Modern Orthodox

A Five-Point Plan

How we're navigating the conflict over our partnership minyan.

05/28/2014
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I live in a town with one Orthodox synagogue. That is not simple if you prefer progressive Orthodoxy. It's sometimes not even simple if you like old-fashioned Modern Orthodoxy. But the community is diverse, our friends are here and we have carved out a liberal outpost for ourselves in "Kol Echad", a partnership minyan. A partnership minyan is a mechitza minyan, with a divider between men's and women's sections; where women read from the Torah; receive aliyot and lead prayers on for selected parts of the service.

Audrey Trachtman

Quotes Of The Day

"As a member of a 'modern Orthodox' congregation, I am prepared to abide by the minhag of the group. However, I can't help but hear in this article echos of the reasonable segregationist..."

Not A Proud Moment For The RCA In Dealing With The Chief Rabbinate

02/10/2014
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The setting was the annual dinner of the SAR Academy, a leading Modern Orthodox day school in Riverdale, enrolling over 1000 students from homes throughout the tri-state area. SAR’s long-standing school president closed the evening by applauding Rabbi Avi Weiss for his tireless advocacy on behalf of the Jewish people in the face of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel’s efforts to delegitimate him. A standing ovation ensued. For one evening, at least, grass-roots Modern Orthodoxy had spoken out in unequivocal opposition to the senseless and arbitrary actions of Israel’s Chief Rabbinate.

Israel's Chief Rabbinate council, 1959. Wikimedia Commons

An Open Letter To My Role Model, Rabbi Avi Weiss

01/27/2014
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Dear Rabbi Weiss,

While I was relieved to learn that the Chief Rabbinate of Israel has revoked its claims against you, I have been deeply saddened by the entire episode. But I have not been surprised. In their book, “Leadership on the Line,” Ronald Heifetz and Marty Linsky define leadership as an act that involves “disappointing your own people at a rate they can absorb.” In order to make progress around issues that touch on people’s beliefs and values, it is often necessary to touch on very sensitive issues, challenging people’s understanding of what is true and right.

Rabbi Avi Weiss prays at a vigil for victims of a train derailment in December, 2013. Getty Images

Ramaz Would Permit Girls To Wear Tefillin

SAR High School is allowing girls to wear phylacteries during morning minyan, and Ramaz would do the same, if asked.

01/21/2014
Staff Writer
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Following news that the Modern Orthodox SAR High School is now allowing girls to wear tefillin during morning prayer, the principal of Ramaz, a similar institution, said he’d be happy to do the same — should anyone ask.

Rabbi Haskel Lookstein

The Year Ahead: Modern Orthodoxy at the Crossroads

12/31/2013
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Modern Orthodox advocates trumpet a “revival” of daring intellectual excitement and halachic experimentation. Literacy is high. Intermarriage is low. But growth is dwarfed by the booming demographics in the yeshivish and chasidic worlds. Just one chasidic girls’ school (Beis Ruchel) in Brooklyn has 15 first grades, about as many as all the Modern Orthodox first grades in Manhattan, Riverdale, and Westchester combined. Haredi yeshivas will ordain scores of rabbis in 2014; liberal Yeshivat Chovevei Torah will ordain only two rabbis.

The Joseph Problem

12/04/2013
Special To The Jewish Week
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Every year, around Chanukah, Jews in synagogues worldwide read the heart-wrenching story of Joseph and his brothers. While not immediately apparent, the festival and the Torah readings that accompany it have much in common. Chanukah, although we may neglect to mention it to our children, is a holiday that commemorates a Jewish civil war. The stories of this season challenge us: How do we deal with conflict among ourselves? Where do we draw the boundaries around our communities, and how do we defend them?

Daniel Raphael Silverstein

Preventing Abuse

04/04/2013

I want to commend David Cheifetz for “coming out” as a victim of childhood sex abuse in a Jewish institution and on his significant and practical imperatives for minimizing the likelihood of our children becoming victims in the future (“Sharing The Secret That’s Haunted My Soul,” March 29).

Hamas Doesn't Faze U.S. Students

My assignment this week was straight-forward and predictable: with hostilities heating up in Israel, with Hamas missiles from Gaza starting to aim at Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, with tens of thousands of reserve soldiers being called into active service, with Israel standing on the brink of war, I was to look into the situation of the thousands of teenage students from the States who are spending their gap year learning in Israeli yeshivot (the boys) and seminaries (the girls).

Missiles rain down, but U.S. students in Israel are staying put despite the conflict with Hamas. Getty Images
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