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  • #618983

    Lightbrite
    Participant

    Please explain open orthodoxy in layman’s terms.

    For the past year I’ve read all these posts here and on other sites that talk about it. Yay. Nay. It’s orthodox. It’s not orthodox. Many opinions. I’m still clueless here. What is it?

    1) Do people actually affiliate themselves with OO?

    2) Is it an obvious thing (like perhaps as someone would be able to tell who is Chassidish, Yeshivish, or MO based on appearance, shuls, or hashkafah)?

    3) What’s the difference between MO and OO?

    Thank you in advance

    #1210294

    Avi K
    Participant

    There is an OO manifesto (“Open orthodoxy! A modern Orthodox rabbi’s creed”) which is on-line and by itself seems fine to me. However, Some OO “rabbis” have crossed the line perhaps due to the influence of other groups on YCT. This has led to a push-back by rabbis such as Avraham Gordimer.

    So far as I know from what I read on the Internet (I live in Israel) there is a difference in the shuls welcoming (apparently looking the other way) active (as opposed to celibate) gays and giving greater roles to women (e.g. aliyot, leading Kabbalat Shabbat). Hopefully they will take the criticism to heart and retreat a bit as did the Chassidim (according to the Tzemach Tzedek quoted in “Mekor Baruch” by Rabbi Baruch Epstein). According to Rav Kook this is the purpose of opposition to a new group.

    I think that MO is a bit more traditional in synagogue practice although now there is also Centrist Orthodoxy and Morethodoxy. Maybe the list of subgroups will become so cumbersome that people will return to tzaddikim/benoni’im/resh’im (also Rav Kook’s view).

    #1210295

    DikDukDuck
    Participant

    Open “Orthodoxy” makes Modern Orthodox look like Chareidim.

    #1210296

    iacisrmma
    Participant

    Open Orthodoxy is trying to push modern day societal norms and political correctness into an “Orthodox” environment even if it runs counter to halachah or accepted minhag.

    As an example, a recent ruling allows a woman to nurse a baby in shul while davening.

    1) Do people actually affiliate themselves with OO?

    Yes

    2) Is it an obvious thing (like perhaps as someone would be able to tell who is Chassidish, Yeshivish, or MO based on appearance, shuls, or hashkafah)?

    Yes and no. They are mainly affiliated with a Yeshiva and Shul in Riverdale (Bronx, NY)

    3) What’s the difference between MO and OO?

    Modern Orthodox is a term generally used for what was once called “middle of the road”. Frum but not yeshivish. What I would call those affiliated with the Young Israel movement or Yeshiva University. (I know this may not be a fair statement.)

    #1210297

    iacisrmma
    Participant

    Just to add, myself and my wife both grew up in Young Israel shuls and many of our relatives still daven and our members of Young Israel shuls.

    #1210298

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    Open Orthodoxy is basically taking up the space that used to be held by conservatve.

    #1210299

    K-cup
    Participant

    Open Orthodox basically does not believe there is Torah Hashkafa. They openly say that we should find a way to make Torah reflect what we feel is right, and follow or own moral senses. Example, find a way to have women rabbis, activily support homosexual right to marriage, ECT…

    They openly say they do these things because they are the right thing to do, therefore do it. And just because the Torah seems to not support it, look harder and be more creative and you’ll find a support

    #1210300

    Lightbrite
    Participant

    Thank you for your explanations.

    #1210301

    Lightbrite
    Participant

    Is The Torah dot Com an Open Orthodox site?

    #1210302

    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    As an example, a recent ruling allows a woman to nurse a baby in shul while davening.

    Excuse me for being ignorant, but why is this an issue?

    #1210303

    Lightbrite
    Participant

    Thanks Mods 🙂

    Request to delete the last question about the website please. Got the answer. Also just realized a poster referenced an affliate.

    #1210304

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    “As an example, a recent ruling allows a woman to nurse a baby in shul while davening.

    Excuse me for being ignorant, but why is this an issue?”

    I was wondering the same thing (maybe I’m also ignorant).

    I think people might be making OO sound better than it is. I was under the impression that they do things that are much more problematic than some of the things listed sound to me. I thought they don’t say “shelo asani Isha”. (personally, if that is true, I find their refusal to say it offensive and demeaning, aside from the more obvious problems).

    #1210305

    Lightbrite
    Participant
    #1210306

    iacisrmma
    Participant

    LU: Nursing in shul? If one is not supposed to make a Brocha in front of a woman whose hair is not covered what do you say about a woman exposing her upper body? It is definitely a Davar ervah!

    #1210308

    mw13
    Participant

    OO has essentially the same outlook as Reform – they don’t really care what the Torah, Chazal and Halacha have to say; they just want to do espouse whatever views are currently “in”, particularly about hot-button issues like same-sex marriage, feminism, humanism, being “green”, and what have you. Now, they often attempt (with little success) to shoehorn these beliefs into words that a respected Rabbi, somewhere, has once said. But by and large, they do not care what the majority opinion of the Poskim and Rabbonim are, nor do they necessarily care what the true intention of the Torah or Chazal are.

    In short, regardless of what label one attaches to them, it seems to be pretty obvious that this movement has absolutely nothing to do with authentic Judaism.

    #1210311

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    Iacisrmma- I was assuming she was in the women’s section. I was also assuming that she was doing so tzniusly.

