Sara Hurwitz: “Rabba” is Not a Rebellion, But Continuation of Natural Evolution


avi-weissAs reported yesterday on, four “pioneer female rabbis” met in the Boston area Monday evening for a “Hanukkah celebration” called “Raising up the Light.” The event featured the first “ordained” North American Reform, Reconstructionist and Conservative female rabbis, and “the first Open Orthodox rabba,” reported the AP.

That “Orthodox rabba,” as reported, was “Rabba” Sara Hurwitz, who was “ordained” by Rabbi Avi Weiss of Riverdale.

The panel discussion with “rabbis” Sally Priesand, Sandy Sasso and Amy Eilberg and “Rabba” Sara Hurwitz was held at Temple Reyim in West Newton with more than 500 people in attendance.

According to a report in the Wicked Local Newton, the evening, sponsored by the Synagogue Council of Massachusetts, “was a celebration of their courage and fortitude to change the course of Jewish history by sparking the rabbinate (organization of rabbis) to evolve from exclusive male leadership to an acceptance of females.”

While Avi Weiss has said that it is not the intention of his institution, Yeshivat Maharat, to confer the title of “Rabba” upon its graduates, his protégé, Ms. Hurwitz continually uses the title on herself.

At the recent event at Temple Reyim, the moderator, “Rabbi” Sharon Cohen Anisfeld, dean of Hebrew College Rabbinical School, invited each of the four “rabbis” to tell her story.

Hurwitz told the audience that she viewed her path toward becoming the first Orthodox Rabba “not as a rebellion, but as a continuation of the natural evolution that began with the other three women on the panel,” according to the Wicked Local Newton.

According to the report, at Avi Weiss’ Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, while Hurwitz is still the only female Orthodox “Rabba,”  “there have been about 35 applicants, some of whom are in training now.” 

The Wicked Local Newtonreport states: “Hurwitz said she realizes that in Israel, where orthodoxy rules, she still would not be recognized as a rabbi. She pointed out that differences remain in the United States between male and female rabbis, but also that there is tremendous overlap. Females here can officiate at weddings, funerals, bar and bat mitzvahs, but they cannot sit on the bet din, the rabbinical court of Judaism. Additionally, there are certain parts of the Orthodox service they cannot lead. Hurwitz made it clear that neither of those exceptions interfere with her everyday service as a spiritual leader.”

As we said yesterday, disgraceful. Nothing less.

{Yossi Newscenter}


  1. Disgraceful indeed! At least they are now admitting their true intentions and motivations publicly. Its nice to see at least, that some small amount of Weiss’ deceit has stopped (at least I hope so).

  2. I wasn’t aware that Judaism naturally evolved. Are there any paramaters that limit this evolution – or is it like an uncontrolled cancerous growth that ultimately takes over and harms its host?

  3. Great! Now he’s made the distinction. He heads the branch of Evolutionary Orthodox Judaism, which allows anything that evolves. I’m glad that’s clarified. Now we can disregard him like Conservative/reform “Judaism”.

  4. The circulating rumor has it, that a certain Dayan in Monsey has certified her for a position in a certain community in Brooklyn.

    A natural evolution where Chanuka morphs into Purim. (3 cornered latkes and all.)


  6. Dear Anonymous,You don’t see what is so disgraceful? Don’t you see one day women will want to learn to read – get an education, learn to drive cars, have a paying job. Oy vey the world is ending.

  7. Thanks for the article.
    Is she claiming that it is permissible for females to deliver a hesped (eulogy) at a funeral? What would be the halakhic support?

    Why bother putting scare quotes around “Rabbi” Sharon (and others) if you aren’t putting quotes around Hebrew College “Rabbinical” School, “Synagogue” Council, “Temple” Reyim, etc?

  8. Yes Halachah evolves as life evolves.
    What is disgraceful is the “right’s”
    insistance of limiting the education of women

    This is a TARTA DI SASRA. Once women are in
    the outside world, they need education. Once educated and in the workforce they assume roles of leadership. That is a natural evolution of life.
    You can thank Sara Schnirer for opening the doors.


  10. It evloves to the right as well. No pictures of women for example, there is no place in our mesora for that, yet it is a common (very new) policy in our publications. how is this any less of a breach of mesora?

  11. Here we go again.

    Ms. Hurwitz’s actions are against the Torah and are publicly committed against the Torah.

