Latest update: February 3rd, 2014
I have to disagree with the Jewish Press editorial board. In their latest editorial, they have castigated the RCA for not openly denouncing the forces of Open Orthodoxy (OO). I am disheartened by this from a newspaper whose inclusive editorial stance I have always admired.
It is ironic that Rabbi Avi Weiss is a regular Torah columnist in this paper, for it is Rabbi Weiss who founded Open Orthodoxy back in the nineties. Have they decided to drop his column?
I don’t know how many times I’ve said this. But I guess I have to say it again as there are increasing voices calling for yet another ‘split’ in Judaism. As much as I agree with the Jewish Press analysis of Open Orthodoxy, it is wrong in my view to cast it into another movement that is outside the pale of Orthodoxy.
Yes, I agree that OO opens its doors too wide and can therefore too easily slide the same slippery slope that the Conservative movement did – when it too decided it needed to make itself more relevant to the melting pot spirit of their times. That OO is doing the same thing with the feminist spirit of our times is indeed a matter for concern. However they have not gone off the reservation yet. And hopefully they never will. But even if they do at some point down the road, it is way too premature to throw them out now.
Like I have said many times in the past, I do not believe their feminist innovations will ever catch on with the mainstream. Even those who support OO often tell me that it is not their cup of tea.
What about YCT? My hope is that they have gone about as far left as they ever will and they will hopefully even pullback somewhat. In any case, I do not see YCT as JTS in any way shape or form.
Yes, they have problems which I have criticized. But they do believe in the events at Sinai and in following the letter of Jewish law. This is something that JTS made a radcial departure from many years ago with their acceptance of biblical criticism and their ‘Psak’ that one could drive to Shul on Shabbos.
I do not foresee OO or YCT ever doing this. If or when they do, then I will agree that they should be expelled. Until then, let us not be any more divisive then we have to be.
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About the Author: Harry Maryles runs the blog "Emes Ve-Emunah" which focuses on current events and issues that effect the Jewish world in general and Orthodoxy in particular. It discuses Hashkafa and news events of the day - from a Centrist perspctive and a philosphy of Torah U'Mada. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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