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.