Daf Yomi – Open Orthodox Style: Don’t Fall For Their Ruse


chovevei-torahRecently, ads were posted about a “Communal-Wide Modern Orthodox Siyum Hashas & Leil Iyun,” where speakers from various backgrounds within Orthodoxy would be mesayeim Shas and present lectures about the Talmud a few nights after the “main” siyum arranged by Agudas Yisroel of America. The “Communal-Wide Modern Orthodox Siyum Hashas & Leil Iyun” has among its sponsors Yeshivat Chovevei Torah (YCT), Yeshivat Maharat (the Open Orthodox seminary originally designed to ordain women, led by the female rabbi/”rabba” of Rabbi Avi Weiss’ congregation), Uri L’Tzedek (the left-wing social action group led by YCT rabbis), Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance (JOFA), International Rabbinic Fellowship (“IRF” – the YCT rabbinical organization), a Conservative rabbinical seminary, a traditional Conservative congregation named after a former JTS dean and led by a female “rosh kehilla,” some unaffiliated Jewish institutions, and some liberal Orthodox synagogues and schools, almost all of whose rabbis are members of the YCT Advisory Board, are YCT staff members, or maintain other affiliations with YCT.

This siyum also features male and female mesaymim of Shas, including one speaker from Yeshivat Hadar, a non-Orthodox rabbinical seminary led by JTS graduates. A speech in favor of “academic Talmud” (studying Gemara in non-traditional ways, such as the Talmud critics do) was on a recently-posted agenda of the event. (The agenda has changed many times thus far. The latest agenda is posted at www.siyumhashas12.com.)

Alas, there is another, undeclared yet glaring item in the program’s agenda: triple deception.

On the one hand, this “Modern Orthodox siyum” is not endorsed by any of the national Modern Orthodox organizations or leading Modern Orthodox mosdos in America – not by the OU, the RCA, National Council of Young Israel, YU, Mizrachi/Religious Zionists of America, Emunah, Amit Women, etc. So much for being a “Communal-Wide Modern Orthodox” program.

Furthermore, this siyum was originally slated to feature a few well-known prominent mainstream Orthodox rabbonim, who did not at all fit in with the balance of the program, its sponsors or participants; in fact, they would have stuck out like sore thumbs. To the best of our knowledge, when these few rabbonim (who have since withdrawn from any participation in the siyum) were asked to speak at the event, it was concealed from them that the event was basically an Open Orthodox and non-Orthodox-sponsored program, with no national institutional or organizational Orthodox sponsorship. On the contrary, they were told that it is a Modern Orthodox siyum, sponsored by some well-known Modern Orthodox shuls, and they thereupon graciously agreed to speak, under deception and concealment by those behind the event.

The Yated obtained documentation showing that this siyum is really being run by the YCT office. This fact was concealed from the public by way of the siyum organizers establishing an independent website and issuing a press release that gave the impression that the event is the broad-based effort of a variety of shuls and other institutions.

the significance of this deception

As the Yated previously reported, YCT has been doing its utmost to show that it is part of mainstream Orthodoxy. YCT is currently not accepted by Young Israel and the RCA, and in order to try to prove that it is indeed Orthodox and has legitimate Torah bona fides, YCT has undertaken an aggressive campaign to convince the general Orthodox world that it is indeed part of the machaneh. This siyum is a central part of YCT’s image campaign, and, as this article reveals, the basis for YCT’s image campaign is deception and distortion. YCT is part of mainstream Orthodoxy as much as the pork on the non-kosher meat shelf is part of the glatt kosher shelf.

We pray that the larger Orthodox world see the emes and not interpret the chazer fissel of YCT and its affiliates as simonei kashrus, despite YCT’s every effort to create that false image.

It would be a shame if well-intentioned people attended that siyum and gave credence to YCT and a propaganda victory.

Click here to see the entire Yated article.

{Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. Why all the sinah? Why not be happy that they are making a siyum? Are they not allowed to learn daf yomi too ? Is their completion of shas any less limud torah than your’s?

  2. What is it about kofrim that they can’t bear to let other people be frum? Whay can’t they construct their own Gehenom without dragging other people in? They have plenty of company from their own ranks.

    I guess the Soton is a baal taaveh and just can’t get enough…

  3. Matzav you gotta chill! Why is there so much hatred against these Yidden when we have so many others out there, like child molestors

  4. This is a time when the sitra acher is working hard. This group with their women rabbis and their own interpretations of Torah who have the chutzpah of calling themselves ‘orthodox’ won’t let up, even though they know how the truly orthodox groups are rightfully against them. The ugly part is calling themselves orthodox, thus fooling those who might not be aware. If they would just associate themselves with the reform movement, then, well, that’s what the reform do. This seems to be part of a movement to water down Torah Judaism and it’s being manipulated in many ways. Even the push for the chareidim in EY to be drafted in the army is also part of this push. The frum community should be aware.

  5. To Chaim Z,

    It has been a long time since I have heard your comments. Alas, you have grown little and your world of Clal Yisrael is rather parochial at best. I would have hoped that our emails back and forth would have given you a little respect for people who like you are committed to Torah, HKB”H, Clal Yisrael as a whole and Eretz Yisrael
    Alas you have much to do Tshuva for during these 3 Weeks. The catch all phrase of Ahavas Chinnam as opposed to Sinas Chinam is the crux of the matter. The only Satan here are the people who can not accept other Jews. I epected better from you.

