Atlanta Shul Breaks From Young Israel Over Politics, Support Of Trump


An Orthodox shul in Atlanta has disaffiliated from the Young Israel movement over the latter’s right-wing political stances, including its support of U.S. President Donald Trump.

The Young Israel of Toco Hills announced on Wednesday that its name will now be Kehillat Ohr Hatorah, Hebrew for “Light of the Torah,” after 93 percent of voting  members voted to separate from Young Israel.

This is the first time in the last five years that a shul has severed its connection to Young Israel, National Council of Young Israel president Farley Weiss told JNS.

“After deliberation and through an open and inclusive process, our members have decided to no longer affiliate with the National Council of Young Israel due to our organizations not being a strong fit for one another,” said Rabbi Adam Starr and president Marc Sokol in a statement to JTA.

They wished the National Council of Young Israel “the best as they continue to serve Klal Yisrael,” Hebrew for Israel’s people.

Weiss respected the decision.

“With any organization, any business, you can’t always necessarily please everyone all the time, and even if you do nothing because you’re afraid of alienating people, there will be people angry at you for doing nothing,” he told JTA. “I know we had a very public disagreement, but they have done everything very respectfully in their decision, and we appreciate that, and they have every right to do what they decided to do.”

A shul member who requested to remain anonymous because of the sensitivity of the discussions told JNS that “the membership made the right choice in parting ways with Young Israel national. The community should stand up for itself and Rabbi Starr in the face of attacks from Young Israel’s senior leadership.”

The synagogue will remain a member of the Orthodox Union, which applauded Trump for withdrawing from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, acknowledging Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights and appointing Elan Carr as the U.S. Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating Anti-Semitism—all positions that NCYI took.

Starr did not immediately respond to a request for comment over the apparent hypocrisy. Weiss declined to comment to JNS about this apparent contradiction.

“It’s a type of question for them,” said Weiss.




  1. Here’s the thing about President Trump: whatever his flaws are (and I don’t deny them), on key issues of importance to the Jewish community he’s much, much better than any Democratic candidate for President.

    And much as I hate Trump’s denial of reality with his “Fake news” dismissal of facts he doesn’t like, Democrats in Congress the Senate and even Mayor de Blasio are equally in denial and ignoring the reality of antisemitism repeatedly displayed by Reps. Tlaib and Omar. I’d rather have a President who lies about the size of his inauguration crowd than one who lies about and whitewashes antisemitism within his/her own party.

    • “Trump’s denial of reality with his “Fake news” dismissal of facts he doesn’t like”??? What you hear / read on Fake News is nothing like what is actually happening out there. And this is what President Trump is protesting. You are so brainwashed by the mainstream conspiracies and are the typical example of a “sheeple”.

  2. How can the Ohr HaTorah align itself with the left-wing, liberal, no-moral standard, and at times anti-Israel Democrats?

  3. As a member of a main-stream Young Israel in New Jersey, I am happy to see that this shul in Atlanta is leaving the YI network.

    The rabbi of this Young Israel in Atlanta is a product of the so-called “open-orthodox” movement, and a staunch supporter of the founder of that movement, rabbi Avi Weiss.

    This Atlanta synagogue would be more comfortable in the Conservative Jewish movement.

  4. So I suppose that Starr, Sokol, and their fatcats living in their pristine suburb of Atlanta, Georgia know more about the security needs of Israel than does Prime Minister Netenyahu and his Security Cabinet.

  5. Atlanta? Hello? Why should anyone care? Good. Good bye. Get lost. Don’t let the door hit you in the back of the head on the way out. Another one bites the dust. Good riddance.

  6. We know which politician they oppose. Who are the ones they support? Do these have any record of backing religious Jews or Israel ?

  7. It is wrong to translate Klal Israel as Israel’s people withou explaining that is not the same as the people of Medinate Israel. Klal Israel means the Jewish People as a whole not just those living in the State of Israel under Netanyahu and his ilk. (writen before ccandle lightning on friday evening)

  8. Whenever you need to claim you were the first, just borrow this line: “This is the first time in the last five years that a shul has severed its connection to Young Israel“


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