Why Ben Shapiro Isn’t Quite Right

Ben Shapiro’s stinging rebuke of Modern Orthodoxy ought to be met with two reactions. The first is full-throated acclaim for his central premises, articulated with his usual clarity and incisiveness: Torah values must reign supreme. Those values are the touchstones through which we evaluate all new currents of thought; using any zeitgeist to judge Torah should be unthinkable. Contemporary secularism celebrates identity over virtue, and employs a new social contract to portray believers in an immutable morality as agents of repression of individual freedoms – which are the be all and end all of existence.

Most importantly, Ben correctly argues that parts of Modern Orthodoxy (MO) have heavenly bought into a secular morality which is nothing less than the antithesis of Torah. Bnei Torah should welcome his contribution.

There should be room for a second response as well. Ben Shapiro’s piece was good – breathtaking in parts – but not perfect. There are, I believe, two errors in his op-ed.

Ben places the cart before the horse, or as we would say in yeshiva circles, confuses the siman with the sibah. MO did not suddenly founder on the shoals of LGBQT agitprop. In fact, it is not buy-in to any single or group of foreign values that is the undoing of parts of the MO world. (It must be emphasized that Ben’s critique is only relevant to substantial parts of MO, but those parts do not define it. There are other parts that are healthy, vibrant, and committed to Torah in all its aspects. We should be careful not to be guilty of overreach.) Rather, as a dear colleague privately observed in the last few days, the problem with MO is not a particular hashkafah, but the lack of any hashkafah! Too many within MO have turned the clock back. They live as fiddlers on the roof of a new Anatevka, where there is much concern with Tradition, but not so much with necessary staples of Torah life like kabbolas ole/accepting the yoke of mitzvos in all their detail (whether convenient or not); bitul/submission to Hashem; and constant engagement with Hashem and His Will, and a personal relationship with Him. G-d has ceased to be the central pillar of MO life in places, and all sorts of other things have rushed into the vacuum.

By focusing on the cave-in to an extreme LGBQT agenda, Ben has cherry-picked. I am confused why this point, important as it is, has triggered his welcome piece – but not things like the watering-down of attitudes towards the kedushah of Shabbos, the seriousness and primacy of davening, and the disappearance of an objective form of tzniyus. When these are factored in, we can see that MO is sinking in a manner that will not be assisted by a lifeboat sent from conservative circles.

As second error, I believe, is that he is far too harsh on the leadership of some MO organizations. However accurate Ben’s depiction of parts of MO, it is certainly not true of OU leadership, which includes people sterling Bnei Torah. While my own sentiments align with the Agudah statement about the Respect for Marriage Act, I am loathe to criticize the very pragmatic decision to back the bill in order to win commitments for religious rights of dissenters. It is, as Ben correctly notes, hugely disappointing to have come to this point. We should not, in an optimum world, have to accept being labeled as benighted outliers begging for some crumbs. But it is hard to criticize the judgment call that crumbs in a rapidly devolving society are better than starvation.

The OU did not cave-in to the winds of the ethos of the street, even if some of its members have. Neither did YU, when it (rightly) created a vehicle to support the not-inconsequential numbers of students who must deal with the fact of their SSAs. The club it created was consistent with its policy of showing concern and care for those students and their struggles, while emphasizing that this must be done within the context of obedience to immutable halachah.

Why does it bear mention that some errors may have crept into Ben’s piece? Because all of us should be more concerned with finding solutions than with pointing fingers and schadenfreude. To do that, we must recognize the nature and extent of the problem – and also who can be among the allies in reconstruction.

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122 Responses

  1. Nachum says:

    Wow, Shapiro sums it up *perfectly.* His (brother-in-law’s) line about “chok-ification” is very, very apt.

    I will note that Shapiro inserts the same ellipses into the quote from R’ Lamm that his attackers did, but in his case he means well, at least.

    R’ Adlerstein, I think you’re misinterpreting what he’s saying, which is fair, as you probably know some of the people involved: Shapiro is not saying the people involved in the big organizations aren’t frum and well-meaning. He says *exactly* what’s motivating them. (The same thing motivating Cardozo to hang those filthy flags in its window, although of course in Cardozo’s case they’d never admit it, not even to themselves.) Fear, nervousness, etc. Did all Dutch people want to see the Jews shipped off? Of course not. Did all of them hide Jews in the back room? No.

    I will, however, take it a step further than Shapiro: The OU has an office in DC. It hosts events for Washington people. Its staff attend Beltway parties. You think that’s not going to have an affect? I once went, decades ago, on some “lobbying” trip the OU had in Washington. At lunch, they gave plaques to two senators, one Republican and one Democrat, because of course we have to be “even-handed” and “non-judgmental” and “non-partisan.” The Democrat was Ted Kennedy. Is all that really necessary? What message does it send to the Orthodox layman when he sees the rabbanim who certify his food as kosher smiling and shaking hands and giving a plaque to Ted Kennedy, or Chuck Schumer, or Nancy Pelosi?

    And I know this is getting personal, but I’ll take it a step further: In political matters, the OU is *officially* guided by someone who is *committed* to that side of the aisle, was in fact actually *employed* there for years. What do you think his guidance is going to be on issues like this? What stand do you think he’ll take for himself?

    As to YU, their counsel is actually based in Cardozo’s building. I should know, I worked in that office as a student. What advice do you think he’s going to give? Why, if YU has its own full-time lawyers, do you think it’s been represented in this case by a right-wing legal rights organization? Do you think their own lawyer is going to stick his neck out and risk being shunned when he takes the elevator up to his office, or goes to legal social events? (Trust me, it’s bad at Cardozo. I got some shunning myself decades ago for merely applying to the JAG Corps.) No siree.

    And on that topic, Shapiro is perfectly correct that the bill in question should have been fought tooth and nail. America is not a country that should have carve-outs for religious freedom. It’s not Europe, where Jews were “granted” rights in the 1800’s. America should have religious freedom with carveouts for the deviants, not the other way around. And, of course, those carveouts wouldn’t apply to the OU. Or to an Orthodox baker. You don’t give an inch here, because it will never stop. You’d think Jews of all people would recognize that. Halacha says that we don’t even change our shoelaces if ordered to do so. “You don’t die of a yellow star,” Eli Wiesel’s father says in Night. “What then did you die of?” Wiesel asks.

    • Nachum says:

      Sorry, I meant the carveouts wouldn’t apply to YU. The OU, maybe, but once you live under an exception, you can expect to have it removed.

