Controversial Chovevei Torah Rosh Yeshiva Rabbi Linzer to Address “Modern Orthodox” Siyum Hashas Also Featuring Female Mesaymim


dov-linzerRabbi Dov Linzer, rosh yeshiva and dean of the highly controversial and “Open Orthodox” Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School, will be one of the headline speakers at a Siyum Hashas being arranged by various Modern Orthodox shuls, yeshivos and institutions. The event, in New York City, will take place on August 6 at Congregation Shearith Israel on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. The event is being co-sponsored by various other shuls and organizations, including Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun and Lincoln Square Synagogue.

This will be the first time that the Modern Orthodox community will be holding its own siyum, separate from the primary American Siyum Hashas which draws tens of thousands of people. The central Siyum Hashas, being arranged by Agudas Yisroel of America for all of Orthodox Jewry, will take place at Metlife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, on Wednesday, 13 Av/August 1, five days before the planned siyum at Shearith Israel.

Over 90,000 people are expected to attend the 12th Siyum Hashas at MetLife Stadium.

It is not clear how many people will attend the Shearith Israel siyum, which, in addition to Linzer, will feature an address by Rabbi Adam Mintz, a Modern Orthodox rabbi in New York City who teaches Jewish history and thought in a variety of venues and has taught at Rutgers University, Brooklyn College, Hunter College and is presently an adjunct professor at Queens College. Rabbi Mintz completed his rabbinical ordination at Yeshiva University and received his doctorate at New York University. He served as a rabbi in a number of Modern Orthodox synagogues in the New York area, including Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun and Lincoln Square Synagogue, and is a founder of Kehilat Rayim Ahuvim, a Modern Orthodox synagogue in Manhattan.

The Shearith Israel siyum will also be addressed by Chaim Saiman, a a scholar in Jewish law and comparative private law, who joined Villanova Law School in 2006 after serving as a John M. Olin Fellow in Law at Harvard Law School and a Samuel I. Golieb Fellow in Legal History at New York University School of Law. Professor Saiman completed graduate Talmudic and Biblical studies at Yeshivat Har Etzion and undergraduate Talmudic and Biblical studies at Yeshivat Kerem B’Yavne in Israel.

Another speaker at the Shearith Israel siyum will be Elana Stein Hain, who has served the Lincoln Square Synagogue Community for the past 4 years, functioning as the “Community Scholar , sermonizing, counseling, building relationships, teaching and collaborating on programs with volunteers,” according to the synagogue’s website.

The siyum will also feature remarks from those who have completed Talmud Bavli, including Mrs. Yedidah Koren, a 27-year-old woman and teacher of Talmud and halachah at Yeshivat Hadar and the Drisha Institute. Mrs. Koren has been learning Daf Yomi and will speak about her experience at the event.

The YCT pluralistic rosh yeshiva, Rabbi Linzer, has long been at the center of controversy over the Open Orthodox stance of YCT, as well as comments he has made over the years that contradict normative halachah and hashkafah.

In an article (Milin Havivin journal, vol. 1, p. 36) about perceived inequities in the Gemara toward non-Jews, Linzer wrote that although some opinions in Chazal can be read to give non-Jews more equitable standing in the limited area of the article’s discussion, “the halakha follows the interpretation that the Gemara gives to the statements of the Tana’im and Amora’im. Nevertheless, many committed Jews are often left feeling that even when halachic solutions are being found, they run counter to the ethos of the system, and are to some degree disingenuous and lacking in integrity. ‘Should we be bending the halakha to conform to our modern notions of egalitarianism?’ is a reasonable question to ask and a hard one to answer. An honest answer requires finding within the Talmud those voices that articulate those same values that are driving us.”

