Open Orthodoxy Update, Parshas Devarim

Yeshivat Chovevei Torah’s enrollment continues to decline. There were 49 students during the 2014-15 academic year. This number has now dropped to 21. In addition, none of their most recent graduates (of which there were merely five) were hired by Orthodox synagogues.

Mike Moskowitz, who until recently served as Senior Educator at Uri L’Tzedek, an organization founded and run by graduates of YCT, says that “…the Jewish religious community should worry less about biblical injunctions and more about how to embrace transgender Jews so they don’t succumb to the transgender community’s high suicide rate.” In the same essay, he also seeks to redefine the Biblical prohibition of crossdressing.

Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, Yeshivat Maharat, and the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance sponsor a co-ed course on sexual education. In the past, besides speaking about the act of intimacy in great detail, participants were shown graphic photographs and models.

Torat Chayim, an Open Orthodox affiliated organization, trumpets its member Steve Greenberg, an “Orthodox” rabbi who lives openly in a homosexual relationship, and Eshel, a group whose leader predicted that the rabbis will eventually stop focusing on the Torah prohibition of homosexuality.

Uri L’Tzedek calls defending religious freedom “discriminatory” and calls for such practices to be struck down.

Rabbi Lila Kagedan, graduate of Yeshivat Maharat, and Rabbi Nathan Lopez-Cardozo, member of Torat Chayim, join with a non-Orthodox rabbi (under the auspices of a non-Orthodox organization) to discuss changing Orthodox Judaism.

A current student of Yeshivat Maharat writes an essay calling Moshe Rabeinu “cranky.” [This is but one of the article’s (least outrageous) attacks on Moshe Rabbeinu: “seems to violate all the fair fight rules… engages in a complete character assassination… ends his rant by losing his control… the epitome of a disproportionate response” and more. We know that a mevazeh talmidei chachamim, one who denigrates Rabbinic scholars, is one of the definitions of an apikorus, a heretic [Sanhedrin 99b]. No one who understands this could possibly refer to Moshe Rabbeinu in this fashion. This has strong implications for the level of education offered at Yeshivat Maharat. — Editor]

The Beltway Vaad, consisting of primarily Open Orthodox rabbis and maharats, sponsors an event including non-Orthodox clergy.

Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz, model graduate of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, discusses his forthcoming agena-driven book about Progressive Halacha. He admits that it will be “far too progressive for most Orthodox folks.” In another forum, he expressed his approval of a claim that accepting “transgender” preschoolers is a matter of life and death.

See also an article defending Israel’s Rabbinate against false attacks by Open Orthodoxy’s founder Rabbi Avi Weiss, and Rabbi Marc Angel, member of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah’s Advisory Board.

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11 Responses

  1. Steve Brizel says:

    The links sbow thhat OO is marching in accordance wirh the current Zeitgeist but beyond the pale of what anyone would call a reasonable definition of MO andvits training ground failing to attract students

  2. Bob Miller says:

    Where there’s a will, there’s an OO/YCT way. The Divine Will as expressed through authentic Torah is extraneous to their process.

    Their ever-more-frantic jockeying for attention reminds me of this old SNL episode with Buck Henry:

  3. Dr bill says:

    I wonder why a continual fascination with an insignificant factor in the US. In Israel there is a much stronger, growing and very significant movement capturing Jews across cultural divides. A much more fertile ground to try and attack

  4. Abe says:

    THANK YOU! to Cross Currents and Rabbi Rosenthal and Rabbi Gordimer for exposing this epicursis scourge on our community. Your efforts are bearing fruit and we really appreciate it.

  5. lacosta says:

    while the YCT grads may have been quaranteened from the O synagogue track, they are not closed off from the day school/university education wing. They can work on younger minds….

  6. Michael says:

    I agree! I made aliyah 6 years ago and am aghast at how fast left wing Orthodoxy seems to be growing in Yerushalayim.

  7. Steve Brizel says:

    The real ussue for the LW pf RZ is its indluence beyond those already converted to its raison de etre

  8. Bob Miller says:

    In Israel, there could be an audience for “Orthodox Lite” within the group that does certain traditional things and likes traditional symbols, but has a thoroughly Western attitude in most theoretical and practical respects. In the US, there could be a much lower percentage of fence-straddlers.

  9. lacosta says:

    do you think it’s the army or something else? this is like, instead of going full datlash , going OO or worse, no?

  10. dave says:

    I don’t know if it’s really an OO issue, but it pains me when I see people who have made Aliyah and quickly wind up less frum than what they were in chutz la’aretz. Worse, some of their children wind up completely OTD. It’s not universal, of course, but I can name a bunch off the top of my head just from people I know/knew. Perhaps it is romantic to think that those who are inclined to make Aliyah do so from deep conviction and courage; could they be expected to utilize that conviction to achieve a closer connection to HKBH?

    Where does the disconnect come from?

  11. Ralph Suiskind says:

    watered down judaism is the culprit… oo movement feds on ignorance and lack of full observance.. I witness this trend each and everyday. the zeitgest is actively engage in undermining jewish community especially those led by so-called modern orthodox rabbis. their willingness to allow questionable scholar in-residence to present their case before the ignorant masses paves the way for undermining traditional observance and wholesome jewish thinking… even though enrollment has dropped in their rabbinical institution, their influence continues to pervade many of our communities ….

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