    To speak out against them is not Loshon Horah and is not Motzee Shem Ra.

    Anyone who says that they ARE should first consult ALL of the laws of Shmiras HaLoshon.

  12. Those of us who are truly frum won’t even give a hoot about her and her ilk, or about “Rabbi” Avi Weiss either.The only problem is for those who are not so informed about Yiddishkeit or who are still finding their way and don’t understand the problem about “evolving” Yiddishkeit and what’s wrong with it.

  13. Has anyone heard of Rav meir’s wife, Buria? Bais Yaakov and other schools have produced many Burias. Even a high school in NJ named after her. She had the yichus and chutzpah to put the rabbis in their place and assert her feminism while still remaining an eishet chayil! Face it. Women are becoming doctors, lawyers and boo hoo even Talmidot chachamot. Evolution.

  14. #10, your approach to halacha is backwards, you dont need support for anything, you need to find an issur, in other words everything is mutar until proven assur.
    IE: You are claiming that it is assur for females to deliver a hesped at a funeral? what would be the halachik problem?

    p.s. The satmerer rebetzin spoke at the satmerer rebbi’s (Reb Yoel ztzl) levaya. hard to imagine, I know though that doesnt make it any less true. (Ive heard this first hand from my father who was there)

  15. I am not so sure, we did have a few jewish women leaders, we even had Devorah a woman who sat and led din torahs. but if she is becoming a rabbi to make a statement then that is wrong. if the above report is true her true colors are showing, if she is continuing the steps of the other “rabbis” she is not a leader we can count on.

  16. #20, for you who thinks yahadus isnt evolutinary, why do you wear a black hat? Do you think Moshe Rabeinu wore a black hat? tanaim? amaroim? rishonim? early achronim? seriously, how old do you think wearing a black hat is?
    thank you for providing an excellent excellent example to the natural evolution of judaism, it seems you agree with avi Weiss more than you realize

  17. #11 Please don’t insult Sarah Schenirer, A”H, by comparing her to Ms. Hurwitz.

    Sarah Schenirer was a Torah-observant, modest woman who did not call herself “Rabbi” or think of herself as a Rabbi. She taught authentic Judaism and Tznius to women.

    She certainly did not advocate affiliating with or legitimizing the lifestyles of non-observant Jews. She had the approval of such Tzadikim as the Gerer Rebbe ZT”L and the Chofetz Chaim ZT”L. Do you think that they would approve of Ms. Hurwitz and her actions?

    #18 Read #15.

    #20 What does a black hat have to do with evolution?

  18. Ms. Hurwitz is saying “Females here can officiate at…funerals, bar and bat mitzvahs”. What a joke!! I think she can also officiate at the lemon aid stand of my five year old child. What is there to officiate at a Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah????????

  19. The comparison of modern movements to Sara Schenirer is so overused and ridiculous it seems almost pointless to refute it. Sara Schenirer got the green light from gedolei olam before she initiated Bais Yaakov. She was responding to the grim reality of Jewish girls being forced by law to attend public school and having no Jewish education to balance it out.

    That is a far cry from letting women do whatever they want and assume roles that halachah does not allow them to fill.

    To turn this issue into one of Jewish education for women is to ignore what’s really happening here.

  20. This is a simple thing to chap.

    Avi Weiss and all of his comrades- JOFA, Interfaith people, Academic Jewish Studies, Louis Jacobs, R’ Marc Angel, the meikilim in geirus, R’ Chaim Amsalem, Drisha, Torah veAvodah, Open Orthodoxy, Edah, Socialist Justice Uri L’Tzedek, R’ Saul Berman, Hebrew College, Yeshivat Hadar, Ethan Tucker, James Kugel, TEIQU at YU, Morasha, R’ Benny Elon, etc. are all of the same reformist, liberal humanist mndset. They all seek to undermine traditional Orthodox Judaism as it is practiced and understood from within. Yes, they are the enemy from within, influenced by establishment left-wing movements, each with a different emphasis, and high on this totem pole is Avi Weiss and his proteges.

    This is not abut an isolated incident. This is about a revoltuionary and alien mindset/cancer that is infecting the body of Torah Judaism. The question is, do we fall along with them, in a state of neutered complaisance, or do we stand up to this and fiht the battle for Emes with Torah and Emunah Rabah?