Another of Rabbi Linzer’s written statements that has raised eyebrows was in the Jerusalem Report Magazine (November 2004 edition), where Rabbi Linzer, in a signed article, wrote, “As an Orthodox Jew, I have to struggle not just with G-d ‘s presence in the world, but with His commandments as well. Some of these do not seem to square with a good, just G-d. The command to destroy Amalek and the Canaanite nations, the death penalty for one who… [engages in toeiva], the inability of a woman to terminate a failed marriage – to pretend that these are not profound problems or that they are consistent with G-d’s goodness is, for me, not an option. I choose to take the path of Yisrael, to face these problems and to struggle with them…”

{Casriel Newscenter}


  1. the organizers tried to dupe a respected member of the Torah world to speak there without telling him who is behind it. Shows what type of people you’re dealing with.

  2. R’ Meyer Shapiro ztz”l would turn over in his kever if he’d hear this, he would probably say, I don’t need neither you daf nor your siyum”

  3. “As an Orthodox Jew, I have to struggle not just with G-d ’s presence in the world, but with His commandments as well. Some of these do not seem to square with a good, just G-d. The command to destroy Amalek and the Canaanite nations, the death penalty for one who… [engages in toeiva], the inability of a woman to terminate a failed marriage – to pretend that these are not profound problems or that they are consistent with G-d’s goodness is, for me, not an option.

    The above paragraph is first class kefirah. Why is Matzav even giving this Kofer a platform?

  4. Another woman, Reb Mimi Feigelson of Yerushalayim/Los Angeles, has signed up to make a siyum there.


  5. All the crazies are going to start yelling to Matzav about the Three Weeks and sinas chinom and all that junk.

    In truth, it is a mitzvah, YES A MITZVAH, to publicize what these people are doing and how they distort Yiddishkeit. The fact that Rabbi Linzer is on the program disqualifies it, period. Nothing more is needed to show what this is all about. He has never retracted his apikorsus, and until he does, we must all keep the word out about the activities of these people.

  6. I got this from the organizers: Hashem yeracheim!

    “The NYC Siyum HaShas (‘completion of the Talmud’) is a celebration of the completion of the 12th Daf Yomi cycle.

    “Daf Yomi, or ‘daily folio’ is a program of Talmud study inaugurated in 1923 at the World Congress of Agudath Israel in Vienna by R. Yehudah Meir Shapiro, zt”l. Using this methodology, the entire Talmud – some 2500 folios – is competed about every 7.5 years.

    The first two hours will be devoted to parallel classes, shiurim, and lectures on topics relating to the daf yomi, to learning Gemara, to teaching Gemara, to sugyot or philosophical concepts in Gemara, really any topic related to Gemara or daf yomi, from a wide range of rabbis, scholars, and teachers. Both men and women will present, and bring perspectives from the diverse disciplines (traditional, lomdus, history, academic Talmud, pedagogy, etc.). The final hour will have all participants coming together for a communal Siyum haShas, followed by a light buffet Seudat Mitzvah (celebratory dinner).

  7. Steve
    Why go to the 3 weeks.
    We learn kavod Habriyos from this weeks parsha and the consideration that HaSham showed for even the potential busha of Bilam
    As much as you may despise YCT and R’Linzer, they can’t be worse than Bilam.
    Matzav reports, but do you need to be mevayish?

  8. How does Linzer’s statement in the last paragraph (from 8 years ago, yet you call it “recent”) differ from Avram Avinu’s struggling with HASHEM’s command at the akeida.

  9. Steve,
    In re-reading my comment I realize that I may be setting you up for arguing that YCT et al are worse than Bilam. Please don’t go there, i would hope that you are better than that.

  10. Right on, #11 !

    Protesting a public distortion of the Torah is neither Sinas Chinom nor Loshon Horah.

    It IS a Mitzvah.

  11. As R’ Gifter ztz’l would say Orthodox is a Greek word ” Men Darf Zein ah Ben Torah’
    Oh how i wish that R’Gifter would be alive..

  12. This camp is just as alien to us as reform and conservative. Obviously they believe in their ideology as any one else would. Intellectuals they are not rather small people with foolish ideas. Let us see them how they are for who they are (empty) and strengthen ourselves and better ourselves for what and who we are (authentic Shomrei Torah)

  13. the aguda daf yomi is for all yidden kol dichfin yesse veyechol i was learning my daf when my grand daughter asked me if she could watch me yes of course she recgnized a word and she exclaimed it as i was poiting at the next word she asked me “why is your nail so long?” then i knew why chazal say kol hamelamed es bito………..

