Nathan Slifkin to Speak at Avi Weiss’ Shul This Shabbos


slifkinFollowing a week that featured an MLK Day event with mixed-gender singing, a mixed-gender choir, and a mixed-gender crowd, the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, led by its rabbi, Avi Weiss, will be hosting the “Zoo Rabbi” for Shabbos Parshas Mishpatim.

Rabbi Nathan Slifkin, known as the “Zoo Rabbi,” will address the congregation several times over the weekend.

Avi Weiss is a familiar name to readers of, which has, for years, extensively covered his activities to adulterate Orthodox Judaism and halachic practice with his Open Orthodox Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, by ordaining women at his Yeshivat Maharat, and via other controversial activities.

This weekend, following Minchah/Kabbalas Shabbos and a “Shabbat Dinner,” Rabbi Slifkin will speak on the topic of “The Evolution of Orthodoxy & the Making of Charedim.”

Shabbos morning, after davening, Slifkin will address the topic of “The Animal Kingdom in Jewish Thought.”

Shabbos afternoon, between Minchah and Maariv, will discuss “Radically Rethinking Organ Donation.”

The shull, in seeking sponsors for Rabbi Slifkin’s visit, has offered the following options:

Lion Supporter ($180)
Tiger Supporter ($150)
Bear Supporter ($108)
Wildlife Supporter ($72)
Friend of the Animals ($36)

The Shabbos meals are by paid reservation only. The Friday night oneg is free.

{Noam Newscenter}


  1. Why are you obsessed with Rabbi Weiss’s interpretation of Orthodox Judaism?

    Why don’t you focus, instead, on issues and problems within the Haredi world?

    Certainly many such problems exist, and yet we never seem to find any commentary on the matters on Matzav.

  2. Speaking in Avi Weiss’s “shul” only further tarnishes Slifkins image. Speaking in that “shul” appears to be a silent consent -if not approval- of Avi Weiss’s actions.
    Shame on him.

  3. What is the issue, R’ Slifkin has an interesting view on Evolution in general (based on reshonim), one should speak to his rebbe or rov, mine told me TO read his book, not every godol has the same opinion. And here he is speaking about the “The Evolution of Orthodoxy”, not the universe. I would go if i was in the area.

  4. Charlie,
    the publicity is important because there are those not very jewish educated people who may mistake him for real orthadox. matavs constant renimnders may save many generations of jews from being lost to Klal Yisroel

  5. looks like matzav is in the business of creating machlokes, cynicism and hatred for other Jews, shkoyach! moshiach took some steps back

  6. Good for them!

    B”H, after the mixed gender choir and other narishkeit, they’re going to run something with real Torah content!

    Wish I could be there myself.

  7. The danger isn’t R. Weiss and his mixed choir, or R. Slifkin and what he may or may not think about evolution. The danger is that we are turning off more and more of our young people. Even more frightening is the number of people who don’t actually go “off the derech” but keep going through the motions, although their hearts aren’t in it. When R. Pliskin’s “My Father, My King” came out I was mystified about why such a sefer would be needed. Now, it’s all too obvious. Why doesn’t Matzav worry about serious issues and let R’ Weiss generate his own publicity?

  8. Better than the MLK event but the philosophy or any other controversial activities will not change. Take note of the use of Avi Weiss with out “Rabbi”. It’s about time!!

  9. Charlie,

    I noticed that Maharat Weiss copied the style of Baptist ministers when he danced and sang with them in his “sanctuary” on MLK day.

    Will he now talk like an animal now that he has the Zookeeper there with him?

    What is becoming more and more clear is the fact the Slifkin’s hashkofaot are skewed. If he is hanging and preaching with Maharat Weiss.

    You can be darned tootin sure that R Willig, Shlit”a would not tolerate this.

  10. When will you “ahavat eretz yisrael and am yisrael ” guys realize that you cant put lipstick on the pig and still be loved. Thats not what the torah wants.
    Moshiach will not come for an MLK celebrations in a zoo.

  11. Moshe Levy,

    I think you are posting your comment on the wrong site. Why don’t you try this on the so called Centrist and MO sites?

    I say so called, because the they are truly just anti religious. The real earnest centrist and MO movement decry those silly posters as well.

  12. @13
    I respectfully disagree. How many people besides frum yidden who are already well aware of the problems with the so-called “Open Orthodoxy” movement read this website? I would venture very few. And this post only comes off as an advert for the appearance.
    It’s time for Matzav to stop with the click-bait that is “OO” and rabbi Weiss and focus on more important issues, such as udpates on the health of HaRov Shteinman and other important news from and about the Gedolai HaDor.

  13. He is very much pro Science, even when it does not conform to Chazal.

    I once heard a debate, where they were trying to show Slifikin that the Gemoroh says in Psochim 94: that at night the sun travels from west to east over a non-transparent blanket called sky. Even though the Gemoro says that the Chachomim later gave in to the opinion of the Cachmei Ho’imos, The Rabeinu Taam clearly says that the Chazal actually held on to their opinion. ( see Rashi Rosh Hashono 24A line #15).
    That means the Chazal held that the Moon has its own light, because it shines onto us from underneath that blanket which blocks the sun.

    He didn’t agree. He still believes that the moonlight is only a reflection of the sun.

  14. SHALOM: YOUR’E WRONG. When the elders approached one who was suspected og going off the path and that one refused to listen then the whole community MUST BE AWARE OF THIS APIKOROS.

    #4: When slifskin made he first denial very muddled excuses it was evident he was also off the path.
    #3: whats wrong with the haredi world. Is it they have to many fences around their adherence to TORAH? I myself may just go and buy a black suit and least they keep it…and haredi doesnt try to influence anyone to buy those black european suits…weiss and comp are SELLING their brand of herecy…JUST LIKE JEUSX AND COMPANY


    IS THIS HASHEMS TEST? Do we follow HASHEMS TORAH or weiss and friends???

