyond. These words have echoes of religious misogynists who throw chairs at women praying at the western wall….”
    “One could also argue that we are religiously compelled to eliminate or adjust the berakha because it is a source of hilul Hashem. Without in any way being critical of our sages (who, like all of us, lived inside a set of contemporary and cultural assumptions), the berakha is a vestage of an understanding of women that is less morally developed than today’s understanding.”

    Diluting the difference between O and R and C
    “But my dream is to have HUC, the JTS, Hadar, and Chovevei on one campus, to move in together. We’d each daven in our own ways, but it could transform the Upper West Side. I’m not talking about closing down campuses, because I want more torah, not less, I want to hear different opinions. Disagreement is OK…”
    “Spiritual striving and religious growth can only be nourished in a state of openness. For this reason, Israel as a state should give equal opportunities to the C and R movements. Their rabbis should be able to conduct weddings and ceremonies.”
    “R Judaism grew by distancing itself from O’s stubborn mistakes. O grew by distancing itself from R’s radical mistakes. All denominations will thrive when they start learning from each other’s strengths and not just their weaknesses….
    “, a unique online Jewish learning resource funded by [a YCT graduate], has launched. Read more about the impressive new initiative…”
    [the website says, opensinai “seeks to empower Jews throughout the world with the access to real-time pluralistic Jewish earning..”]
    See the book for many, many other similar examples.

    Degrading the Avos
    Many quote that avraham failed the akeidah.
    “Perhaps on some level in the narrative of the akeida, Abraham failed the test. I would suggest this is why God never speaks to Abraham after commanding him to take Isaac as a burnt offering.”
    “Avraham hasn’t just changed his name…. Rather, he has become utterly unrecognizable, losing his essence, his moral intuition. Avraham was willing to sacrifice. But he transcended the normative expectations for giving something up. He went too far.”
    [others in YCT/Maharat say God failed the akeidah]
    “While this was a test for Avraham, there was also a learning curve for God a well. So there seems to me in my read that God set out to test, assuming success, but it turns out that God has to learn along the way that there are actually dangers in this kind of universe… I think that in a sense you’ll forgive the irreverence here for those who find this blasphemous. I think in a sense it was God who failed the test here…”

    I know I am not quoting the full context. Rabbi Rosenthal does give the context and his presentation is much, much more damning than mine. It is frightening to see the exact parallels between the early trajectory of the R and C movements and the positions of YCT/OO.
    I have given just a very brief sampling of the quotations. For each quote, there are several (sometimes many) others. These are all commonly stated positions.

    See also the many articles of RAG on the topic.

    I don’t know if one who accepts all the yesodos in emunah, and accepts the mesorah, and accepts the halachic process, and accepts torah min hashamayim, and accepts the authority of chazal, and also believes in ordaining women rabbis makes him automatically C.
    I don’t know if one who accepts all the yesodos in emunah, and accepts the mesorah, and accepts the halachic process, and accepts torah min hashamayim, and accepts the authority of chazal, and also rejects saying shelo asani isha makes him automatically C.
    I don’t know if one who accepts all the yesodos in emunah, and accepts the mesorah, and accepts the halachic process, and accepts torah min hashamayim, and accepts the authority of chazal, and also supports partnership minyanim makes one automatically C….

    But I do know, that if one supports/condones/accepts without criticism ALL of the above ideas from Rabbi Rosenthal’s book and RAG’ articles, then such a movement is definitely Conservative (at best). And indeed it is “ludicrous” to maintain otherwise.

    To these I would add the following:
    Accepting the Absolute truth of the Torah that men and women are different and play different roles or not? Does one accept the complete authority of Chazal as defining our mesorah? referring to Hashem as the Godhead as opposed to Him, partnership minyanim, women reading megillah for men, women wearing tefillin, , women leading kabbalat shabat, women ‘saving’ their birchot hatorah so they can say a ’birchat hatorah’ at an aliyah,, Hashem not being ‘perfect’ because of His internal hashkafic contradictions, having publicly available podcasts discussing the most private of Jewish inyanei kedusha in the most public way, promotion of the LBGQT agenda, rejecting in one form or another the mitzvah of mechiyas amalek because it is ‘immoral’, davening maariv in a mosque to show solidarity with the Moslems, having a Church choir perform in the synagogue sanctuary to show solidarity with Christians, the list goes on and on and on.