  21. Sorry, but this is disturbing. But I don’t think that Matzav is doing itself any service by writing these articles as they are. Either do straight news reporting or include this in the body of an editorial.

  22. Comment to WHO CARES,

    I don’t know which is worse; your arrogance or your ignorance. Vi Lo Am HoOretz Chossid. A person as ignorant as yourself can not be “truly frum”. Secondly, If you are static in your Yiddishkeit and your relationship with HKB”H and you are not constantly seeking and growing,and evolving then you are living a life of slumber. (Look at the sfat Emet on VaYeshev Yaakov where he quotes R. Bunim of Pshischa). So not only are you arrogant, and ignorant but you refuse to grow. Man you are practicly dead and your Judaism is dead.


    I think the 2 of you should meet because you both can’t read. I did not compare Sara Schnirer to Sara Hurwitz. What I did sayis that as life changes and changes so does Halacha have to respond and evolve to new situations (within a halachik process and framework). Sara Schnirer opened the door to educating women. Now that women are educated and full members of society will Jewish law remain bound to amesorah of yester year? Or, will our rabbis and gedolim seize this opportunity “leHagdil Torah uliHadirah”, and open the gates to challenge women into roles of leadership where they are sorely needed?
    Sara Schnirer rose to that challenge in the last century. Will history record that Rabbi Weiss rose to the challenge in this century?
    I hope so.

  24. Dear Mr. Emes,

    Let’s give it up for truth , justice and the American way.

    Please, the way you see the problem is the problem. You are your own worst enemy. Your concept of Torah is belongs back in the shtetle of the 1800s, or maybe with the Amish.
    If you believe that the Torah is nitzchis, then it is not to be restricted by your parochial closed mindedness.

    The biggest problem is your smuggness and arrogance. This is your achilles heal. These two traits of yours prevent you from expanding your horizons and perspectives. Worse yet they prevent you from looking deep into yourself to see if your essence really jives with what you are espousing.

    I feel sorry for you and all the other people who think that the world is flat and that the sun revolves around the Earth.

  25. BTW,
    Can any of you naysayers come up with a cogent and rational reason why Rabba Horowitz is your nemesis? All you come up with is drawing lines of us and them. If you can’t then maybe there reaally is no rational reason other than your fear of something new and different. You do know that sometimes something new could be wonderful. But all you naysayers will never know because you are blinded by your fears.

  26. left orthodoxy becuase you wanted to and to assuage your guilt you are trying to blame it on anyone other than yourself..

  27. With kfiro (anti-Torah thoughts), it isn’t enough to disapprove. Kfiro brings Hashem’s anger against us and causes us damage in this world and the next. Mr. Weiss and his rabba should be brought to beis din and given tashlumei nezek or cherem, and the next in line should be Jews who support them.

  28. Sheldon,

    There is a place for you. It’s called Temple Emanu-El. Why don’t you go there and learn all the Darwin, Margaret Sanger, “social justice” (sic), Marxism, Christianity (after all, you think that if a person is not in favor of interfaith relations” and all that entails, they are archaic), and feminist theories you want. If it is feminism you want, and every liberal theological position that goes along eith thatm stop wasting your time trying to corrupt Orthdoxy and go join a Reform or Conservative temple. Because it seems that your idea of “Judaism” is liberal humanism with a smattering of Jewish practices- kippah, tzitzis, davening, kashrus, etc. Go to Temple Emanu-El where you will have “partnership,” and female rabbis/rabbis in tallis and yarmulke all ready to go. Why do you want to be part of a religion you feel is so backwards?

    Torah Judaism- Often Imitated, Never Duplicated.

  29. Halachah evolves as life evolves (Sheldon).

    You just stated that you believe in the central, foundational, fundamental belief of the Conservative Movement. Solomon Schechter and Zechariah Frankel based their new religious movement on this very same principle. Eliezer Berkovits expressed the same thing and rightfully lost his chelek in Orthodoxy Judaism.

  30. To Sheldon, TORAH is the problem. He hates Judaism and so does everyone who supports female rabbis, mixed prayer/ “partnership minyanim,” and everything else like that, including this list of men with Orthodox semicha.

