Open Orthodoxy Update, Parshas Chukas
The Rabbinate of Israel will not recognize rabbis ordained by Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, joining Agudath Israel, the Rabbinical Council of America, the Rabbinical Alliance of America, Young Israel, the Council of European Rabbis and others. Although the JTA calls them “Orthodox,” Orthodox rabbinic organizations disagree.
Rabbi Daniel Sperber, a member of both Yeshivat Chovevei Torah and Yeshivat Maharat’s advisory boards — and one of those ordaining the women graduating from Yeshivat Maharat — allows woman to remarry without a get.
Ysoscher Katz, Chair of the Talmud Department at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, claims that we need to ask “forgiveness” from the LGBTQ community because of Halacha’s “discriminatory” stance. While he says that it is his “religious duty to accept God’s will,” enforcing the halachos regarding homosexuality is “objectively wrong” and “a sin.”
JOFA, the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance, shares an article by Mike Moskowitz encouraging people to attend gay pride parades. Moskowitz is a former senior educator of Uri L’Tzedek, an “Orthodox social justice organization” founded and run by YCT graduates. It is often advertised that Moskowitz studied in the Mir (Jerusalem) and Lakewood, even though he champions views antithetical to their values.
Yeshivat Chovevei Torah graduate and dayan for conversions Avrum Mlotek goes even further, criticizing those who oppose gay marriage. He condemns those who remain faithful to the Torah’s dictates, says an ancient text will have “hateful tropes” and concludes, “Shame on any religious body or being who feels their commitment to text outweighs their love of people.”
Open Orthodoxy also continues its ecumenical activities. R. Hanan Schlesinger, member of the International Rabbinic Fellowship and Yeshivat Maharat advisory boards, invites Jews and Palestinians to a Muslim Iftar feast. An Open Orthodox synagogue in Baltimore, led by R. Eitan Mintz, a member of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah’s advisory board, invites a gospel band to perform in his synagogue. A reporter comments that “at times throughout the 90-minute concert, I had to remind myself that I was actually in a shul and not an African-American church setting.”
Congregation Kesher Israel in Washington DC installs R. Hyim Shafner, member of the boards of the International Rabbinic Fellowship and Yeshivat Maharat, as its new Rabbinic leader. Shafner previously wrote that Avraham failed the test of the Akeida.