Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah Discusses Open Orthodoxy, Ukraine and More


moetzes-gedolei-hatorah-agudahYesterday, the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah of Agudas Yisroel of America met at Agudas Yisroel headquarters in New York City, NY, to discuss various issues affecting the greater Jewish world in the United States.

Among the topics discussed were the current crisis in Ukraine and its impact on the Jewish community there; the latest developments affecting the Torah world in Eretz Yisroel; the dangers of the “Open Orthodoxy” movement, covered extensively for several years here on; and a proposed new Mishnah Yomi program for youngsters under the umbrella of Pirchei Agudas Yisroel.

Pictured above, left to right, are Rav Aharon Feldman, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Ner Yisroel in Baltimore; Rav Dovid Feinstein, rosh yeshiva of Mesivta Tiferes Yerushalayim; Rav Yaakov Perlow, Novominsker Rebbe and rosh Agudas Yisroel; Rav Yosef Frankel, Vyelipoler Rebbe; Chacham Yosef Harari-Raful, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivat Ateret Torah; Rav Avrohom Chaim Levin, rosh yeshiva of Telshe Yeshiva in Chicago, via teleconference; Rabbi Labish Becker, executive director of Agudas Yisroel; Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel, executive vice president of Agudas Yisroel; Rav Aryeh Malkiel Kotler, rosh yeshiva of Bais Medrash Govoah in Lakewood; Rav Yaakov Bleich, chief rabbi of Ukraine; Rav Shmuel Kamenetsky, rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva of Philadelphia; and Rabbi Yehiel Kalish, vice president for development and state relations at Agudas Yisroel.

{ Newscenter}


  1. May I suggest that the Rabonim consider a decree that all yeshivas and talmud Toras should beging to teach Yiddish and that the children and particulary the girls should get rid of english the accent when they pronounce loshon ha kodesh.

    I was at a shul that the baal tefilah was so assimilated into the English pronunciation that you could not really conclude that it was Lashon Ha kodesh. That will be a step to return to real traditional Judaism.

  2. It’s so beautiful that they meet. It’s a p’aire for klal Yisroel. Hopefully haShem will bentch their efforts and klal Yisroel will benefit.

  3. #1 If you want to return to real traditional Judaism then I think you should push Lashon Hakodesh, as our forefathers spoke in the desert, not Yiddish. Also you just wrote off half the Jewish population – including S’fardim – for whom Yiddish is not a part of their history at all.

  4. One more thing: Eight gedolei Yisroel do not need your suggestions as to what Klal Yisroel needs to fix. They would, however, probably appreciate it if you took seriously what they consider important, instead of pontificating.

  5. Re: 1

    “…return to traditional Judaism.”


    Did Moshe Rabbeinu speak with the Yiddish accent that you are advocating? What about Dovid Hamelech? Or even the Baal Shem Tov? They all spoke with accents that were influenced by the place where they lived. Rav Moshe Feinstein spoke with a different accent –and even a different Yiddish vocabulary — than say, the Satmar Rebbe. Both of these differences were influenced by the places where they grew up and lived.

  6. #1: Why is Yiddish a return to traditional Judaism? There is nothing intrinsically Jewish about Yiddish. It is mostly a bastardized German. It also corrupted the proper pronunciation of Lashon Kodesh. If you want to return to traditional Lashon Kodesh, we should ask the Teimanim to teach us how they pronounce things.

  7. While I don’t care for the way this hayliger Yid Reb Avrohom Goldstien verbalized his comment, his message was misinterpreted – grossly so!
    He meant to say that our pronunciation of Lashon haKodesh has become so distinctly Americanized. The ‘pasach’ became an ‘aw’ sound, the ‘raish’ a strong ‘R’ sound etc. He wants Yiddin to sound like Yiddin! A distinction!

  8. I know in advance the reaction of most of you however:
    1) Loshon Ha Kodesh should be exactly that “HOLY” unfortunately Zionism has made Hebrew a street language with all its terrible desecration. Our sages in their wisdom spoke a language that was not Holy as Hebrew but it was not the language of Gentiles either. That was the case with Sephardic as well, they spoke Ladino but unfortunately Zionism wiped out most of that tradition.

    About pronunciation of the Hebrew..well if you have a tradition as to how to pronoumce the Hebrew such as the Litvishe or Hasidishe or sefardishe or yemenite then off course you should follow that tradition.
    The problem is that American Jews particularly have corrupted pronunciation to the point that it becomes questionable if the person is actually davening. Same thing is happening with nusach some people have no idea how to daven and usually make up as it goes along….

    3) I find no problem to suggest the Rabonim any point or suggestion that any Jew deems necessary to address. It is actually their pride and duty to hear the Jewish people and address their concerns.

  9. Why shouldn’t Yiddish be a return to traditional Judaism? all Ashkenazi jews spoke Yiddish just a few years ago and also in all countries of Europe, Russia, Poland, Hungary, Ukraine,etc not only in Germany,my friend Yiddish didn’t come because of chassidim,Jews spoke Yiddish Before the Baal Shem Tov…let’s not forget jewish least the Ashkenazi part of jews…

  10. The Telzer Rosh Yeshiva Rav Mordechai Gifter would allways speak about the importance of speaking and writing a proper English and the importance of Understanding “Sfas Hamedina”

  11. Rabbi Gifter Z’l spoke a perfect Yiddish and his droshas in yeshiva were in Yiddish. It is sad that after 1000 years of Yiddish history some people make arguments to forget it! Yiddish is a dialect distinctly Jewish it should be part of every Ashkenazy Jew and it does not hurt that a sefardi should learn it as well. I speak Ladino and Yiddish and of course English Spanish Hebrew and Aramaic even some Hungarian and Russian. It is also a great blessing for Jews to know many languages, In the Sanhedrin you were required to speak 70. By the way..the British and even Canadians pronounce Hebrew better than the Americans. It has become even aceptable to replace the Daled for an “R” for example Yiddish
    American pronoumce it Yirish. the Reish like rosh the say wrosh. Etc etc. Also Many Jews accepted the Israeli secular pronumciation of Hebrew instead of the mesoirah given to them.

  12. Rabbi Goldstein appears to know nothing about languages and their development. He should stick to paskening which brachah to make on Sugar Smacks

  13. I knew that it was a painful topic but honesty and integrity is not easy to come by these days. I’m proud to say that I was not born with the Yiddish language. but understood its importance. As a result of learning it I can understand any Jew looking for a trasalation. More importantly my children and grand children can be part of a beautiful part of Jewish history and feel the sence of belonging that comes with Yiddish.
    About development of should be clear to every one of the moral responsibility to protect loshon ha kodesh and its tradition. Modern Hebrew is a Zionist attempt to make Hebrew like any other language with its developments flaws. If you get insulted by that…just go a get Yiddish lesson after all it is your history.

  14. By the way, to the one who said to go back to our original language. It is ‘Hebrew’, not Aramaic (a sister language). The languages of the world all derive from Loshon HaKodesh, which is Ivrit, the language that H’ spoke to Adan v’Chava (ancient Hebrew)! Dialects and pronounciations are the normal outcome of thousands of years of golus; nothing more. Truest pronounciation of Hebrew is the Teimani. Yiddish has attained a holiness of its own due to the thousand year history which kept European Jewry united in a harsh environment and the same goes for the Sephardim with Ladino. They both have holiness to the Jew, but, of course, Loshon HaKodesh is just that – ‘Kadosh’ (H’s language).