    Avi Weiss
    Marc Angel
    Alan Brill- Interfaith Relations; a big fan of Marxist author Jurgen Habermas and the Marxist Frankfurt School, denied tenure at YU for his liberalism, supporter of J Street, Huffington Post, Eretz Acheret,Jewish Renewal, Tikkun Magazine,Institute for Christian and Jewish Understanding,Woolf Institute, Rabbis without Borders (CLAL), Woodstock Theolgoical Center, Center for Muslim, Jewish and Christian Understanding, pro-Palestinian groups, feminist minyanim,
    Eugene Korn- Interfaith Relations, EDAH-affiliated.
    Saul Berman- Former head of Edah
    Daniel Sperber- Rosh Yeshiva of a Conservative yeshiva in Canada
    Ethan Tucker- Son of Gordon Tucker, leader in the Conservative movement, and head of an egalitarian yeshiva. Supporter of Obama.
    JOFA- for obvious reasons
    Beit Morasha- committed to “academic methodologies,” aka higher criticism.
    Adam Mintz- Obamabot
    Yosef Blau- pro-toeivah and pro-Obama
    David Silber-Drisha- feminist
    Yeshivat Chovevei Torah
    Neemanei Torah v’ Avodah- liberal MO
    Machon Pardes- “multidenominational,” aka relativistic, everything goes.

    This is a brief introduction to those “krum” prabbis in left-wing Modern Orthodoxy and what they are up to.

    Alien ideas are infecting Torah judaism from within. This is the proof right here.

  31. Dear Mr. and Mrs. Loyal Jew,

    A. You have not clearly stated what Rabbi Weiss’s kfiro is.
    B. Who appointed you as the Dayan Emmet?
    C. How do you know that your perspective of G-d is the correct one? Maybe it’s Rabbi Weiss’s?
    Maybe you and your ilk will be brought to beis din for your smugness and closed mindedness.

  32. To the person who calls himself “Emes.” Now isn’t that a smug name….
    How many of the people you list have you met personally? I have met with, learned with, read their books and are friends with their talmidim. Before you malaign (which one shouldn’t, remember from kindergarden, any mussar seforim)
    Do you know how many people they have brought into the Jewish, Tora observant fold? THOUSANDS! Do you know how many marriages they have made and saved from the brink of divorce? You don’t but I do. Because of their lack of “smugness” and their tzniut have they been able to be a Torah role model. After you read and have heard shiurim from the Rabbi Sperber and you think you can learn a daf gemara better than him, then say what you want
    Do you know how many funerals the rabbis arranged for people they never met? I have participated in the mitzvah of met mitzvhah that was needed at the time. Everything done k’hilchalta and with the utmost kavod Hamet and Kavod HaBriot. Rabbi Weiss has buried hundreds. All done with tzniut.
    Notice that the people you mentioned above don’t go about maligning the many self acknowledged of the Hareidi community. They focus on their own daled amos. As a last note to think about while you are doing teshuva this shabbes in your shul. Look around, if someone with little or no background to Judaism stumbled in, what would they think, would they ever come back? That might not be a litmus test for you but thats what open orthodoxy means. Anyone who walks into Rabbi Weiss’s shul or the other Rabbanim mentioned above. Men would get a hug from the rabbi, women a hug from the Rabba, or Rebbetzin, making sure they had a place to eat and see how they can help with any issues that brought them to shul.
    Yaakov had 12 sons each with different midos. The Torah tells us what happened when some brothers thought they were better than another. How about we celebrate the 99% that is similar between the different camps than focus on the one percent of different ideas. If your child came home with a 99 on a chumash bechina would you argue one the missing point or shep nachas on the 99. Its your life, you choose.
    Have a gut Shabbes.

  33. JOE McCARTHY, aka EMES.

    Your brand of Judaism is an abomination and deserves to be put into CHEREM. SHAKETZ TISHAKTZENU, VI SOEYV TSAVENU, KI CHEREM HU!!!!!

  34. These women have been brainwashed to believe in feminism and egalitarianism above all. Judaism really is secondary to them. They ultimately view the Torah and Jewish law as having been written by unenlightened mysoginists who wanted to keep women in secondary, subserviant roles. I don’t know the best way to counteract this chipping away of Judaism.

  35. Dan,

    Judaism is not a Machaivellian religion. It is not only the ends that matter, but also how we echieve those ends. All steos of the process have to be done in a torahdik manner. If you get a positive result rooted out of a negative, shoddy foundation, than what does your result have to rest upon? It is likeconstricting a building on a foundation of quicksand.