    • marc hess says:

      outstanding, nachum

    • Tal Benschar says:

      At lunch, they gave plaques to two senators, one Republican and one Democrat, because of course we have to be “even-handed” and “non-judgmental” and “non-partisan.” The Democrat was Ted Kennedy. Is all that really necessary? What message does it send to the Orthodox layman when he sees the rabbanim who certify his food as kosher smiling and shaking hands and giving a plaque to Ted Kennedy, or Chuck Schumer, or Nancy Pelosi?

      Like it or not, these people wield power, and those who represent the Jewish people have to flatter them. That’s part of galus. The shtadlanim of their time had to flatter people like Ahashverosh, the Roman Emperors, the medieval monarchs and the Tsars, all of whom were considerably worse than those you named. Like garbage collection and sewer cleaning, it stinks, but someone has to do it.

      • Nachum says:

        No, we don’t live in Czarist Russia. We don’t have to flatter politicians.

      • lacosta says:

        and the proof of this is that the Aguda also has to dance Mah Yofis in front of the same theologically odious politicians……

      • Bob Miller says:

        As long as America hasn’t yet ceased to be a republic, we citizens have a duty to help weed out bad officials who strut about as rulers. Are the people that Shapiro criticizes doing the heavy lifting expected of all citizens, even behind the scenes? Or are they fat and happy living in the status quo?

  2. william l gewirtz says:

    Imagine two Kohanim one who violates the Sabbath and one who is openly gay ascend to duchen. Which will attract the ire of more members of the congregation? Is that a reflection of halakha or anti-gay bias?

    • Nachum says:

      I’ve duchaned alongside an openly gay kohen, at a shiva house as I recall. Otherwise religious, gabbai at his gay minyan, very nice guy, committed parent. I have no problem with that.

      Doesn’t mean I can’t be as strident as Shapiro is here, as indeed I am. We don’t live in such a Manichean world as the Left would prefer.

    • Sarah Elias says:

      I don’t know in which community you live, but in my (strongly TIDE) kehillah, neither of these men would be permitted to duchen. And both would be refused permission with the same vehemence.

    • Tal Benschar says:

      Third option: it’s a reflection of the fact that one is a recent flagrant breach, while the other has been going on for decades and people are inured to it.

      • william l gewirtz says:

        Sarah, Tal, you both make good points. While not the place for a strictly halakhic discussion, treating both similarly would seem justified. Halevi, that the gay Kohen attracts more criticism because we have become inured to hillul Shabbat as opposed to a different and less justifiable reason.

      • Nachum says:

        Tal: Yes, the fact that there is a massive campaign on now to push sexual deviance with no similar campaign against Shabbat should make a difference.

        Reuven, I’ve duchaned in a shiva house a number of times, lo alienu. Officially, yes, it shouldn’t happen, but as my rebbe says, kohanim are zerizim and they’ve paskened for themselves. If the avel is a kohen, sometimes he does, but usually he doesn’t.

      • mycroft says:

        Homosexuality has been going on for millenia. Apparently even some animals engage in it. Doesnt make it any less assur.

    • mycroft says:

      There are Rabbonim who take the position that both homosexuals and mechalle Shsbbas should be treated the same way-both are engaging in completely assur activities, but if schule permits major sinners such as Mechalei Shabbas-they should also permit same activities by gay people.

      • Steven Brizel says:

        What about allowing gay couples to celebrate their civil marriage? What about children raised in such arrangements? Whio is the father and who is the mother?

    • Yehoshua Kahan says:

      I could sympathize with a congregation that is more severe against either of these two reshaim. (I assume by “openly gay,” you mean that he is sexually active with other men and proudly declares as much about himself.)

      A public mechallel Shabbos has the din of a goy for many purposes. His shechita is posul, he doesn’t count for a minyan, he is posul for eidus. This is true only of a mechallel Shabbos and an oveid avodah zarah. From this perspective, he is worse than an open gay.

      An open gay, on the other hand, is both a transgressor of an aveirah which is yehareg v’al ya’avor, and agitates for the submission of Hashem and His Torah to secular anti-morality. There is no great movement to normalize and celebrate chillul Shabbos; there is such a movement to normalize and celebrate sexual deviance. From this perspective, he is worse than the mechallel Shabbos.

      By the way, we should have an anti-gay bias. We should be against active gays, and against idol-worshippers, and against murderers, and against mechallelei Shabbos. In general, we should be against all reshaim.

  3. Steven Brizel says:

    I comment here as an NCSY alumnus with much Hakaras hatov for NCSY and Koved Rosh for the OU for its dedication to kiruv and Chizuk via NCSY and its exemplary standards in Kashrus .

    WADR look at the statements by the OU on the so called Respect for ( same gender arrangements sanctioned by law and disdain for traditional marriage law Al Yiddie Chupah VKiddushin ) Law and Agudah.The OU statement was apologetic for Chupah and Kiddushin and came perilously close to accepting the legitimacy of same gender arrangements sanctioned by law . The Agudah statement ,in contrast, was a firm statement and defense of Halacha with zero apologetics

    YU may well win its case at SCOTUS with a conservative majority that is sensitive to free exercise cases that will focus on the religious facts and realia on the ground as opposed to the mere form of a charter which is not an uncommon means of legal analysis.The offer of a club that would meet YU’s objections was rejected by the plaintiffs who are interested only in tearing down what Rambam describes as Sefer Kedusha and who were alumni whose observance or lack there resulted in their being editors of the student newspaper that has a decidedly left wing person.That perspective was transmitted to the current governing board which refused to publish a letter that I coauthored and had published in a local free paper after much discussion .it is evident that the petition of alumni which is rooted ignorance and defiance of Halacha includes such work leaders as Randi Weingarten who ruined public school education .However the Commentator refused to publish a letter that mentioned that R CD Zwiebel of Agudah was the first editor in chief of the law review of Cardozo LS and that there was a strong presence of Torah observant students in the early years of Cardozo . We felt like we had run through the same woke and pre Musk Twitter gauntlet as Senator Tom Cotton with The NY Times

    • Bob Miller says:

      My fear is that morally offensive new legislation and new regulations will give the weak-minded in our organizations the all-purpose excuse of “the government made me do it”, and if not the government, then woke professional organizations and corporations. Already we see graduate departments making nice about CRT and DEI. To remain in their academic worlds they “need” to stay funded and accredited, and to place grads in good jobs.