  15. May I humbly suggest the following additional sponsorship categories –

    Zebra (or penguin) sponsor – for Charedim who are fans of R. Slifkin.

    Giraffe supporter – for people who like to stick their neck out.

  16. I want to give special thanks, sincerely, to Dr. Charlie Hall, for sharing his thoughts with us. Even if people here don’t always see things his way, it is important for us to be aware of different views and perspectives that are out there, which Charlie represents in an honorable and classy way.

    Yasher koach Dr. Hall!

  17. Perhaps you should report this about Rabbi Weiss and YCT as well.

    Gabbai of Spinka Rebbe visits YCT, sings and dances with, and blesses students

    “we ended our week with a kumsitz and had the special zchut of experiencing a truly uplifting moment. Just as the students were about to leave for the night, Rav Avi entered in to the yeshiva arm and arm with a chossid. Rav Avi had made a shiva call in Williamsburg to the family of Menachem Stark, a Satmar chossid who was brutally murdered, leaving behind 7 children. As he was leaving the shiva house, the gabbai of the Spinka Rebbe asked him if he needed a ride. Rav Avi asked to be taken to the train, but the gabbai wouldn’t even consider just driving Rav Avi to the train. Instead, he drove Rav Avi all the way back to Riverdale (and would then have to drive back to Brooklyn for a dinner he was chairing to support the poor). The two of them joined the Winter Learning students in song and dance. The gabbai of the Spinka Rebbe gave the students an inspirational bracha and then was on his way. It was amazing to experience this unifying moment, and it was a great way to cap off an invigorating week.”

  18. Not surprising. Slifkin is one of the same as the Avi Weiss group. He has been controversial on his mishagas with ‘evolution’. These people are already known for their controversial unorthodox views of Torah/Halacha but are now exposing themselves more because they are getting all kinds of support and feel they can achieve their goals of changing Torah,r’l, as he says, ‘evolutionizing’ it. Just using that word says a lot. Chutzpah. How different than the Reform?

  19. Shalom, how wrong and mistaken you are. Matzav has a Torah obligation to REPORT this man and his place of “worship”. He is a wolf in sheeps clothing… deceiving Yidden into believing he is a Mitvah and Torah abiding Jew. People who don’t know any better think this is Torah Authentic Judaism and that couldn’t be further from the truth!

  20. to all of the complainers, you all got it wrong, Matzav just brought this update, for entertainment purposes, so if you get worked up I feel sorry for you

  21. There are a lot of Rabbonim who hold that what Slifkin says, is kosher, but the amon am that is not educated in these inyanim might get confused. Not so pashut. Don’t write of Slifkin just yet. The problem is, why is he speaking in a reform temple?!

  22. Its people that dont stand up for what is right that make moshiach take steps back.
    sitting by quietly while people distroy our mesorah and all that a yid holds sacred is not shalom.
    it is our duty to call them out and expose thier evil ways.
    Dont forget Pinchas the biggest ” zealot” who killed zimri was zoche to Bris of Shalom

  23. There needs to be a website that will clearly explain to Jews who may be uneducated enough in the Torah. The website should explain with sources about what is wrong with mixed singing, mixed choirs, mixed seating at gatherings, evolution, etc. The problem is that some of the organizations that could put up such a site do not want to make use of the internet.
    There clearly are Jews who are influenced by Weiss and others who do not know.

  24. If you don’t mind, could you also provide some “sources” about the importance of hate, spite and judgment in Judaism? I’m afraid I’m a bit “uneducated” in that area, and am easily swayed by those who speak of acceptance, kindness and giving.

  25. First of all, a gabbai is not an authority on anything. (Though he seems like a very kind-hearted person).
    Secondly, what in the world does that have to do with other issues?!
    Maybe tell me that Avi Weiss wore tefilin this morning, so he must be a tzaadik and everything is amazing???
    He’s attention seeking and loves PR. It looks great to have a chassid one day and a shvartze the next if your theme is OPENNESS.
    A rov in Brooklyn once said, “some people are so open-minded their brain falls out…”

  26. The issue isn’t with R’ Natan Slifkin’s views on the age of the universe, evolution, the interplay of Torah and science, etc. which is based on established shittos in the Rishonim and Achronim. The issue is his driven obsession with Chareidim and their culture and society and lifestyle, which he writes about constantly on his blog as a bitter critique, that he will he is willing to speak in the shul of such a controversial figure as R’ Weiss. I for one don’t think he understands or appreciates what Open Orthodoxy and R’ Weiss represents or the extent they are creating a major schism in Orthodoxy.

  27. “I for one don’t think he understands or appreciates what Open Orthodoxy and R’ Weiss represents or the extent they are creating a major schism in Orthodoxy.”

    Well, he’s British/ Israeli, not American, so that would make sense.

  28. “Following a week that featured an MLK Day event with mixed-gender singing, a mixed-gender choir, and a mixed-gender crowd…”

    Instead of focusing on issurim derabanan (yes, last time I checked, kol isha was indeed derabanan) which the institution is known to violate regularly, why isn’t that line focused on the more important point? They invited a Baptist minister and choir to join in singing songs of Christian worship. As far as I know, this is avodah zarah, and whether it’s a direct violation, or just abizraihu, or even just violating the spirit without a clear se’if in shulchan aruch we can point to, this is still horrible. It’s something close to a yeihareig ve’al ya’avor, if not rising to that level already.

    Open Orthodoxy usually just makes us question whether we can call it Orthodox Judaism. The MLK Day events should make us question whether this could be Judaism of any stripe.

    Shaketz teshaketzenu ve-sa’ev tesa’avenu ki cherem hu.

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