    Just because someone can learn well, conduct a funeral, or provide pastoral counseling, that does not give their ideas legitimacy. These are all men with an agenda and they are hell-bent on achieveing that agenda, regardless of the means.

    They don’t criticize Haredim because while we may have our own moral shortcomings and failures, our emunah is pure, genuine, and authentic. We are not out to change anything.

  36. To Comment #49, BEN TOEYVA,

    Once again your show for all to see lour lack of decency and lack of menschlechkeit. You are not fit to clean Rabbi Weiss’s toilet. You have done nothing for clal yisroel, whereas, Rabbi Weiss has devoted his entire life to that goal. How do yuou even have the Chutzpah to comment.

  37. I think a lot of people don’t know the chesed he’s done. Not Hashem’s accountant but I doubt it’s canceled out by the problematic stuff. Still, trying to stay dispassionate and respectful, this new development is troubling.

  38. To SHEKER (aka Emes),
    Your emuna is far from pure, genuine and authentic.

    You don’t believe in G-d creating all mankind with Zelem Elokim.
    You don’t believe in Ahavat Yisrael.
    You don’t believe in Eylu VaEylu divrey Elokim Chayim.
    You practice a Judaism that is so focused by fear that it makes McCarthyism look like a game of freeze tag.

    You created a religion that picks and chooses its midrashim and gives only those perspectives
    it wants to promote based upon it’s own value system and fears.

    I can go on and on with your hypocrasies but that is for another forum.

  39. How ironic that liberals like Sheldon believe that the views of others are illegitimate. I guess that is left-wing “tolerance” in action- tolerance for only those who think like they do.

  40. To SHEKER (aka emes),
    BTW, you don’t know me well enough to know whether I am liberal or left wing. What I do abhor is elite closed mindedness for that is the antithesis of Eylu VaEylu Divrey Elokim Chayim. Your sect tries to usurp that great concept from our religion. The beauty of Yahadus was that Beis Hillel and Beis Shammai could argue and debate and still marry into each other.
    The views of others are legitamate. However yours is a gross misrepresentation of what you claim to be Judaism. Your religion promotes hate.
    Your religion promotes fear. Your religion promotes closed mindedness. That is not YAHADUS.
    That is your religion under the guise of YAHADUS.
    The Chiyuv of UVIARTOH HAROOH MIKIRBECHO is is to eradicate your religion of hate and arrogance.

  41. Sheldon,

    It is amazing how far you will go to make blanket condemnations against people who are unknown to you. It seems that anybody who disagrees with your particular brand of Judaism must fear the wrath of Sheldon. Based on what you are saying, you seem pretty liberal to me and I am sure any other perceptive yid would come to the same conclusion.

    What people like you do is appeal to the heart, not the head.

    Are you actually comparing R’ Avi Weiss to Hillel?

    When did anyone on this forum ever promote hatred towards anyone?

    I guess by your feelings, R’ Avigdor Miller, zt’l, promoted hate, and upheld a “gross misrepresentation of what he claimed to be Judaism,” r”l.

    You are a hate-filled man, Mr. Sheldon, and it is only natural that someonme who believes that destroying the Torah is a good things would be the way you are. You are barking up the wrong tree and are going to the wrong shul, IMHO.

    We have no need for people like you and the useful idiots of Teaneck, Riverdale, you fill in the blank with any lackadaisacal, half-committed MO community.

  42. Sheldon, do you understand where we’re coming from? Over the last few months Rabbi Shmuel Bloom has discussed the need to have a living rabbi to follow in practical matters, and not to invoke the policies of someone no longer with us who can’t speak for himself. The reason I reference this is because he spoke of the concept of someone being a daas yachid (he was referring to Rabbi Avigdor Miller; we don’t have to go off on a tangent or referendum) yet who had the respect (and it was mutual) of a broad cross-section of (deservedly) highly respected rabbonim.

    I only mention this to try to explain, without polemics, why people are concerned. In this case, there is a man who – again, could teach a lot of us about bein adam lacheveiro – is a minority, very non-mainstream windmill tilter. And granting legitimacy to non-Orthodox clergy, as in the earlier story…Houston, we got some problems.

    I commend anyone who has sincere respect and allegiance to his/her congregational rav. We desperately need that, all of us, not just the MO world. It is a beautiful thing. I would say though that one would do well to explore this particular issue further, with other rabbanim of stature.