  4. Steven Brizel says:

    When this administration convened a much ballyhooed conference on anti Semitism a representative of the OU who was invited to attend had nothing positive to say about the fact Agudah whose constituency was affected most by anti Semitism in their areas was not invited and seemingly and improperly dismissed that fact .IMO Agudah was not invited because it’s views are not woke enough for this administration and because it successfully challenged the decrees of Cuomo in court which was the beginning of the end of Cuomo and the pushback to Fauci’s policies and dreams of a Chinese style lockdown with even graver consequences for our society

    • Nachum says:

      I think Cuomo did a good enough job of destroying himself. Otherwise he’d probably still be in office.

    • mycroft says:

      Agudah which may well do more for Orthodoxy than the OU does not claim to represent Orthodoxy-for better or worse when Americans want to get coverage of Jewish population, they go to the UOJCA, USCJ, and the UAHC.

  5. Steven Brizel says:

    This was the letter that the YU Commentator refused to publish.https://view.flipdocs.com/?ID=10010717_883808 See page 60 for the continuation of the letter

  6. Steve Brizel says:

    FWIW neither Chilul Shabbos nor being LGBT is an Issur precluding a Kohen from Birkas Kohanim Yet both are grave transgressions

  7. joel rich says:

    We all have what to work on communally when it comes to outside influences. It takes a delicate dance between leadership and amcha to effectuate change. I’d suggest the MO community take the time to analyze the root causes and address them. I’d also suggest listening to the recent agudah convention and comments on materialism and other challenges facing the community. Hamevin Yavin that there is much work to do all around to resist the various and sundry sirens of yavan.

  8. Steven Brizel says:

    AFAIK, a Kohen who is either Mchalel Shabbos or who is LGBT probably can duchen ( IIRC there are differing views in the Poskim as to a Kohen Mchallel Shabbos) while a Kohen who married a Gerusha or Giyores who he cannot marry cannot duchen and should not be called to the Torah as a Kohen because he is a Chalal-a Kohen who is empty of Kedushas Kehunah . Chilul Shabbos and LGBT are not Issurim that areuniquely related to one’s status as a Kohen. I doubt that the average Torah observant family would consider such a Kohen who is Mchallel Shabbos or LGBT as a desirable marriage candidate for a daughter

  9. Avraham Keslinger says:

    I would add that we must differentiate between those who have homosexual or lesbian desires (and, BTW, halachically, the latter is much less serious) but are celibate or have halchically valid relationships and those who act on those desires.

    The former are gibborim (see Pirkei Avot 4,1). Indeed, Rav Shmuel Eliahu praised a bisexual singer who is married to a woman and faithful to her. The latter are committing sins and we should make no bones about it. However, there are worse sins and no one condemns those who commit them. A certain frum Jew who was imprisoned for massive financial fraud is even lionized and reputed to be a miracle worker.

    We all sin. Rabbi Shay Schachter said that his father paskened that a person who is known to habitually commit a sin may receive any aliya except one that includes the prohibition he violates. We condemn the sin but try to mekarev the sinner (see Beruria’s response to Rabbi Meir on Berachot 11a).

    • Sarah Elias says:

      Financial fraud is a worse sin than homosexual behavior?

      • william l gewirtz says:

        perhaps if one considers the resulting hillul haShem, financial fraud becomes more serious.

      • Nachum says:

        Well, the Torah uses the same language to condemn both. So equally bad.

      • lacosta says:

        while one is a chiyuv mitta and the other not , one is bein adam lamakom . the other, teshuva [ which includes restitution to the myriad victims ] might be impossible. if one felt eg that cheating the government wasn’t actually muttar….

      • mb says:

        “Financial fraud is a worse sin than homosexual behavior?”
        I’m having a difficult time understanding why anybody would/could ask such a question. So I assume it’s meant as humour. Am i correct?

    • The peaked cap says:

      Just because he was imprisoned does not mean that he is guilty.
      Which is why the question is moot. Those that believe him to be a miracle worker, don’t believe that he is guilty of any averos.

  10. afrumrabbi says:

    Rabbi Adlerstein, your quibbles are òn the mark, but you too are missing the point.
    For the past thirty years, Yeshiva educators have been sounding the alarm: the youth in Modern Orthodox high schools are not frum.
    Most cannot read a line of gemara, never heard of Tosafos, and only a small percentage have any interest in doing so. A significant minority are suspect of severe sin. The schools are failing in their mission, and it is too late to steer the ship back on course, because the leaders have invested all their pride and energy in declaring that their educational approach indeed differs from traditional Yeshivos. Closing their eyes to gilui arayus and other cardinal sins, the aging commenters on this and other similar blogs, still cry out: “But, Rav Soloveichik allowed co-education at Maimonides in the 1940’s”, “Rav Soloveichik was a philosopher”, “Rav Soloveichik said we should teach gemara to girls “. Great ideology, but in the meantime, the only message that the youth have picked up is: ‘We don’t need to be like the hated Charedim’, ‘You don’t need to learn all day – join the Ivy League’, and ‘Why don’t Yeshiva Bachurim join the Israeli army?!’. How sad and tragic. Whereas one Rav Aharon Kotlar changed the face of American Jewry with pure dedication to Torah learning, a few arrogant rabbis who needed money and attention padded their own reputations while a generation was destroyed.

    • mb says:

      afrumrabbi has some issues!
      And, Most cannot read a line of gemara, never heard of Tosafos,Really?
      Oddly, most Cheredim have never heard f Philo Judaeus ha Kohen.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Many haven’t opened a Gemara since high school

      • afrumrabbi says:

        Thank you mb for validating my point precisely

      • Sarah Elias says:

        Why would they need to know of him?

      • Nachum says:

        If you’re going to give him a Hebrew title, then use his Hebrew name, Yedidya. 🙂

      • Yeshivaguy says:

        Why is that so odd?

      • AdJ says:

        As someone who has been haredi, modern, and now non-denominational, I concur with afrumrabbi’s point. Rav Soloveichik’s legacy of strong torah scholarship coupled with strong secular scholarship has only resonated with a tiny minority of the modox world. Many if not most teens care about neither. They are more concerned with doing whatever feels good and maybe fighting for fashionable social causes. I don’t think ‘most cannot read a line of gemara and never heard of tosafos’ is an exaggeration. I can think of a bunch of people I know who fit that bill. When I was in college, a very intelligent friend who attended a ritzy expensive modox school did not know what the word ‘tamei’ meant. This is all probably going to get a lot worse with the post-covid generation.

      • dr. bill says:

        about 55 years ago, i was sitting with the late prof. Hyman and prof. warren (zev) harvey at dinner when we were joined by a RY ztl in YU cafeteria. Prof. Hyman mentioned a notion by Philo which was mentioned by Rav Saadyah Gaon. The RY asked how do you know Rav Saadyah took it from Philo, maybe philo took it from Rav Saadyah.