  14. Taiking about Bilam, perhaps the above-

    mentioned group of individuals has more of an

    association with “Talmidei Bilam, then with

    “Talmidei Avrohom Awvinu”.

    Or perhaps they are desecndants of Bilam’s Chamor.

  15. Too bad they skipped Sotah 20a. These ladies gave the zechus of bringing their kids to cheder to their cleanind help .In order claim a zechus that cannot save them in their time of need

  16. To Olam Hafooch,Yes,Steve,Dovid,Yossie greenberg, On the Money,Klal Yisroel, Pinchas: Who appointed you the guardians and poskim to decide what is kefirah and what is not? The fact that you think they are means that you have very little to think about in your daily lives.

  17. For those of you who are upset with the female mesaymot:

    Are you intimidated that these women may be able to learn aswell as you? Is it just possible that they may have something to add to the world of Torah, that as men we have not thought of?

    Mimi Feigelson for one is one of the world’s authorities on Chasidut. She joins the ranks of women like Nechama Leibovitch, Rabanit Henkin, Esthi Rosenberg. These women have contributed to the world of Torah. If you are not familiar with these women, and have never benefitted from their Gadlut,then you have missed the boat
    on the totality of the Torah experience. Yes Gentlemen, I’m talking to You!!!!!!

  18. i dont think this is a representation of the modern orthodox community at large. YCT is a bunch of left-wing extremists. Of modern orthodox men who completed shas, %95 will be at met life.

  19. Curious, if your granddaughter had been looking at a word in the Tzenah Urena and asked why your nail was so long, would you connect that to a maamar Chazal? Or would you realize that maybe it’s time to cut your nails?

  20. It’s important to differentiate between Chovevi Torah and Modern Orthodoxy. The two are not the same. While the typical reader of this website may have hashkafic differences with elements of Modern Orthodoxy, it shold be acknowledged that many of its behaviors that are an anathema to some in the Yeshiva world are sanctioned by their Roshei Yeshiva who are Talmidei Chachamim and committed to halacha. (I hereby plead with the people who can’t stomach that comment not to add their narrow-minded drivel here and provide material for people looking to ridicule us.) Not so with Chovevei Torah. As can be seen by their flagrant disdain of mesorah, Chovevei does not consider halacha binding. Yes, they daven three times a day, keep kosher homes, etc. They do not however feel compelled by any Halacha that doesn’t suit their flavor-of-the-day worldview. If a bracha established by the Anshei Knesses Hagedola doesn’t fit their obtuse, self-defined standards of “open-orthodoxy”, they just drop it. Their breaches are far more egregious than those in the initial days of the Reform movement. The problem with giving them space on this website is not that you are conferring legitimacy upon them. The problem is that they, like Jews for J and Neturei Karta, thrive on publicity. The more you write about how unorthodox they are, the happier they are and the more appealing they become to Jews who are looking to shape their observance around their worldview.

    Having an alternative Siyum Hashas where members of the Modern Orthodox community don’t feel like outsiders should be welcomed though I suspect that some of institutions signing on as co-Sponsors to this Siyum don’t realize that they’ve been hoodwinked into giving Chovevei the legitimacy they don’t deserve.

  21. There may be many similarities
    between Avi Weiss and Korach in the hadrachah of which Chovevei Torah promulgates.

    The name Chovevi Torah is in itself misleading as they are in no way Chovevi Torah but rather Macharivay Torah.

  22. It’s a free country, as the expression goes, and yct can do whatever they want. However, maintsream Orthodox Judaism must shun them as an aberration equal to Reform and Conservative. The OU has hired some yct graduates. Either the OU rescinds their hirings or the OU will have lost its acceptance within mainstream Orthodox Judaism. The RCA is struggling with their consideration of YCT. All those in the RCA that are willing to accept yct should resign and join yct in forming their own separate organization. The remaining Torah-true-blue Rabbis that remain in the RCA will be able to rejoice in their committment to Torah-true Judaism.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here