  43. Dear Joel,

    You don’t think that your last line was Hateful?
    When you don’t offer the proper respect to a Rov and call him by his title, that is hateful.
    When people on your blog have a “McCarthy” like list of who is in and who is not, that is hateful.
    Appeal to the heart; Joel, I beg you to deal with any of the issues that I raised on an intellectual level. Please, I beg you.

    Finally, why don’t you show your message to your own Rov. Ask him if he agrees with your statement. I think you have much to look inward for.

  44. TZIPPI,
    I respect your kind and pleasant approach. However you are partially correct and partially very incorrect.
    First and foremeost one must always study and learn how these previous generations of poskim and thinkers dealt with various Halachot. That is the whole reason for writing Shaaylot u tshuvot. This gives us historical context. That is the first thing that must be done.
    With regard to living rabbis with stature, What do you mean?
    Does a Rabbi of stature mean only someone from a chareydi background? Do you mean that modern orthodox Rabbis, poskim and baaley machshovah are not people of stature?
    Zippy, we are not dealing with yechidim.
    Just look at the list that Mr. Sheker (aka emess) has banned from their “Chelek of Orthodox Jusdaism. Many of these people are gedoley Torah and think independently.
    You under estimate Rabbi Weiss, myself and all of the Modern Orthodox Rabbis, Roshey Yeshiva, Dayanim, and philosophical thinkers.

    Once again, stop looking at these issues as us and them. Rather look atthe issues as they are in the real world TODAY.

  45. I’ve been there and done that. I know your type, Sheldon. You are a liberal, bleeding heart, progressive Jew who believes that they can be “Orthodox” while advocating ideas that are heterodox. You can’t serve two competing ideologies. I have semicha yoreh yoreh, yadin yadin, and other rabbonim I know feel the same way I do. You travel in your circles, I travel in mine.

  46. Sheldon,

    I have been witnessing this lambasting of Joel and others for too long. It is not hatred to hold dear to your core values. A person who differs from you is not hating you. That reminds me of the hate crimes people- those who wish to criminalize motive, i.e. thought. My values are indicative of Torah Judaism. Yours are indicative of a humanistic, liberation theology-oriented universalism. This is a fundamental dichotomy that seems as if it will not dissapate.

    You accuse those of us on the “right” of many falsehoods.

    1. Yes, we do believe G-d made all people in His image. I am very charitable to all people, and respect everyone, Jew, Christian, Muslim, whatever. However, charity is at its highest when you can help make people self-sufficient, and when you give out of the sense that HaShem commands it. Not that you are being compelled to hand over your money to the thieves known as the IRS.

    2. Ahavas Yisroel. Charedim are extremely welcoming and loving towards those secular Jews who wish to know more about their mesorah. I am happy to discuss issues of emunah with any Jew who comes my way, in a spirit of honesty and open-mindedness. However, I do not engage in disputations with those who claim to be Jewish, but who follow religious ideologies other than Judaism as it was understood and practiced for thousands of years. Those who breach the chains of Tradition are resolute in what they believe and are arrogant, uninterested in learning what is historically, logically, and textually the most authentic approach.

    3. Eilu ve Eilu. This is a very misundferstood concept. Judaism is not a religion of relativism. Truth is objective, not a figment of the imagination or the psyche. Truth is what HaShem says it is, not whatever you want it to be. Liberal religion, according to theologian Theodore Parker, is precisely predicated upon the notion that the individual is the final authority on determining matters of religious truth and relevance. Many people will cite this passage from Eiruvin with the belief that somehow, it gives credence to any kakamayme belief a person has. It is not indicating that any belief is ok. It means that on particular theological and halakhic points, there can be a legitimate pluralism in approaches and attitudes. However, for an idea to be legitimate within the corpus of Jewish thought, there must be legitimate precedent, as well as consistency with Judaism’s overall attitude on the matter.

    4. People who are iconoclastic, liberal, and Socratically arrogant in their overall personality dispositions, especially within the contemporary sociopolitical context, love making ambiguous, uncontextual references to McCarthy. Senator McCarthy and I share a similar thematic interest- identifying the scope of foreign ideas that threaten the foundations of our respective institutions. McCarthy identified subversive elements within academia, the WASP, Episcopal-Methodist power elite, the State Department, and other sectors of the government, and both FBI evidence, as well as the fruitive outcomes of history confirm many of his suspicions.