        I have 5 grandsons who all attended DRS, A MO HS, who read gemara and rishonim very well; they don’t even text during bein hashemashot 🙂

      • mb says:

        ” The RY asked how do you know Rav Saadyah took it from Philo, maybe philo took it from Rav Saadyah.”
        A few years ago I heard a similar idea from an RY, that Abraham taught the Babylonians the Hammurabi Codes(well, just the good bits, at least.)

    • A Thinking Talmid says:

      There are plenty of boys in YU orbit high schools that learn quite well for their age.

      There are plenty of boys in Yeshivish schools that can’t learn.

      Granted, there absolutely is a causative relationship between hashkafa and % of boys who can learn but the statement “Most cannot read a line of gemara, never heard of Tosafos, and only a small percentage have any interest in doing so” is a tremendous exaggeration.

  11. D K says:

    With all due respect to Ben Shapiro and all the good he does accomplish, who made him a M’an D’amar? Just because he’s super smart and idolized by the right-wing, this makes him someone to have a De’ah about religion? It’s one thing if he was a product of BMG or the Mir and he comes with a Mesorah or Daas Torah, but from where does he get his ideas from? His own wisdom?
    Right-wingers or Republicans and really all of America and the Western World has much to gain from his knowledge and acumen, but we, as Torah Jews, have our leaders to look to for the causes and reasons for these sort of things.

    • Steve Brizel says:

      Ben Shapiro in addition to being a prominent conservative thinker is a Ben Torah who learns every day and always supports the institution of marriage as a man and wife who will raise a family of children You can have a pretty basic knowledge of Halacha and Hashkafa to set forth the centrality of the family as the first line of the transmission of Torah and morality in Yiddishkeit . I think his assessment of social media as inappropriate for anyone under 18 would be considered as mainstream in our communities

    • Sarah Elias says:

      He’s allowed to have an opinion, just like anyone else. He’s allowed to express it too, and when he does express it there are thousands of people who are guided by his opinion. That makes it important to discuss whether his opinion is correct or not. IMO.

    • mycroft says:

      It is irrelevant if Ben Shapiro does good or bad-it depends on what one believes politically is good for the country. He has very little Jewish education certainly compared to all the contributors of Cross-Currents and probably less than many of us who post comments. Would suspect that he has less Jewish education than a majority of people who post comments-.

      • Yehoshua Kahan says:

        How do you know Mr. Shapiro’s level of Torah knowledge? And why do you think that accusing him of being an am ha’aretz is mutar? This is very severe lashon hara, at best.

      • Steven Brizel says:

        Shapiro went tio MO institutions from K-12 and learnsevery day-I suspect that he would make an excellent writer here.

    • AdJ says:

      That’s kind of his point — the rabbinic leadership has failed the modox community. I’m sure he’d prefer the rabbis had done their job but they haven’t. “We as torah jews have our leaders” — who, exactly? Which leader is effectively fighting this fight with courage and confidence? What are they doing to get more modox ppl on their side?

  12. Reb Yid says:

    Jon Kroll at SAR gets it. So do the leaders at my shul.

    Individuals who at a very young age have a different sexual orientation (or show awareness that their gender orientation differs in some way from their biological sex) are under heavy assault in society. If you look at groups disproportionately affected by suicide, depression and hate crime discrimination they are right up there at the top.

    This is just in general society. Then add the reactionary Orthodox component to the mix and the communal pressures against them in whatever contexts they find themselves–day schools and yeshivot, camps and synagogues–become unbearable.

    It would be all too easy for such individuals to leave the Orthodox fold, and many indeed have-for good reason. But amazingly, there are some who wish to stay. Instead of treating such individuals with utter contempt, as if they are part of some sinister worldwide conspiracy bent on destroying humanity a la Mr. Shapiro and his ilk, most Orthodox institutions, rabbis and followers need to instead do a far better part of treating such Jewish individuals as living and breathing human beings, and extremely vulnerable ones at that.

    • Bob Miller says:

      If they were committed and devoted to practicing any other sin, and would refuse to stop practicing it, would you let them off so easily?

      • Reb Yid says:

        At my shul it doesn’t matter who one chooses to vote for, what school one chooses to send one’s kid to (Orthodox, other Jewish, other private, public), how fancy or casual one chooses to dress, how one comes to shul (walking or driving). Every individual is warmly welcomed and free to participate on an equal footing.

        All the moreso for conditions where one is wired a certain way from birth. And quite often we’re talking about individuals age 8, 10, 12, 14, 16 or 18. Their families span the gamut of political orientation. Perhaps if more individuals on this blog personally knew these families they’d stop making insulting comments about these victims.

      • Bob Miller says:

        There’s a vast difference between wired and inclined. And between inclined and influenced. You accept as science whatever fits your prior outlook. Last time I checked, all the people in Tanach were living, breathing, often vulnerable human beings, which did not give them license to act as they pleased.

    • Mark says:

      I don’t know Jon Sarr, but if you’re the once recommending him, I have a feeling that I’m not missing much.

      “most Orthodox institutions, rabbis and followers need to instead do a far better part of treating such Jewish individuals as living and breathing human beings, and extremely vulnerable ones at that”

      Nope. They need to do a far better job of refusing to accept the nonsense foisted upon unsuspecting human beings by a liberally-driven media and culture and shout from the rooftops that this is all a scam. Is there a small minority of individuals who are genuinely confused about their gender? Likely yes. And they deserve compassion and empathy together with encouragement to reject whatever deviant lifestyles they may be tempted to engage in. But to pretend that their numbers are anywhere near where the media would have you believe is to encourage madness and illness and will only cause much greater heartbreak for those foolish enough to buy into this.

      If, as the LBGQT advocates claim, this group is most prone to depression and suicide, they ought to do everything in their power to dissuade people from trying it. Instead they act as if it’s the most normal thing in the world and anyone who isn’t questioning their gender is racist and homophobic. Cruel and heartless and insincere.

      • Steven Brizel says:

        Reb Yid wrote iin relevant part:
        ” If you look at groups disproportionately affected by suicide, depression and hate crime discrimination they are right up there at the top.”

        Proof and links to objective data based studies that would suppor such a claim ;please?

    • Yehoshua Kahan says:

      Or, alternatively, we could reject the Greco-Roman pagan nonsense that you are spouting and follow in the path of the Avos Hakedoshim, Moshe Rabbeinu, the neviim, tannaim, amoraim, and chochmei Yisroel of all generations. Incidentally, how does a misyaven like yourself celebrate Chanukah?

      Yes, I think we should do that.

