Forward The leading rabbi of Agudath Israel of America, the ultra-Orthodox umbrella group, condemned non-Orthodox streams of Judaism and called the religiously progressive Open Orthodox movement heretical at the group’s annual gala.
“The Torah must be guarded from the secular forces that seek to corrupt its values and the lives of [Jews], from intruders who sometimes in the name of Judaism completely subvert and destroy the eternal values of our people,” said Rabbi Yaakov Perlow, the Novominsker rebbe and the rabbinical head of Agudath Israel, at the May 27 dinner.[...]
NY Times Tests of courage are found in unexpected places.
On Tuesday night, Mayor Bill de Blasio attended a gala for Agudath Israel of America, a premier event for the black-hat leaders of the ultra-Orthodox Jews of New York. The mayor is a gregarious fellow, and as my colleague Sharon Otterman reported, he chatted and joked on the dais with numerous rabbis, some of whom endorsed his mayoral campaign.
Let’s assume the best. Perhaps the mayor was enjoying himself too much to listen as Rabbi Yaakov Perlow, a top rabbi with Agudath Israel, delivered keynote remarks laced with Yiddish and Hebrew words.
Rabbi Perlow offered a shower of condemnation for Reform and Conservative Jews, who he said were among those who “subvert and destroy the eternal values of our people.” These movements, he said, “have disintegrated themselves, become oblivious, fallen into an abyss of intermarriage and assimilation.”
“They will be relegated,” he added, “to the dustbins of Jewish history.”
This was a striking statement because a majority of the Jews in this city identify as non-Orthodox. The mayor himself proudly celebrates his own mixed-race marriage. [...]