    There are many more breeches and deviations one can add to the list. See RAG’s articles and see Rabbi Rosenthal’s book.
    The combined impact of Rabbi Rosenthal’s book, RAG’s articles as amplifying RMT’s strong essays and RHS’s authoritative tehsuvas is having an impact. More and more opinion makers are defining YCT/OO as C. The Agudah world refers to them as C. Rabbi Rakeffet refers to the as C. Rabbi Maryles’s blog refers to them as C.
    The issue is important. We are involved in kiruv kerovim. Many O Jews and shuls could be misled into thinking it’s OK to be OO, but it’s not.
    Several years a shul in the Washington area was looking for a new Rabbi. Originally, the board and search committee were considering RIETS graduates as well as YCT/OO graduates. Someone brought R Gordimer’s articles and David Rosenthal’s book to the attention of the board, and they decided correctly that OO is not for them, and they looked only at RIETS graduates. That was a victory for RHS, RMT, RAG, RRosenthal, etc… Mycroft and Dr. Bill can continue to try to ‘defend’ the breeches from the mesorah, and pretend OO is not C. It is indeed tragic that OO has become C, and so quickly as well, but that is undeniably the case.
    Thank you to RADlerstein and Stever Brizel for helping to further clarify and sharpen the issue. Any group that has left the guidance of all the gedolim Torah has always ended up outside the mesorah, with no exceptions- R, C, and OO. There is no such thing as ‘ground up’ change, rooted in a foreign influence which was opposed from the beginning by all the gedolim and leading poskim.

    • dr. bill says:

      YG, i only scanned your article. But why is open Orthodoxy “conservative at best”? no real academic scholars? perhaps a merger with Hadar would solve that. or is Hadar also “conservative at best”?

    • Bob Miller says:

      So why give them years to rejoin Orthodoxy? It’s their obligation right now.

    • Steve Brizel says:

      I thank you for your kind words. OO needs to be exposed as a fraudulent and halachaless Orthodoxy and a complete departure from any normative and accepted definition of MO. the above quoted comments demonstrate how radical egalitarian feminism which seeks the destruction of the tradictional Jewish family and OO’s support for that which the Torah views as forbidden such as the LGBT agenda as well as fan fiction posing as Divrei Torah should be challenged whenever and wherever possible. Abraham Lincoln’s famous line about fooling some of the people all of the time, all of the people some of the time but not all of the people all of the time certainly applies to OO which is well on its way to creating second class gerim, and applauding same gender unions if not yet officiating or participating in such ceremonies. What OO and its advocates and supporters seem to have never learned that being a Goy Kadosh Umamleches Kohanim means complete adherence to all Mitzvos-even and especially if that means rejecting that which is PC and the Zeigesit of the times OO cergymen who reject normative halachos such as Shemiras Shabbos, Kashrus and who will perform conversions Las Vegas Style to faciliate marriage of a Kohen to a convert or divorcee are simp;y misrepresenting themselves and the Jewish community when they claim to be halachic in any way shape or form

      • Bob Miller says:

        One has to ask what level of ignorance is needed for any Jew to accept OO claims at face value. How did such ignorance develop? Motivations of OO leaders may vary, but saturation with liberal culture looks like one cause, which could be shared by the followers. Insularity gets bad press but there are points in its favor if it’s not carried to extremes.

  19. Bob Miller says:

    Here’s an interesting analysis of feminism in general society, and the roles of both genders:

  20. Steve Brizel says:

    Mycroft wrote :

    “Compare the number of schuls. There were far more schuls 75 years ago today in major metropolitan areas than today. Smaller cities have been a greater disaster. See how many seforim were written by Rabbis from smaller cities where there is nothing today.”

    Please name one of the sefarim written by such rabbis that is even in the average Yodea Sefer’s bookshelf and consulted by today’s Poskim as opposed to being a historical footnote.How many children and grandchildren of the members of the shuls that you estimated were present are observant today and identify with either the MO or Charedi worlds? Numbers of shuls IMO do not accurately depict the strength of communities today which have a wider choice of smaller shuls, K-12 yeshivos, kollelim, shopping, shuls, eruvin, mikvaos restaurants and young grandparents with grandchildren in yeshivos, and new sefarim and English language editions and excellent editions of Kisvei Yad of sefarim. Today, there is no excuse not to be a Yodea Sefer, with such works on the market. What remains is an attitude that learning is only for those in Kollel or if you learn you are a “Chanyuk”

    That IMO tells a lot more than the number of shuls.

  21. Eric Leibman says:

    As this article makes quite clear, Avi Weiss and his minions aren’t even minutely concerned by the OU decision. Giving them any time at all is pointless. They should be expelled now and done with it. All the OU has done is make itself look pathetically weak and cowed while giving these people more time to make trouble.

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