The Yated, in alerting the public about the dangers of the Open Orthodox movement, has highlighted the numerous deviations of Yeshivat Maharat, the Open Orthodox “rabbinical school” founded by Avi Weiss to ordain “women rabbis.”
Last month, the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA) passed yet another resolution against the ordination and hiring of female clergy, and Open Orthodox leadership is fighting mad, condemning the RCA in every way possible, including the penning of nasty articles, vile blog attacks, and the issuance of a petition in favor of women rabbis signed by, let’s just say, people who are not quite poskim, including hordes of Open Orthodox, Reform and Conservative laity.
Rabbis Ysoscher Katz and Asher Lopatin, respectively the chairman of the Department of Talmud at YCT and the president of YCT, have threatened to take legal action against Cross-Currents, a website of Orthodox thought and current issues, for allegedly libeling Katz and distorting his articles.
What in the World is Going On?
In a move that is splintering the Religious-Zionist rabbinate and that is sending shockwaves through the Jewish world, a small group of Religious-Zionist Israeli rabbis, backed by Jewish Agency head Natan Sharansky and Minister for Diaspora Affairs Naftali Bennett, announced that it has formed independent botei din to convert children of intermarried couples from the Former Soviet Union (FSU). Rabbis Nachum Rabinovich, Yaakov Medan, David Stav, Shlomo Riskin, and Re’em Hacohen have created a network of conversion courts to be megayer children whose fathers are Jewish but whose mothers are gentile, with the aim of transforming the current non-Jewish community of FSU émigrés into Jews within a generation. Several dozen children have undergone conversion rites under the supervision of these alternative botei din, and the goal is to mass-convert approximately 100,000 such children.
The Yated has been one of the few organs in our community to have tracked the dangerous development of Open Orthodoxy and has had the guts to call this dangerous movement on the carpet and confront it head-on.
As Klal Yisroel relives Kabbolas HaTorah on Shavuos, we unfortunately read of groups of our brethren for whom Kabbolas HaTorah is a foreign concept, either because they have no connection to Torah or, even worse, because they have a connection to Torah yet they distort the Torah to meet their own agendas.
For years since and preceding the inception of Open Orthodoxy, the neo-Conservative movement started by Rabbi Avi Weiss, and the creation of its institutions, Yeshivat Chovevei Torah (YCT), Yeshivat Maharat (which gives semichah to women), and International Rabbinic Fellowship (IRF), liberal Rabbis Avi Weiss and Marc Angel have been clamoring for relaxed geirus standards. Lessened kabbolas mitzvos requirements was Angel’s clarion call, while Weiss demanded that geirus procedures not be standardized, so that any rabbi can run his own geirus system and apply his own standards. Weiss and Angel consistently attacked the Rabbanut and the RCA for insisting on uniform standards, and Weiss went so far as to demand last year that even non-Orthodox clergy be licensed to perform geirus in Eretz Yisroel.
The Yated was the first publication in the Torah world to uncover the misdeeds of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, otherwise known as YCT, and its rabbis and affiliates. It is unfortunate that after so much negative publicity, YCT and its “Open Orthodox” partners have not learned their lesson and continue to drive headlong into the paths of the Reform and Conservative movements.