Monday, August 4, 2014

Open Orthodoxy and the Rebirth of the Conservative Movement

Cross Currents by Rabbi Avrohom Gordimer 

Cross-Currents readership is all too familiar with discussion about Open Orthodoxy; every nook and cranny of Open Orthodoxy could be explored with a critical eye through Cross-Currents’ numerous articles on the subject, spanning a lengthy period of time.

Once the major issues of Open Orthodoxy had been fully brought to the table, it was decided that our focus and energy should be directed elsewhere, as the Orthodox public assumedly had been presented with enough information about Open Orthodoxy to be well-informed, if not saturated. More discussion about Open Orthodoxy seemed moot, and it was hoped and supposed that Open Orthodox leadership would constructively utilize the criticisms to recalibrate the movement’s trajectory onto a more normative path.

However, we were dead wrong, for as we turned our attention away, the nature and magnitude of the challenges presented by Open Orthodoxy increased beyond imagination. Over the past several months, the intellectual leadership of Open Orthodoxy openly embraced highly problematic positions regarding the origins of Torah She-b’al Peh; Open Orthodox rabbis around the United States engaged in new, more radical types of interfaith and interdenominational endeavors that could make one’s hair stand on end; and much more.

It was decided, as per the advice of senior rabbinic authorities, to issue a comprehensive article on the above recent and current issues, feeling that the larger Orthodox public must be aware of these startling developments, as Orthodoxy is now truly at a crossroads. This article would be intended for hard-copy journal publication, and would include a composite of all of the issues to consider, new and old. In light of the fact that Open Orthodoxy is successfully and rapidly placing its graduating rabbis in Orthodox shuls and schools across the country, bringing a different type of Orthodoxy to communities heretofore unfamiliar with it, and in light of the currently unfolding nature of several of the critical issues at hand, it was decided to release the article early as an online publication. [...]

Please read this article and consider the very potential far-reaching ramifications of the recent actions and current path of Open Orthodoxy


  1. In scanning the article it is clear that Open Orthodoxy is pure, pristine apikursos and should not be granted any leniency of consideration at all.

    The end of the article seems to say let's work with these people to make sure they stay within bounds. It's ridiculous. Apikorus yisroel kol dipakar pakar tfei. Tzai tamei tomar lo.

    Everything possible should be done to prevent any graduate of this poisonous philosophy from gaining any foothold in an Orthodox congregation or organization.

  2. I got as far as the first page of the article where the author quotes and condemns a Rav Katz. To the author:
    I find it extremely ironic that you should judge Rav Katz by calling him a heretic as opposed to showing how he was wrong in his analysis. This is a clear example of the difference in approach between OO and the Haredi mindset. Rav Katz says there is a difference in chazal’s procedure to that which was in the torah. Instead of proving him wrong you go with a general philosophical attack that is just not relevant to his claim. It may as well be ad hominem. I am afraid that if you are afraid to meet someone that you disagree with head on and try to shut him up by crying ‘witch’ then you really have no leg to stand on. You can’t protect judaism by shutting people down because they are not allowed to make those kind of comments or ask those kind of questions. OO are being open minded, they are providing the answers and showing how they all fit into orthodox judaism. You are being close minded and stating that these questions just can’t be asked in orthodox judaism. If you want to get anywhere, you need to actually give some answers.


please use either your real name or a pseudonym.