Agudas Yisroel Moetzes Declares: “Open Orthodoxy Not a Form of Torah Judaism”

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agudahRecent years have seen an effort by various institutions, under the rubric of “Open Orthodoxy,” to claim, as per that chosen name, that their theology and attitude toward Jewish religious law comprise an acceptable expression of what has long been called “Orthodox Judaism.”

The Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah of America, which serves as Agudath Israel of America’s highest rabbinic body, has examined statements and positions put forth by representatives of the “Open Orthodox” groups and found that the movement is beyond the pale of Orthodoxy.

To help prevent the Jewish public from being misled on the matter, the Moetzes issued the following statement today:


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  1. This is an important letter. Doing this in writing is so important because orally this has already been communicated by most Orthodox Rabbis, but heard only by their own congregants, and the principle danger of Open Orthodoxy is in their written statements to those not in normative Orthodox congregations.

    There are people who take a combative tone to defend Open Orthodoxy, but Orthodoxy is as it’s Rabbis say it is, not as a group of rogue rabbis say it is. Once Open Orthodox rabbis do and support things opposite explicit verses in the Torah, do you even need a Rabbi to tell you to stay away? Based on the continued defiant defense of Open Orthodoxy in the face of a vast majority of Orthodox Rabbis objecting to it, yes, we do need such a statement and by gedolim, leading sages of our generation.

    Now it’s time for members of Open Orthodoxy to distance themselves from that movement and return to the fold of true Orthodox Judaism.

  2. Dear Leaders of Torah Judaism pf Agudath Israel,
    I respect your Torah wisdom in many areas.
    However, I do not recall that you have called the leaders of Open Ortrhodoxy to a meeting or meetings to discuss the opportunity of bringing them to the correct path that you advocate of Moshe Emes Vih’toroso Emes. and the Mesorah… I am sure that with your great wisdom, you will be able to explain where you feel that they are off the derech of Authentic Orthodoxy (Orthodox=correct thinking).
    If this meeting is done with love and respect…you will then POSSIBLY fulfill… “raising up many talmidim.”
    The ball is in your court to fulfill correct admonition with direct face-to-face discussions filled with love for your fellow Jews… .
    May HaShem bless the work of your hands.

    Sincerely HaShem ee’ma’chem,
    Shlomo Zalman Elazer Grafstein

  3. Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz and the Yated Ne’eman have been warning about Avi Weiss and OO for years. Rabbi Lipschutz deserves a tremendous amount of credit for this. The Yated’s unequivocal and unquestioned approach has also helped further his goal of furthering the success of authentic Torah Judaism.


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