Open Orthodoxy Update, Parshas Miketz
The TASC Group, a Public Relations Firm in Manhattan, recently won “Big Apple” PR awards for their campaign on behalf of Yeshivat Maharat, “Orthodox & Ordained: Making the Case for Women Rabbis in the Orthodox Jewish Community.” This campaign, in the “Campaigns with Budgets of $150,000 or Less” category, won for both “Diversity and Inclusion” and, interestingly enough, “Crisis Communication” — which is for “programs designed to protect and defend an individual or organization facing a public challenge to its reputation.” Those who oppose ordination of women do so based upon Halachic analysis — Yeshivat Maharat addresses this Halachic challenge by hiring a PR firm.
Ordination itself is not the only issue. Last year, PORAT (People for Orthodox Renaissance and Torah) claimed that “the women who are serving as Orthodox clergy are paragons of tzniut, exemplifying the highest Torah values.” Perhaps they did not intend to include Rabba Dr. Melanie Landau, though she was accepted to Yeshivat Maharat even after writing about her ambivalence towards Jewish tradition — writings once touted on Yeshivat Maharat’s website (as discussed in Chapter 7 of Why Open Orthodoxy is not Orthodox).
Open Orthodoxy is also still promoting Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz, despite his well-known, wildly radical and combative statements against normative Halachic Judaism. Besides promoting Yanklowitz’s own speeches, OO’s Rabbi Dov Linzer, President and Rosh Hayeshiva of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, recently spoke at Yanklowitz’s Valley Beit Midrash.
Dr. Yanklowitz opined that it is a “mitzvah” for homosexuals to “come out,” and he is hardly alone within OO. Yeshivat Chovevei Torah and Yeshivat Maharat recently hosted a program featuring an “Orthodox” rabbi who lives in an openly homosexual relationship, while a current fourth-year YCT rabbinic student, on track to become an Open Orthodox Rabbi at the end of the year, accepted a proposal from another man on stage at a rock concert. This is what Open Orthodoxy apparently considers K’Daas Moshe V’Yisrael.
A new student at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah proudly shared a photo taken while he sang at a bar with a woman.
Open Orthodoxy has even departed radically from founder Rabbi Avi Weiss’ ardent defense of Israel. Rav Hanan Schlesinger, a member of Open Orthodoxy’s International Rabbinic Fellowship, Torat Chayim, and Yeshivat Maharat’s Advisory Board, wrote an article offering Arab defenses for the brutal murder of American-Israeli hero Ari Fuld, such as the idea that Jews in Israel are an “assault on their very existence.” Ysoscher Katz, for his part, praised the election of Ilhan Omar, who engaged in open slurs against Israel, and Rashida Tlaib, who supports the destruction of Israel as well as a boycott, saying that because they are non-Caucasian their election reflects a “glorious manifestation of the divine multifacetedness” — placing ethnic diversity ahead of commitment to democracy and Jewish lives.