  6. Based on their non-orthodox (ie. conservative and reform) approaches and interpretations to so many halachos and minhagim, why are they not officially excluded from the orthodox venue. It appears that they don’t really want to be orthodox.

  7. In response to the comment about sinah (#2) We indeed must be vigilant against sinas chinam – not just in the three weeks. We should be accepting and not condescending of Jews of all backgrounds and affiliations. We should learn to be tolerant of different halachic perspectives as long as they fit within a true framework of halacha. Modern Orthodox Rabbanim, poskim and Roshei Yeshiva should be accorded no less respect than those within the yeshiva world. Yes, there are problems with modern orthodoxy; different but no less than in the yeshiva world. That said, it is imbecilic to treat Chovevei Torah as a legitimate expression of traditional Judaism. It is not and it is becoming ever-more glaring. The main focus of this mockery of an event is to give them orthodox legitimacy. We have an obligation to love every Jew but never at the expense of letting the Torah be trampled upon by a farcical institution parading itself as orthodox with its split hoofs.

  8. its about time someone said something about this place I wouldn’t even give it the credit to call it an yeshiva i know personally someone that learned there they distort halacha as they please they are no better than the conservative or reform movements just a new method

  9. Re Anonymous 5: read again. There is a lengthy list of Orthodox communal organizations NOT endorsing this, including the OU.
    Please be careful.

  10. And a P.S. to Anonymous 6 and anyone else about to hit send: why all the gratuitous guilt by association harangues?

  11. Kol hakavod to yct and shame on the yated for once again driving wedges in klal yisrael and promoting sinas chinam.

  12. Seriously, live and let live. If they learned all of Shas, they are entitled to make a siyum. Period. If you don’t like the way they are doing it, don’t attend. But to call them names and discredit them should be below our dignity at Torah-true yidden.

  13. Nobody is saying that there is anything wrong with “less-than-frum” learning gemorah, (or any part of Torah), as matter of fact, it’s wonderful!
    The issue is, learning the most holy and valuable works of all time requires certain rules that if not followed, is not really learning Daf at all. The larger problem here is claiming some sort of authority (such as that of a magic shiur) and advertising proper/true teaching of actual mesorah is as deceitful as selling blank teffillin or trief meat with a kosher symbol.

  14. To comment 4#
    If you look in the 4th paragraph you will see that is says specifically that the OU is not sponsoring it.

  15. What is so wrong if these guys make a siyum Hashas? Did not Hashem say: Hal’vai they should abandoned me and learned my Torah, the light in the Torah will lead them back to Me.

  16. Just in time for the Nine Days which are coming up soon…some more sinas chinam.

    If you don’t like the event, don’t go…but please don’t discredit those who might find meaning in planning and attending such an event.

  17. To #5 the article clearly says the OU is NOT a sponsor.

    “On the one hand, this “Modern Orthodox siyum” is not endorsed by any of the national Modern Orthodox organizations or leading Modern Orthodox mosdos in America – not by the OU, the RCA, National Council of Young Israel, YU, Mizrachi/Religious Zionists of America, Emunah, Amit Women, etc. So much for being a “Communal-Wide Modern Orthodox” program.

  18. The most basic problem with YCT is not that they are not frum enough. That is for the L-rd Above to decide. The problem with YCT is that they have an agenda that is coming from a desire to recreate Judaism in the image of the secular world and they are more frum about that image than the Torah. Someone who gives in to his yetzer hora (evil inclination) occasionally is not doing the right thing but we are human beings and this does not push us out of the Orthodox camp. Someone who makes going contrary to the words and spirit of the Torah into a shita (ideology) is an apikorus (heretic), even if it is only one aspect of Judaism that is involved. So while we may be happy that they are (hopefully) learning Torah, and we can hope that if they do so sincerely, without an agenda, it will ultimately help them return, we are not happy that at the moment they are hijacking the Siyum to try to achieve legitimacy and to further their anti-Torah goals.

  19. #2
    “Ahavei H-shem Sinu Ra”

    “Why not be happy that they are making a siyum? Are they not allowed to learn daf yomi too ? Is their completion of shas any less limud torah than your’s?”

    For some, it is poison ‘Sam Hamaves”

  20. Yes they are entitled to a siyum hashas if they indeed did complete shas. And true that if you dont agree with their principles, you do not have to attend.
    But the problem here is that they are misleading people and falsely claiming to be endorsed by certain orthodox rabbis. Which means that even someone who does not approve of YCT, may be mislead into attending this siyum hashas, thereby being exposed to kfiradig hashkafos.
    And that is the crux of the problem.

  21. Sheldon, do you understand why people have serious reservations with YCT? I won’t claim to like all the rhetoric and name-calling etc. from the peanut gallery but matter of factly calling a spade a spade? There are valid reasons that the “modern” Jewish communal organizations listed above don’t want to be associated with YCT.

  22. Looks like people need to learn the halachos of ahavas Yisroel, and not use their ignorance of them as a blanket “inclusionary” ticket.

    Yes, it is a Mitzvah to hate certain Jews. In particular, Jews who sin and cause others to sin.

    The Rabbis and Rabbits of YCT and their crony organizations have already passed the slippery slope, not far behind the clerics of other “streams” of Judaism, notably Conservative and Reform.

    And pay careful note, that I refer to the clerics of these movements as the guilty ones, not the Hamon Am, whom they are leading astray and are usually not to blame.