Friday, February 12, 2016

Rabbi Avrohom Gordimer responds to Dr. Marc Shapiro ir regards to dealing with Open Orthodoxy

Dr. Marc Shapiro recently published criticism of Rabbi Avrohom Gordimer regarding this writings against Open Orthodoxy. Seforim Blog

I posted for a day - an anonyomous response that was highly critical of Dr. Shapiro's analysis. However I removed it because it was seen as counterproductive by my readers here and Dr. Shapiro also asked it be removed.  Rabbi Gordimer published a detailed response to Dr. Shapiro's article 

What is important - aside from the issues raised - is that on a personal level Dr Marc Shapiro and Rabbi Gordimer have reached out to each other to make sure that it is understood that this exhcange is not a personal attack. Here are Rabbi Gordimer's latest comments 

How to Disagree – My Exchange with Dr. Marc Shapiro by Avrohom Gordimer 

Yesterday was tense. It was uncomfortable. It was a day of squeezing in a lengthy reply to Dr. Marc Shapiro’s post about some of my writings, between loads of regular work and with almost no sleep the night beforehand. (I had actually drafted my entire reply overnight, anticipating a very hectic workday, only to have accidentally deleted the entire draft at 2:30 AM, and then spending close to an hour in an unsuccessful attempt to find the draft in the online black hole. It was not fun…)

I anticipated a prolonged and unpleasant back-and-forth, which would be fruitless and only cause more strife.

But last evening, when I finally again got to my email, rays of light were shining, for Dr. Shapiro had sent several kind comments and messages clarifying that the issues were not personal, graciously (and unnecessarily) apologizing for any hard feelings, and also explaining his work and his goals. I apologized for any overstatement of his identification with controversial views, and we proceeded to share our hopes that our public exchange not be perceived as reflective of any type of sinah or personal affront. Our exchange was about ideas only. My communications with Dr. Shapiro were really refreshing.

Recently, a friend suggested that I change my image and post about more positive things. I replied that I had just posted two articles about noncontroversial topics, plus two divrei Torah on the parsha, as well as four articles on Halacha – but that these articles were given little attention, they received fewer clicks and “likes”, and that people are unfortunately focused on articles that deal with controversy.

But even when dealing with controversy, and even when the discourse is heated, let it not be perceived as sinah or personal clash. It is about ideas only. My exchange with Dr. Shapiro, and his kind and classy reaching out to clarify, are a deep lesson to all.


  1. Depends how you define Jewish. The Torah says we should not fear or recognize faces - that means in legal cases we are all equal, subject to evidence.

  2. Since most of the criticism of the Open "Orthodox" discussed here is their views regarding gender equality and since your example is a legal case, are you aware that the testimony in a Jewish Court by a woman is not equal to the testimony in a Jewish Court by a man?

  3. and judgement of a woman?

  4. Judgement of a woman according to Jewish Law can only be judged by male judges in a Jewish Court. Women aren't qualified per Jewish law.


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