    Within the Orthodox Jewish community in 2010, I and many others of like-mind perceive similar trends within our own community. With the rise of institutions such as YCT, JOFA, Edah, New Israel Fund, J Street, Uri L’Tzedek, Hadar, Pardes, IRF, etc., it is blatant that progressive, feministic, relativistic, and liberation theology ideas are infiltrating Modern Orthodoxy. Politically, halachically, and socially, these individuals and organizations each represent and advocate for ideas and programs which are repugnant and anathema to the canon of Torah Judaism on many levels. Religious pluralism, interfaith relations, religious egalitarianism, aka feminist theology, “religious” Marxism, aka liberation theology, critical studies, etc., are all ideas which are a hallmark of these organizations. These ideas do not come out of any authentically Jewish milieus, but are the bastard children of Union Theological Seminary, Harvard Divinity School, and people such as James Cone, Oscar Romero, Julius Wellhausen, Frederick Schleiermacher, harry Emerson Fosdick, Mary Daly, and others.

    You beg that Charedim make themselves open to these theories. I am a graduate student of religion, completing studies at Columbia, and I can tell you that because I am aware of where these people are coming from ideologically, I have studied the foundational texts, and was repulsed. I know what I am talking about when it comes to academic religious studies. Wellhausen denied Torah Mi Sinai- so does James Kugel, who is warmly embraced in the precincts of YU and in the classrooms of “Orthodox” (sic) professors. You don’t bbelieve me? Read his books.

    JOFA and R’ Weiss push through feminist theology- they are usurping the idea that HaShem made man and woman separate but equal, for different teleological purposes. Women develop Judaism domestically; men develop Judaism scholastically and liturgically.

    G-d gave all of Israel to the Jews- these individuals believe that for the sake of “peace” (sic), appeasement of the Arab enemy through territorial concessions will yield “peace,” despite the fact that this is forbidden d’oraisa, and that history proves that appeasement never works to constrain a dangerous and rogue enemy.

    The nations of the world do not follow Judaism. G-d gave them ethical monotheism, aka the Sheva Mitzvos, as a means to live civilly and to live according to what Aquinas identifies as man’s beatific end- to know G-d and to develop civilizations based on Divine notions of justice and equity. There are certain universal truths, what Jung would call archetypical truths, that are present in all faith traditions. Anyone who has even a superficial knowledge of what other religions teach know this. However, attempts to lead us towards an amorphous, social justice-oriented one world religion, under the guise of tolerance and dialogue, are foolishly misguided and futile. The Rav believed it was important for us to have cordial relationships with clergy of the nations for the sake of darkei shalom, as well as for the sake of having a unified religious voice to stand up against unethical and immoral societal ills, such as abortion on demand, homosexual marriage, and other problems. Nothign wrong with this- we have to coexist with our neighbors. However, debating the fine points of theological differecnes is a worthless enterprise that has resulted in nothing but trouble for us over the years- 1263 disputation, charges of blasphemy, etc. There is no reason to do this, as at the end of the day, we will all believe what we are going to believe. Nonetheless, the left insists on this potentially destructive and fruitless behavior for the sake of making a point and for making a statement.

    Sheldon, I honestly do not see how you can make strong, logical repudiations of my arguments, without resorting to cheap, vitriolic language, as you did earlier.

    If you want people to consider your ideas, insulting them by calling them names is no way to accomplish this. You come across as being highly sanctimonious, and elitist.

    I disagree with your theology, based on my objective, empirical research and analysis- does that make me closeminded? Because I am a student of theology and religion, but am not liberal, does that invalidate my learning and render me close-minded in your opinion?

  47. I am a fan of many rabbis in the MO camp.

    R’ Soloveitchik, R’ J.D. Bleich, R’ Jonathan Sacks, R’ Yisroel Meir Kirzner, R’ Aryeh Spero, R’ Daniel Lapin, R’ Nachum Shifren, R’ Barry Freundel, R’ David Novak, R’ Meir Soloveichik, R’ Shalom Carmy, R’ Yaakov Homnick, and others.

  48. Dear Locke and Joel,

    Both of you write as if you know my values. You can not know my values because I have not expressed any of them. So please stop trying to peg me to some classification and let’s deal with issues. BTW, I respect open forum discussion of ideas. You are all entitled to your opinions. What you are not entitled to do is discredit people for their opinions in a manner that is obnoxious merely because they differ from your opinions. Look at Joel’s last ssentences on each of his comments. They are hateful, lothesome and repulsive.

