Matzav Exclusive: Rav Ausband: “Hebrew Institute of Riverdale Should Be Called a Theater, Not a Synagogue”

13 Exclusive: [Full audio below.] As reported here on, Yeshiva of the Telshe Alumni of Riverdale yesterday hosted an “Afternoon of Torah and Introspection” featuring remarks by the rosh yeshiva, Rav Avrohom Ausband, who spoke about “Mesoras Yisroel vs. catering to Modern Fashions.” During the 80-minute powerful drasha, Rav Ausband stressed the importance of mesorah and the dangers posed by those who deviate from the tradition as passed down through the generations from the time of Avraham Avinu and Sarah Imeinu.

Toward the end of his remarks, Rav Ausband addressed recent efforts to ordain women and allow them to participate and take on mitzvos and positions of men.

“Good, fine people who don’t know better…are being caught up in this kind of stuff. It’s not Jewish,” said Rav Ausband.

Rav Ausband condemned those who use Torah and religion for their own agendas.

“It’s a rachmanus. It should hurt us. It should pain us. They should do teshuvah – and we should do teshuvah. It is our fault that they are like that too,” said Rav Ausband.

The rosh yeshiva concluded with strong remarks regarding the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale led by Rabbi Avi Weiss:

“I will end with one remark. This kishron already was said by Rav Meir Shapiro, the Lubliner Rov. I would like to suggest…Hebrew Institute of Riverdale should be called a theater, not a synagogue, and everything will be fine. Call it a theater, don’t call it a synagogue, and everything will be wonderful. Then you can do whatever you want! Plays you can make whatever you want. Why do you have to call it a shul? …A shul is hefker?! A synagogue means you can do whatever you want with it?! I mean it seriously… We’ll solve all our problems. You can sing, you can dance. In a theater you can do whatever you want. Don’t call it a shul. Shalom! But why do you have to use religion? Forget about the religion. You want to be mekarev people, you want to make them feel good… and you have rachmanus on them. If you’re doing it altz Yiddishkeit, meheichan gomir, where did you learn it from? Who taught it to you? If you don’t do it as Yiddishkeit, you want it as a theater, so Hollywood taught it to you! ….I am not saying this to be funny. I am saying this because it is pain[ful]. Es tut vey. Such deviations from Yiddishkeit…”

The gathering was held at the Yeshiva of the Telshe Alumni Bais Medrash Building, located at 4904 Independence Avenue in Riverdale.

Rav Ausband, one of the leading young roshei yeshivos in the United States, is a fifth generation Telsher. He is a son of Rav Eizik Ausband, rosh yeshiva in Telshe Cleveland, may he have a refuah sheleimah, and a son-in-law of Rav Binyamin Zeilberger zt”l, rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva Bais Hatalmud in Bensonhurst.

Click below to listen to the full drasha, exclusively recorded for

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  1. The Rosh Yeshiva shlita is absolutely correct. The Hebrew Institute is iconoclastic and Orthoprax at best. Thet and Chovevei (sonei) Torah will do anything to destroy Judaism and the Jewish people. We need to stop them. The RCA must expel all liberals who side with Weiss and Mark Angel, and put them in cherem. Their shuls must be thrown out of the OU. And real yidden will shun them all and the graduates of the chovevei torah seminary.

  2. please don’t sensationalize the beatuful and holy words of Rav Ausband with this headline and quick summary of his strongest remarks. Please reconsider!

  3. its not called a shul, its called the Institute, and you are right, it should not be called a shul.
    they can make their own religion, they don’t have to bend G-d’s to what THEY want.

  4. I found this website and can not belive what I am reading.

    “And real yidden will shun them all and the graduates of the chovevei torah seminary.”

    Have you ever met or spoken with one of these graduates from Chovevie Tora?

    And what have you, as a ‘REAL yid’ done to show ahavas yisroel? These graduates and Avi Wiess encompass the true ahavas yisroel. Perhaps misguided on some level, and that should be shunned but what about the rest of the wonderful values many of these Rabbi’s have? Complete sincerity, ahavas yisroel. Avi Wiess is dedicated to fighting for holocaust survivors, Russian refusniks in the 80’s and many other jewish people who have been forsaken and oppressed by others.

    Why don’t you do some real research and honest introspection and instead of hating other jews, and calling yourself a real jew, be a real jew by seeing the good, instead of jumping on the bad.

    Do you know that every Yom Kippur, in between Mincha and Neila, instead of napping, Rabbi Avi Wiess talks for over an hour and leads beginners in a Yom Kippur service? Rabbi Avi Wiess welcomes the poor, insane, and lonely people into his schull.

    Yom Kippur service in his schull is the holiest experience. His participants vote not to take a break because it is judgment day and dont want to waste the time by napping. The daven straight through and there is not a dry eye.

    I can assure you, this is true-although his brand of orthodoxy dosnt work for you, there are many jews out there coming back to their roots because of the sensitivity and ethics of R’Avi Wiess. You may not like it, but there is a strong need for this in Judaism.

    May Hashem have mercy on all those who slander this tzadik.

  5. rav ausbond is truly one of the greates rosh yesiva in usa today .all of us, his talmidim in lakewood are always asking his daas torah on everything.

  6. “They should do teshuvah – and we should do teshuvah. It is our fault that they are like that too,” said Rav Ausband.

    I agree. .

  7. YCT is a danger and threat to Orthodoxy- feminism, ordaining women rabbis, critical/academic studies, ethical “kashrus,” liberal politics, interdenominational dialogue, interfaith, all things that even rhe Rav himself was against, these people claim they have a right to do AND they have the chutzpah to claim it is Orthodox. Nobody is arguing that Avi Weiss isn’t a nice guy. I am sure he is a very warm and nice individual, but Judaism cannot and should not be turned into nothing more than a way to get attention and seek publicity.

  8. Avi Weiss is a tzaddik? A tzaddik does not do things against halacha. Weiss does all the time. So what if he gives a beginner service on Yom Kippur? I don’t nap on yom kippur either- I learn Mishnayos Yoma. Does that make me a tzaddik?

  9. If the dust finally settled…then the RCA is run by individuals who are not willing to take a stand.
    And does everyone within the RCA accept these individuals as leaders fit to establish Rabbinic policy?

    Sadly, the real Poskim of the RCA seem to have NOTHING to do with policy, Vaad HaKavod, Halakah, etc. They are like Queen Elizabeth’s. Liberals like Avi Weiss, seem to control policy. While none of us are perfect; this kind of behavior is far from acceptable.

    Surely, the Charedim have issues too- and no Yeshiva is perfect- but that does not in any way mitigate our own issues.

    Shame on the leadership of the RCA!