    • Steven Brizel says:

      It is tragic that the leaders at your shul and SAR supposedly “get it” and vkiew the views of the Torah and Chazal as the so called ” reactionary Orthodox component”

  13. A Thinking Talmid says:

    I think Rabbi Adlerstein is spot on when critiquing Ben Shapiro’s focus on LGBTQ+ issues. I agree with many of the ideas Ben Shapiro expresses. However, as Rabbi Adlerstein noted, Ben Shapiro is: 1. mistaking a siman to be the sibah and 2. there have been many other simanim for years, why is he only writing now?

    I also think the article Ben Shapiro Needs to Learn from Ben Shapiro on Fighting Antisemitism is both insightful and relevant. המבין יבין

    Again, I agree with much of Ben Shapiro’s substance but his form undermines much of his argument. As Ben Shapiro aptly put it at the end of his article, we cling to and follow Torah, not any other ideology. Any chizuk, which certainly includes Ben Shapiro’s article, is appreciated.

  14. Steve Brizel says:

    I think Shapiro is correct in his assessment of the relentless movement and demands of the ideology which underlies the LGBT movement which assured anyone that it only wanted private tolerance then moved to civil unions and marriages and now wants same gender marriages to be granted equal protection of the law with interracial marriages which have been constitutionally protected since the late 1960s and the indoctrination of young children into its ideology of unbridled sexual fluidity at as young an age as possible.This is not the last stop as the LGBT movement will demand that its lifestyle be taught as normal to our children under the penalty of the removal of tax exemptions for religious institutions and the legalization of pedofilia and bestiality .We are communally foolhardy if we do not recognize this ideology as a threat to our communities , families and values .Those who ponder who is entitled to an aliyah IMO are clearly missing the larger picture that is a movement guided by unbridled hedonism which is a major hashkafic theme in understanding what Chanukah was all about .

  15. Yehoshua Friedman says:

    The best tikkun for MO Jews that they should be more able to stomach is to make aliya. Much less frum people in Israel know more Torah and keep more mitzvot than MO American Jews. A rebuke from an Israeli taxi driver without a kippa would do them a world of good.

    • lacosta says:

      my understanding that the the dropout rate of DL —> Datlash is enormous [ >20% } , and the proportion of date [sic ] that are actually dati-extremely-lite is equally huge. so moving to Israel would be an easy place for these kids to march OTD….

  16. Yehoshua Friedman says:

    The primacy of regular and thoughtful Limud Torah in the Jewish lifestyle should also be stressed more than it is in most of the MO world.

    • Yehoshua Kahan says:

      The primacy of regular and thoughtful limud Torah should be stressed more than it is throughouth the entire Jewish world. There is no human being in the world, not a single person, that sufficiently appreciates the centrality of limud Torah. This is not a derogation, chas v’shalom, from the kavod of gedolei Yisroel. It’s a simple fact that no finite being can fully appreciate infinity.

      • Mark says:

        While that is certainly true, it’s irrelevant to his point.

        We all have work to do – that’s obvious. But to claim that the centrality of Torah is lacking in the Charedi world is not to understand or know it at all.

        Sadly, in the MO world, it’s desperately lacking. And that was his point.

  17. Steven Brizel says:

    https://www.ou.org/news/orthodox-union-holds-urgent-meeting-on-antisemitism-in-new-york-city-with-dhs-secretary-mayorkas-sen-schumer-gov-hochul-mayor-adams/Did anyone ask Mayorkas about his abysmal performance in dealing with the terrible crisis of illegal immigration at the southern border?

    • Bob Miller says:

      Name one prominent Jew in the Biden Cabinet or inner circle, or Democratic Party national leadership who is none of these:

      1. Corrupt
      2. Incompetent
      3. Socially destructive

      The ones we have there are an open insult to our people. Yes, we need to deal with them on some level, but we should avoid any flattery whatsoever.

      • Reb Yid says:

        You’re right. Mnuchin, Jared, Ivanka, Lev Parnas, Weisselberg for starters. Shanda after shanda.

        Oh wait, that was under The Former Guy.

  18. Steven Brizel says:

    One issue that we haven’t discussed in this thread is marriage-the Charedi world views early marriage as a very important goal, while in the MO world, extended singlehood is accepted-despite much sociological and anecdotal evidence that extended singlehood has a direct relationship with a lowering of one’s religious standards and committment. I am not claiming that MO should adopt the shidduch system , which has its own issues and problems which are discussed in the Charedi media , but rather an increased emphasis in the MO world on the desirability of early marriage and considering of means by which dating and marriage are faciliated at an early age. Yes, due to the rise in divorce, we have a phenomenon of single parenting-but despite the recent focus on the same , it is difficult to conceive that a child brought up in such an environment will have the complete experience of family life that is present in an intact family that works on solving problems together with an awareness of the different emotional and educational needs of each member of the family.

  19. Michael Lipkin says:

    Ben is, first and foremost a businessman, and a successful one at that. His brand is “owning the libs”, his major market is Evangelical Christians. The irony of this piece, or any where he feigns to be speaking as an orthodox Jew, is that he’s merely using his high school level knowledge of orthodox sources and filtering them through the prism of fundamentalist Christianity. (Which is often not dissimilar from fundamentalist Judaism.) So while he wears a kippa and appears as if he’s speaking as a modern orthodox Jew from Boca, in actuality it’s the voice, ideology and theology of an evangelical from Alabama.

    • Mycroft says:

      Very well put. Certainly all of Cross-Currents contributors have a much greater knowledge of our sources as do probably the vast majority of commentators.

    • Mark says:

      Strong words without much to back them up.

      As a Charedi Jew, I read his words and they seemed to be right in line with what I believe and have believed for many years. I know nothing about evangelical theology or ideology. Am I also masquerading as a Charedi?

      Sadly, Ben knows very well where he speaks of. He may not be the most learned Jew, but he’s well on his way to knowing at least as much, if not more, than most MO Jews his age. He’s also spent the better part of the last fifteen years seriously considering, debating, and researching these issues. He’s not a lightweight and doesn’t merely yell and shout for effect or for clicks. He much more than a simple entertainer, he’s an intellectual of depth and seriousness, even if not yet at the level of some of the greats.

      MO has reached an inevitable crossroads, of sorts. Without major issues to confront, it’s sometimes hard to tell how hollow their core truly is. Covid did an impressive job of revealing a lot of that. Most MO shuls have not recovered from the devastation that they wrought with their accommodationist policies of closing shuls, limiting shofar blasts, and multiple small minyanim, well after the rest of mainstream Orthodoxy saw through the sham of lockdowns. Far too many MO’s no longer attend shul and have a handy excuse, “My rabbi said that it’s not so important…”

      The inadequate emphasis on Kodesh in MO life and schools is apparent for all but the most ostrich-like in our society. While some kids will do alright, FAR too many will be lost. THE LBGQT movement is about to lay waste to MO which hasn’t responded to liberalism with force until now and won’t be able to now either.