    That being said boh of you have given me your yichus briefs and quite frankly I’m not impressed. All of the titles that you have will
    not make you “menschen”. That is something that both of you need to learn.

  49. Dear Locke and Joel,

    Regarding your scholarly thesis.

    1. You love all people accept Modern Orthodox people.

    2a. Regarding your Ahavas Yisroel, Would you give tzedaka to help support a Modern Orthodox day school? We Modern Orthodox people are called upon daily to help support nonModern Mosdos.
    2b. Please don’t tell me what I want to learn and what I don’t. I’m waiting and asked for anyone to discuss issues based solely on the historical, logical, and textual approach. However, can you be open enough to analyze how
    your approach jives with reality?

    3.What if I show you that within YOUR scope there may be room for a broader approach? Would you atleast listen? BTW, please do not be so condescending as to lecture to me about the Halachik approach, of which I am very aware.

    4. You tell me and the world how you are a Columbia graduate. And because you are we need to accept what ever you say as dogma. You have not raised one issue. You have not discussed anything factually. You beg us to accept your judgements and perspectives soley because of your position in Columbia. When you can discuss an issue based upon the Torah sources, based upon the sources of Poskim, not based upon your psycho-social-elitist ambiguity, then you will
    be speaking intelligently.(BTW, I’m not impressed with Columbias’ arrogance. Columbia people tend to be very full of themselves.)

    5. Regarding the status of women and Mitzvas asey she Haziman Gramah please look up the Sridey Eish in the first volume the discussion of of said issue. Once you do then you can have a real conversation.

    6. Where did your discussion regarding giving back territory come from. It was not part of the scope of this article. Although I may agree with you on one level. I don’t think that what you said is true from a Halachik basis nor on a human basis. Are your son’s in the army? Are you in the Army? Have you had to bury anyone who is in the army. Are you a military expert?Somehow, I am humble enough that as someone who lives in the US and has noone in the army I will leave that isssue to the Israeli army, government and people. Rav Yehuda Amital zichrono tsadik vekodosh levrochoh the Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat Har Etziyon had a very
    different outlook. He was a true Baal Davar.

    7. Discussing other religions is not in he scope of our conversation. We are talking about Judaism, Torah, Halacha and Hashkofoh. Don’t try to impress me with your knowlege of philosophy and religion. It is irrelavent to this issue.

    8. So you see I have made strong, logical repudiations of each point of your argument
    without resorting to cheap vitrolic language.

    9. I have remained most humble in my arguments.
    It is you who have resorted to your Columbia elitist dogma rather than deal with the issues.

    10 I don’t care whether you are liberal or not. Everyone is entitled to their erroneous opinions. The fact that you studied what ever it is that you studied does not mean that I have to accept your dogma. You are closed minded if you are not willing to see the positives and negatives of each position. There are very few issues that do not have debate and each side has valid points and non valid points. When you are able to discuss and deal with an issue based upon it’s merits and it’s faults then you will be open minded. Until that point in time yes you as a Columbia person are indeed the epitome of being closed minded.

    Finally, Locke please show your list to Joel see if they make his cut.

  50. Sheldon knows nothing about his own ideologies. I am not going to waste my time with some two-bit Harry on an internet forum who doesn;t wish to learn anything beyond his daled amos of HaShem knows what.

  51. Hey Locke,

    Are you that flabberghasted that you can’t respond to me directly? Are you shocked that someone actually called your bluff?
    All that you can do is resort to telling everyone else that I am a 2 bit Harry.
    Hey Locke a 2 bit Harry made you look like a fool. You are so full of yourself that you can’t handle someone proving you wrong on every line.
    Once again, deal with the issues not your or my Yichus. Those are not relevant. What is relevant are the issues. This forum is not about you teaching anything. This forum is about open discussion and dialogue. Once again Mr. Columbia, you believe that you are all knowing and everyone else knows nothing. Your word is not Torah MiSinai and does not need to be taken as dogma because you in your infinite wisdom willed it so. If you are secure in your beliefs then put them to the test of debate. The fact that you escape to calling me a two bit Harry and insulting me rather than discuss means you are insecure about your knowledge and arrogant, lest you might not
    win in open debate.
    Well Mr Columbia, as the old adage goes:

    Stop being a Fool and grow up. You may even expand your horizons and learn something.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here