Modern Orthodoxy

Modern Orthodoxy Needs To Expand Its Theological Reach

06/02/2016 - 11:02

Modern Orthodoxy is currently in the midst of an intense search for a formula that will help invigorate a movement whose allure has seemingly diminished. A philosophy which until recently had broad appeal, is losing traction among the younger generation. Its ethos, it seems, no longer excites the populace the way it did in its heyday. Rabbis, scholars and lay leaders are searching for a solution. So far, unsuccessfully.  The ailment is obvious; the cure, elusive.

Rabbi Ysoscher Katz. Via

NJ Orthodox Shul Announces Hire Of Woman Using ‘Rabbi’ Title

01/12/2016 - 12:06

An Orthodox synagogue in New Jersey has hired Lila Kagedan, the first Yeshivat Maharat graduate to go by the title “rabbi.”

Lila Kagedan is the first Yeshivat Maharat graduate to go by the title “rabbi.” JTA

Rabbinical Council Of America Conversion Panel Issues Recommendations

07/05/2015 - 20:00

A committee established by the Rabbinical Council of America to review its conversion processes has submitted its report featuring recommendations in nine areas of the process.

The Riskin Row: Crossroads For Modern Orthodoxy?

07/05/2015 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

Consider the following public statements:

“The International Rabbinic Fellowship (IRF), an Orthodox rabbinic organization with over 180 members, is appalled … by media reports that the Chief Rabbinate of Israel is threatening to not renew Rabbi Shlomo Riskin’s appointment as Chief Rabbi of Efrat. At a time when American Jewish communities of all denominations are growing increasingly pessimistic about the rigidity and narrowness of the rabbinate and its policies, Rabbi Riskin remains one of the few reasons to be hopeful that a more inclusive and humane approach to halacha is still possible in the State.”

Dov S. Zakheim, left; Steven Bayme

You, Not Rabbis, Have The Power To Stop Rabbinic Abuse

06/09/2015 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

I want to share a secret about American Orthodox rabbis: We have no power. We serve at the pleasure of lay leaders who sign our paychecks. We often live in homes we do not own. With relatively few exceptions, we are employed under contracts that must be renewed every few years. If we make a few false moves or anger the wrong laypeople, our contracts can be bought out or it can otherwise be made clear that we are no longer wanted, that our time here is up.

Determining The Movement's Parameters

Modern Orthodoxy is modern, but it is also Orthodox, writes a Yeshiva University professor.

03/23/2014 - 20:00

Steven Bayme, whose devotion to serving the Jewish community over a long career deserves the highest regard, has written an Opinion piece (“Modern Orthodoxy at the Crossroads,” The Jewish Week, March 7) that requires the attention of everyone concerned about the future of this critically important movement.

Zysman Hall at Yeshiva University. Wikimedia Commons

Rabbi Yitz Greenberg: We Must Speak Out

Modern Orthodox leaders need to support Sharansky's proposal and also dissociate from the haredi Western Wall Foundation.
04/14/2013 - 20:00

Now that Natan Sharansky is going public with his proposal to resolve the Kotel conflict, it is time for the leadership of Modern Orthodoxy to speak out. The message should not be only support for Sharansky’s Solomonic proposal but to dissociate from the policies and tactics practiced by the haredi Western Wall Heritage Foundation.

The fervently religious who are obstructing women's prayer at the Wall are desecrating God's name, the author says. Getty Images

The Disservice Orthodox Judaism Does

I broke gender norms, and it was delicious.

Last Wednesday, for my first time, I baked two loaves of challah for Shabbat. I participated in an enjoyable event held regularly at my campus Chabad. Baking challah and its accompanying mitzvah, our instructor helpfully explained, is traditionally a “woman’s mitzvah.”

Did I just witness gender formation? Was female identity constructed just there before my eyes and is it really so simple?

Must we check our brains at the kitchen door when we learn how to make challah? Wikimedia Commons

Jim Joseph Foundation Gives $3 Million Grant to Rabbinical School

04/14/2011 - 20:00

SAN FRANCISCO (JTA) -- The Jim Joseph Foundation made a $3 million challenge grant to the Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School -- the 5-year-old foundation's first direct grant to a rabbinical school.

The money will be disbursed over a five-year period. The yeshiva will commit to matching $2.5 million of the grant on a one-to-one basis.

Founded in 2001 by Rabbi Avi Weiss, Yeshivat Chovevei Torah has carved out a niche on the left wing of Modern Orthodoxy, ordaining rabbis committed to a more open, pluralistic approach to Orthodox Judaism.

The Embattled Voice Of Modern Orthodoxy

03/14/2011 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

I first heard of Rabbi Yitz Greenberg some 45 years ago when a high school rosh yeshiva, recognizing my fascination both with history and with the then-emerging Orthodox left, encouraged me to take Rabbi Greenberg’s courses at Yeshiva University. This month I was privileged to host a reception at the American Jewish Committee honoring the rabbi and educator’s career upon the publication of a festschrift, a volume of scholarly essays in tribute to him marking four decades of intellectual leadership and Jewish public service.

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