      It’s a disaster and one that we should all be terrified of. These are our own brothers and sisters and they deserve far better. Sadly, their leadership is still hanging onto alleged statements, rulings, and policies, of a leader who passed away thirty years ago and has never been replaced by anyone of even remotely similar stature. How truly tragic.

      • Bob Miller says:

        Today’s typical MO response to serious political infringements on morality is equivocation. The leaders don’t act to rattle their followers out of their reverie. Perhaps, the wealthier, more liberal followers are really in charge, and open leadership opposition to Jewishly offensive trendy ideas would draw their wrath.

    • Yehoshua Kahan says:

      I don’t envy the gehennom you’ve earned for yourself with that horrible piece of lashon hara and chillul Hashem.

    • Steven Brizel says:

      Shapiro chamnpons the traditional family and does so by marshalling sources from Tanach and Chazal. Ifyou have learned Chumash with the traditional Mefarshim and Seder Nashim even on a DafYomi level and spoken at a Sheva Brachos you can do the same quite well to anyone and any audience without being in the least apologetic

    • Robert Lebovits says:

      You have just proven one of Shapiro’s points.
      Ben Shapiro graduated from a MO high school over 20 years ago. If you believe that is an inadequate education alone for him to offer his opinions on religious matters, how much more so today is a MO high school education – even with the Israel year of “exploration” which is the most Jewish education for a majority of current MO youth – woefully meager in preparing them to remain true to Torah in the terribly challenging world they face! Do we know how much learning he has pursued since then? You might ask him before engaging in ad hominem attacks which in no way discredit his theses.

  20. Bob Miller says:

    I sent this as a letter to OU’s Jewish Action awhile back, and they published some of it:

    The Winter 2021 issue of Jewish Action is full of good ideas, eloquently expressed, for stemming the defection rate of Orthodox Jews. But one big idea needs more attention, namely, that the characteristic approach of Modern Orthodoxy must be reevaluated in light of massive changes in the culture around us.

    MO focuses much attention, in theory and practice, on our interactions with the outside world. As we speak, much of America is in a precipitous moral and social decline, often in the very places we choose to live. Toxic, socially corrosive concepts such as critical race theory and a redefined “equity” have made inroads into sectors of our own educational institutions. In our business, professional, and academic worlds, we’re now knee-deep in territory that is hostile conceptually and often physically. So how can we maintain the exact same relationship with the outside that we’ve fostered and cherished until now? The same balance between Torah and Mada, now that Mada is frequently corrupted and politicized?

    Rav S.R. Hirsch ZT”L in 19th Century Europe realized that, while the entire Torah is eternal, its contemporary modes of application cried out for an update. What worked in the ghetto confines was grossly ineffective after legal emancipation. We have a new revolution going on around us, and its powerful media work to implant false ideals in us non-stop. We don’t only need to get our message across with greater skill and empathy. We need to make sure it’s today’s true message.

    To cope, Modern Orthodoxy, notwithstanding its past successes, must conduct, consider, and implement a thorough self-review on the highest level.

  21. mycroft says:

    .As we speak, much of America is in a precipitous moral and social decline

    Really-Americas had slavery until Civil War-legal discrimination against minorities until the 1960s
    Certainly, wasn’t moral in not making possible for Jews who wished to escape the Nazis in the 1930s and 1940s. Letting people die is not the height of morality.

    • Mark says:

      To the contrary – those were common practices inherited from previous times and ultimately they got rid of them. They were the first country to go to war to abolish slavery, they granted equal rights long before others. They were perfect, but they were trending upwards.
      Nowadays, the trend is downwards. They openly celebrate and champion immoral causes which were historically frowned upon.
      It’s hard to believe that folks find this difficult to comprehend.

      • mycroft says:

        They were the first country to go to war to abolish slavery,

        US did not go to war to abolish slavery-it went to war to prevent states from leaving-only later did slavery become the issue

      • Reb Yid says:

        Before and during the Civil War, the Bible was actually used to defend slavery, including rabbis.

        Does that mean we went “against Torah” when slavery was outlawed? Does that mean that just because the Torah permits slavery, that human beings should ever be allowed to use it ever again?

        Not a chance.

      • Bob Miller says:

        See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yBDLRHjU8d0

        From 1862—first performed in public as part of a Union Army recruiting drive in Chicago.

    • Bob Miller says:

      There have been national ups and downs. At least admit when a down that directly affects us is staring us in the face.

    • Steven Brizel says:

      How many ancient or medieval nations abolished slavery fought a civil war wthin 100 years of their existence, and outlawed all vestiges of legal segregation within the next hundred years and then after being woken up from an isolationist slumber led the fight against the Axis ? That;s a pretty good record when compared with ancient or medieval empires which is how history is read, as opposed to using today'[s standards to engage in cancel culture of the past and great people who took risks and made mistakes Yes-America has been undergoing moral and social decline-but that can be traced to the mid 1960s as opposed to 1619. ..

    • Steven Brizel says:

      for those interested in social and moral decline, see what social medicine leads to here.https://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/no-other-options

  22. I think Ben Shapiro is just the kind of “lay-thought-leader” that Modern Orthodoxy desperately needs.
    He is young, clear thinking and articulate, a little too brainy perhaps, but does not intimidate. He communicates directly and with his heart, and without intellectual fluff or rhetorical flourishes in a way that everybody can understand.
    Ask yourself:
    1) how many rabbis who REGULARLY comment pubically on the social/moral/political issues of the day as they relate to Jewish values are known by internet-saavy high-schoolers and college kids in MO communitites?
    2) How many MO rabbis have the kind of reach that Ben Shapiro has?
    3) And how many of them are as unapologetic in going against liberal values and social trends that are antithetical to Torah as Ben Shapiro?
    Maybe Rabbi Pruzansky is the only other one I can think of for #3.

    For the life of me, I can’t understand why commentors here are trying to pull down Ben Shapiro for being a Baal teshuvah who came to yiddishkeit later in life and hasn’t learned as much as those here–as if that somehow makes him less qualified for being a lay-thought-leader.\
    Shame on you guys for being so full of yourselves/or feel insecure by a new-comer who has fresh ideas and a huge platform.
    Bottom Line: We need people like Ben Shapiro for MO youth to get behind and be inspired by.

