‘Open Orthodoxy’ Israeli Style? Hesder Rabbi Initiates Women-Friendly Shul


yuval-sherloRabbi Yuval Sherlo, head of the Petachh Tikvah hesder yeshiva, has recently formulated an elaborate halachic document aimed at facilitating the integration of women into davening services and the life of a shul, while striving for the maximum level of equality allowed by the halacha. Rabbi Sherlo made waves recently when he ruled that a blind person may touch their dating partner.

In the plan, which was presented at a conference at the Lander Institute in Yerushalayim Wednesday, Rabbi Sherlo calls for renovating shul in order to adjust them to women’s davening, to encourage women to dance with the Sefer Torah and allow orphaned women recite Kaddish alongside men.

He also advoctaes having women conduct Torah lessons to all members of the congregation, male and female alike.

The rabbi stressed that the initiative should not be construed as capitulation to the demands of religious feminists. It was motivated by a desire to turn the shul into a place of worship for the entire community, “which is a clear interest of men,” as he stated.

Rabbi Sherlo suggested founding a rabbinical body, made up of both men and women, to discuss these ideas.

Ironic about his ruling is that recently, Rabbi Sherlo said he receives many questions about participation in Reform events, particularly weddings. He says, “It’s forbidden to attend the Chuppa ceremony but later when there’s dancing and merrymaking you can come and wish them Mazel-Tov.” What is noteworthy is that Rabbi Sherlo addressed the comparison between Reform Judaism and other religious, saying that “The argument against Reform Jews is stronger than that against Christianity and Islam, due to the face that they are idolaters and enemies, but they’re there and we’re here. Reforms are fakers.”

 {Yair Alpert-Matzav.com Israel/Ynet}


  1. > “…comparison between Reform Judaism and other religions…”

    Enough already! Conservativism and Reformism are NOT Judaism; they are derivative religions, no less so than the various streams of Christianity.

    “Judaism” means Torah mi’Sinai and taryag mitvot. Reform-Judaism and the other hyphenated “Judaisms” are oxymorons invented by the fakers who founded these pseudo-Jewish religions. Our only interest should be with continued, last-ditch kiruv efforts prior to the final geula, aimed at the (increasingly shrinking) body of Jews who have been misled by the Reform and Conservative fraudmeisters.

  2. Where does it say that any of this should be done for women? Yiddishkeit is about doing things for the sake of Hashem, to serve hashem – not to serve our own interests, or our own philosophies. Before a person, let alone a rov, does anything, he must ask himself if this is truly what the ratzon hashem is.

    How do we know the ratzon hashem? By learning torah hakedosha. Does it say anywhere in any sefer that men and women are to be treated equally in shul? Before bringing rayos that something is muttar al pi din, we need to know if institutionalizing something is the ratzon hashem – if it is, then it will find itself among the ranks of the mussar, chassidus, and yeshiva ‘movements’, which are based on clear hashkafos from seforim and mesorah.

    Is there any mesorah for ANY of these innovations? And if not, do they appear to be avodah zara(feminism)? If they do, they are assur altz that in itself.

    Getting close to hashem and elevating the neshoma are done not in ways that we can always easily perceive – the mitzvos are all chukim in essence. It is the height of gaiva to make g-d ‘in our image’ and do things WE baselessly think will bring us close rto Him when He already revealed to us clearly what brings us closer to him.

    Never has a woman had an active role in a shul – ever. There is no need for it. It devalues the kovod of the husband(i know deminists hate this, but it’sm the truth, a woman must treat her husband with honor) and blurs the lines of differences between the spiritual needs of men and women.

    Women are elevated spiritually through things that the torah tells them to do – tznius, chessed, and the like. To add a mitzvah to the torah is ‘bal tosif’.

    The closest thing we see to any of this madness is statements made by the tzadik, lehavdil, Rav Nachman of Breslov zy’a – he wrote that sometimes a person needs to daven in ways besides the zmanim kevuim, to do things a little bit out of standard to reach emunah and heights – this was talking about tefilah, something the person is doing ALREADY – just to personalize it a little, not to the exclusion of the Ikar.

    These people are making an ikkar out of something which has no mesorah, no mekor, and frankly no seichel in yiddishkeit.

    The modern orthodox leaders in america, notably Rabbi Herschel Shachter, have stated that the smicha that ‘yeshiva’ the man who began this madness runs will not be honored due to the deviations.

    It is very interesting that these women who suddenly think they know what will help them in their yiddishkeit are coincidentally the same ones who do not cover their hair, dress appropriately, touch boys in their youth, and other institutionalized deviations from halacha that are pervasive in some communities. Clearly then, avera goreres averah.

    I think before making innovations, before doing things that go beyond the letter of halacha, things we describe as chassidus – one must be firmly grounded in basic tzidkus(following basic halacha), then, and only then, when he is ready, may he take on personal chassidus, chumros, etc.. – this is the mesorah of klal yisroel, this is what the mesilas yesharim says clearly.

    This is precisely why these movements are wrong-headed – they are not moving towards the avodas hashem we have in our seforim, but rather, that which they have decided on their own.

    It is one thing for a righteous, heilige lady to engage in gemara study on her own – the drishah writes that this is muttar, and the chida writes something similar(although I cannot say this ishalacha lemaysoh – no other poskim make such differentiations, and reb moshe makes no statement to the effect when he says women cannot learn gemora(he blibes off saying, for the first and only time in gantze igros moshe, that the matter is ‘simple/pashut’). It is also one thing for her to do other unnecessary and ordinarily damaging acts – but these women are not at this caliber. These are regular yiddishe ladies who want something to spice up their yiddishkeit, however it is not paret of yiddishkeit, these things are foreign and unheard of, no matter how many rayos you can bring that a particular action is muttar me’ikar hadin.

    The attitude also comes from a lack of understanding of what halacha is supposed to be. As the chovos halevavos says, the mitzvos are supposed to engender within us certain attitudes, hashkafos, and understandings. Halacha is not a cold, mathematical system devoid of spirituality and hashkafa, contrary to what one might read when people say things like ‘leading a life within the framework of halacha’, – it’s not like you open a sefer and see that X is assur and X is muttar – one needs to give his neshoma and heart to the rebono shel olam ‘”hashem desires the heart”, chazal say – living in halacha means foriming the self, forming the mind, as a recepticle of serving hashem be’temimus. It is not something we do, with the rest of our lives involved in something else.

    How is this avodas hashem? Is it not rather, serving the self?