    • Bob Miller says:

      “I can’t understand why commentors here are trying to pull down Ben Shapiro for being a Baal teshuvah who came to yiddishkeit later in life and hasn’t learned as much as those here…”

      Pulling rank, ad hominem argumentation….often happens when the other guy’s logical argument from facts is tough to refute on merit.

      Snobs should turn this around and ponder why it was left to a comparative neophyte to see and describe this problem clearly.

    • mycroft says:

      Yahadus should be represented by experts in Yahadus not politicians on either the right or left. Ben Shapiro is not an appropriate spokesman for Yahadus, he has other agendas-pushing RW ideology

  23. Tal Benschar says:

    What we need to understand is that we are living in a dor hashchasa. The utter disregard for any boundaries, moral and ethical, is what characterized the dor ha mabul. This has been evident in Western society for some time, and has only accelerated in recent years.

    What to do? As for anything, look into the Torah. Noach had to deal with this situation, and left us a legacy (toldos Noach) to deal with it. He was a tzaddik tamim– meticulous in everything required of him morally and ethically. It is only through unapologetic and rigorous adherence to Divinely ordained boundaries that one can survive in this situation.

  24. D K says:

    What many of the commentators seem to be missing in Ben Shapiro is that his letter itself is the result of the Modern Orthodox problem. The comments here keep on saying the same thing. “The Rabbanim aren’t saying anything, so someone has to get up and say something”. Or, “Just because he’s not such a Talmid Chacham, that doesn’t disqualify him from voicing his opinion”.
    This itself is part of what Ben is talking about and his letter is a continuation of those very issues. “Them Rabbanim” do say things. You may have to ask them privately. You may have to understand their words. But they are talking. We live in Galus where everything can and is recorded and may be used against you at any time in the future. The words of the Rabbanim must be carefully weighed to do good and not do harm. Them “not saying anything” does not automatically qualify those who do want to talk the right to talk.
    Regarding his status as a Talmid Chochom. Yes. He is not qualified to give his opinion on a large part of Orthodox Jewery without an extremely deep understanding of the Torah, the Mesorah, and having a strong connection to Torah Hashkofos. It’s exactly this issue, that he doesn’t understand that he thinks he, and many of the commentators here as well miss, that makes him not qualified at all. It’s not hate/conceited to say such a thing, even if you feel that way. Its the facts.And they don’t care about your feeling.
    Again. Ben Shapiro does great things for the western world in general. But as Torah Jews we should not be turning to him for guidance in religious matters. Let him preach politics and Judeo-Christian values to the US and the rest of the world and we will turn to our Rabbanim and Roshei Yeshivos for guidance in the Jewish world.

    • Robert Lebovits says:

      “But as Torah Jews we should not be turning to him for guidance in religious matters.”
      Recognizing the validity of his view on MO does not mean one is making Shapiro a hashkafic authority. It only means some commenters believe he has brought forward important insights that should be of great concern to all Jews, particularly members of the MO community.
      I must disagree with R. Adlerstein. I don’t see him confusing cause and effect. Rather, his focus on the manner in which progressive ideology has taken hold of society can be seen most clearly in the way a psychiatric disorder has been turned into a social classification that ought to be celebrated and advanced.
      Of course, that is not the only issue as it is an ideology intent on distorting reality and identifying anyone who tries to express the truth as an evil actor who deserves to be cast out. Shapiro argues that it is becoming the dominant worldview in the secular world and consequently a particular threat to the segment of the frum world that seeks to merge Torah with the secular. I would say his perspective is compelling. Certainly, progressivism is now THE value system in academia, making a secular university virtually incompatible with Torah principles.
      Shapiro’s Torah knowledge may be lacking, but his understanding of the general culture is profound. And he is issuing a warning that should not be dismissed.

    • Bob Miller says:

      What Gedolim are giving you marching orders through any public or private channels to enable you to resist the liberal/left zeitgeist effectively and to decouple from liberal politicians?

  25. Steven Brizel says:

    Then look at this statement by the OUhttps://www.ou.org/news/ou-welcomes-president-bidens-establishment-of-interagency-task-force-to-combat-antisemitism/which alowed itself to be a pawn of the woke left that asserts that anti Semitism is only to be found on the domestic right when in fact its worst practitioners are in the academic left and in the inner cities of Democractic run citiies This task force IMO will never touch the issue of who perpetrates the crimes against OrthodoxJews that occur on a daiy basis in Orthodox neighborhoods in NY and elsewhere and is virtue signalling at its worst

  26. Steven Brizel says:

    https://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/modern-orthodoxy-and-morality-in-response-to-ben-shapiro/2022/12/21/ This is a critique of Shapiro’s main thesis which IMO isan exercise in cherry picking while ignoring the facts on the ground

    The author claims:

    “Others take the opposite tack, arguing that as we look to meet the profound needs and challenges confronting both members of the LGBTQ+ community and the larger Modern Orthodox community, we should avoid staking out clear-cut ideological positions so as not to alienate, and instead invest our energies into providing support for these individuals.

    But this is a false choice. Both approaches are correct; in our current reality, they can and must coexist. We must be forthright and confident in articulating our values, but we should also avoid being needlessly antagonistic, intellectually dishonest, or uncharitable in our interpretations. Further, such confidence does not diminish, but in fact increases our obligation to support and, yes, embrace the most vulnerable members of our community.”

    This IMO is a false dichotomy-the Torah demands and that is a major theme of Chanukah as well is that we reject what passes for manmade ethics and be subservient to Torah and its values. and reject the debased raison de etre of what passes for civilized society.

  27. Steven Brizel says:

    Machon Yerushalayim which pubishes excellent editions of Sefarim and is the publisher of Otzar Mefarshei HaTalmud published a great Otzar Mefarshei Chanukah on the relevant Sugyos dealing with Chanuka, the well kwown question of the Beis Yosef as well as line by explanations of Al HaNisim and Maoz Tzur.It is very clear that if you look at each line of Al HaNissim Chazal recognized that there was a neccessary kulturkampf between Hellenistic hedonism and Torah values.IMO It illbehooves anyone in the institutions of MO to claim that such a struggle is not underway today that can be met by meeting the “profound needs and challenges confronting both members of the LGBTQ+ community and the larger Modern Orthodox community,” which have in their ideological goal the destruction of traditional family values and all faith based communities., and their institutuions MO has to learn to say that not all aspects of contemporary life can or should be made compatible with a life predicated on being Maalin BKodesh vlo Moridin

  28. Shades of Gray says:

    “As second error, I believe, is that he is far too harsh on the leadership of some MO organizations…The OU did not cave-in to the winds of the ethos of the street…Neither did YU”

    Below are some examples of how the OU and YU consulted with their rabbinic authorities on issues of the day including LGBTQ:

    Moshe Bane of the OU discussed a Jewish approach to homosexuality during a symposium in 2018 with R. Yaakov Horowitz and R. Eytan Kobre sponsored by the Jewish Heritage Center of Queens & Long Island. Moshe Bane related that he had visited the Novominsker Rebbe and asked him how the OU/JLIC should address the issue of homosexuality as well as many other OU issues. He similarly said that he, R. Weinreb and another NCSY/JLIC professional spent three hours with a leading American poseik asking questions relating to NCSY/JLIC (see “JHC Lights Chinese Auction ” video available online, beginning Minutes 28 and 36-40).

    Rabbi Dr. Ari Berman said at a meeting with RIETS roshei yeshivah that he had responded to someone who questioned him regarding YU’s position on a controversial issue saying, “I didn’t take this particular position. The yeshiva didn’t take this particular position. The Ribbono shel Olam took this position three thousand years ago at Matan Torah and that’s what guides us.” See R. Aryeh Lebowitz’s introduction this summer to R. Ari Berman’s “Living a Full Life of Avodas Hashem”(Minute 2) linked below:


    R. Yaakov Neuburger, rosh yeshiva, RIETS and Dr. David Pelcovitz were part of a team who developed “Fostering an Inclusive Community”, an initiative formulated in 2020 to “generate awareness and sensitivity, and help our students develop a thoughtful, halakhic, value-driven approach to their interactions” with LGBTQ+ students in the YU community(YU Observer).

    R. Hershel Schachter and other senior Roshei Yeshiva endorsed the new Kol Yisrael Areivim Club grounded in Halacha for LGBTQ students striving to live authentic Torah lives as an alternative to the YU Pride Alliance and enhanced on-campus support services for its LGBTQ students. Rabbis Mordechai Willig and Michael Rosensweig were also involved in the club’s formation, according to people present at an internal meeting on the matter(YU Commentator).

    • Biob Miller says:

      About this club:
      It’s logical to assume that the Jewish student members will commit their characteristic violations of Torah Law somewhere,. Are the endorsing authorities expecting such violations to diminish or disappear over time because of YU’s influence (including the “support services”) on the club? Would the student members have a similar expectation, or would they look forward to validation in their previous behavior pattern? Nowadays, public”gay” advocates scream unholy hell whenever they get wind of a genuine effort to turn their community members around. They would take notice of any such effort at YU, don’t you think? And try to make it illegal?

    • Steven Brizel says:

      All of the above is true-yet the plaintiffs rejected it as insufficient which shows that they are not interested in such a laudable compromise but rather in tearing down all Halachic prohibitions in this area

  29. Shades of Gray says:

    Bob and Steve,

    My point was to show that YU and the OU ask sheilos of the halachic authorities who guide them. While Ben Shapiro doesn’t have to agree with the positions of these organizations, it is incorrect for him to write that the decisions of the organizations “embraced the secular worldview and, in doing so, threaten the obliteration of Orthodox Judaism itself,” or to refer to these groups as “Nervous Orthodox” or “Clumsy Orthodox.” Indeed, one person’s “Nervous Orthodoxy” is also another’s prudent judgment, as R. Tzvi Sinensky wrote in his Jewish Press response.

    YU’s strategy seems to be aimed at encouraging the more moderate LGBTQ students who would be satisfied with the Kol Yisrael Areivim Club. In the courtroom of public opinion, YU can now demonstrate that “we love all of our students including those who identify as LGBTQ.” The club and on-campus support services seem to be more about psychological support, anti-bullying, allowing “space to grow in their personal journeys, navigating the formidable challenges which they face in living a fully committed, uncompromisingly authentic halachic life within our communities” rather than of flaunting a gay identity. At the same time, YU continues to defend itself in the lawsuit whose issues are broader than endorsing an LGBTQ club, affecting the university’s religion-based decisions with potential consequences way beyond YU (see links).



    Already in 2020, YU took this approach with its “Fostering an Inclusive Community” letter for which R. Yaakov Neuburger of RIETS and Dr. David Pelcovitz were signatories, and in 2021 it announced that there will be three new confidential support groups for students on both campuses, including one group for LGBTQ support. Even the YU Pride Alliance board at the time praised the support groups as a “great, significant step” towards improving LGBTQ+ students’ access to mental health resources, while still wanting an official club according to the YU Observer student newspaper(see “YU Counseling Center Announces Three New Student Support Groups”). Now, however, the YU Pride Alliance called the Kol Yisrael Areivim Club a “sham” and a “desperate stunt”(Law.com article).

    R. Hershel Schachter said he hopes that the new student club “deepens our students’ commitment to the Torah and leads to harmony in our Yeshiva University community.” While there is no guarantee that this will in fact happen, Ben Shapiro should acknowledge that YU and the OU are guided by halachic authorities in their decision-making process, quite the opposite of his assertion of assimilation.

    • Bob Miller says:

      At best, I see an attempt at a delaying action that likely will not impress the leftists in government who smell blood.

    • Steven BriZel says:

      I think that YU made the offer during litigation as a good faith compromise and as a trial balloon to see whether the plaintiffs would accept such a compromise which was approved by the RY of RIETS. The public reaction by the plaintiffs demonstrated that they were more interested in tearing down the entire fabric of Halacha than in any kind of halachically permissible compromise R D Berman deserves much credit for deciding that this issue goes to the heart of what undergraduates at YU are expected to adhere to in terms of their personal conduct and behavior.The key remains how the conservative majority of SCOTUS views the Issues involved not the woke NY state courts

  30. YCG says:

    I used to be a regular reader of CC and enjoyed the thoughtful articles and posts. At some point a few years ago, however, CC was essentially taken over by the “Comment Trolls,” the same people who would use thoughtful articles as springboards into political rants and diatribes that have little to do with the article itself. Now, after returning to CC based on a friend’s referring me to an article, I see the same Comment Trolls basically making the same comments as they did a few years ago like they’re locked in an echo chamber. No one’s changing anyone’s mind here folk – learn Torah, get lives, and spend time with people you love.

    • Bob Miller says:

      Repetitions or amplifications of the old, uncorrected abuses summon forth renewed comments.

    • Steven Brizel says:

      CC is far more open to various points of view than another well established blog which is clearly an echo chamber for the MO and MO left and points further in that direction and which has little if any tolerance for normative views on Halacha and Mesorah

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