    I agree that it doesn’t sound so appropriate, but I wasn’t aware that it something that is discussed in piskei halacha (either to permit or to forbid). (which doesn’t mean it’s not – I was just wondering if it is and what the issue is).

    Or are you talking about a situation in which both those conditions are not present?

    #1210312

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    “What’s the difference between MO and OO?”

    The main difference is that OO has been declared off-the-map of Orthodoxy, and MO hasn’t. Nowadays, it takes a lot for the Rabbanim to declare something as being off-the-map (my own terminology). They may speak strongly against certain Orthodox institutions etc, but they won’t say that they aren’t Orthodox.

    I think the Rabbanim had a lot of issues with OO for a while, but they only declared that they can’t be considered Orthodox when they crossed a certain line.

    On the other hand, when it comes to MO, the Rabbanim have not declared that they are not Orthodox.

    MO is a very broad category and OO was the most left-wing of MO, but today it is not even considered MO since the Rabbanim have declared that they are not Orthodox.

    MO has many meanings and contains a very broad range. On the most right-wing side, there are people who are extremely Frum and have very Torahdik hashkafos, but do not want to call themselves Yeshivish for whatever reason.

    In some cases it is for sociological reasons (they didn’t grow up in the Yeshivish world so they are not comfortable with the Yeshivish community or the label), and in other cases, they may differ on certain hashkafic issues, and in still other cases, they just have to give themselves a label and since they are not Yeshivish, they have to call themselves MO.

    For other people, MO means that they keep some halachos but not others. Often, this would involve not keeping hilchos tznius. In many of these cases, they may not be aware that these things are halacha and may think they are chumras.

    And then there are left-wing MO people who have very liberal hashkafos that are problematic according to the Torah, but either they are not quite left-wing enough to be considered OO or they really are that left-wing but they are not calling themselves OO.

    #1210313

    K-cup
    Participant

    I saw the letter from the moetzes hagedolah about OO, is that what you are referring to by stating “OO has been declared off-the-map of Orthodoxy” by rabbanim?

    #1210314

    lesschumras
    Participant

    LU, who are the Rebbaim that you are referring to? You make it sound like they are apart from MO but have a role in deciding if MO is Orthodox.

    #1210315

    lesschumras,etc.,

    Strawmen are awfully useful,maybe little more than a distraction

    The Cardinal Precepts and the the 3 Chamuros without apologetics

    Is what is demanded

    Authentic rightwing MO are in ,everyone else is up in the air

    #1210316

    K-cup
    Participant

    Open Orthodox say they follow all “Cardinal Precepts” very carefully and even more than most. because they take more rishonim into account.

    #1210317

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    Authentic rightwing MO are in ,everyone else is up in the air

    According to your litmus test, Where does Young Israel, The OU, The RCA and YU belong?

    Do you kick them out?

    #1210318

    iacisrmma
    Participant

    LU: In a non-tznius manner

    #1210321

    yytz
    Participant

    “1) Do people actually affiliate themselves with OO?”

    Yes, but the number of people is very low. If you look at the alumni page of YCT you’ll see they have placed people at a few shuls (usually small out of town shuls), though most of them end up with other jobs like at Hillels. Presumably at least some of the people at their shuls would consider themselves OO.

    “2) Is it an obvious thing (like perhaps as someone would be able to tell who is Chassidish, Yeshivish, or MO based on appearance, shuls, or hashkafah)?”

    Appearance: No. Shuls: only indication would be YCT rabbi (however, not all YCT rabbis are necessarily OO — see below). Hashkafa: see below.

    “3) What’s the difference between MO and OO?”

    MO means accepting traditional haskhafa and halacha 100% while being more open to university education, popular culture, involvement in modern society, perhaps even exploring the varying views in controversial areas such as Chazal and science, etc.

    OO means affiliating with an Orthodox shul, having a mechitza, identifying as Orthodox, and yet being more flexible about certain things (such as Biblical criticism, women’s participation in shul, attitude toward non-Orthodox, etc.) Some individual OO rabbis have advocated or done very Reform-ish things, like saying you don’t have to say shelo asani isha.

    Some OO are more or less the same as left-wing MO while some are like Conservative or Reform in their hashkafa (one, for example, claimed Moshiach will not necessarily be an actual person, chas v’shalom).

    I actually know one YCT-ordained rabbi who is hashkafically and halachically totally MO, not OO, and who is accepted as an Orthodox rabbi by all the other Orthodox rabbis in town. Even within YCT there is a lot of variety.

    #1210322

    Avram in MD
    Participant

    lesschumras,

    LU, who are the Rebbaim that you are referring to?

    I was curious about that as well.

    I’m curious about your definition of MO ( failure to observe tznius).

    That’s not how lilmod ulelamaid defined MO. She wrote, “MO has many meanings and contains a very broad range..”

    There have been a number of arrests and convictions of right wing Jews in the NY area for all sorts of civil crimes ( Ponzi scbemes, fraud, bribery, slumlords etc ). Does failure to observe these kind of mitzvahs make them MO also?

    False equivalence. There is a difference between committing a sin and asserting that an act is not a sin.

    #1210324

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    There are plenty of people who attend Young Israels who really arent that religious. They basically keep shabbos more or less and keep kosher more or less, but dont do much else.

    The women do not cover their hair outside of shul and wear pants and the men do not daven during the week. Pretty much everyone in shul knows these people.

    You can either tell them what they are doing wrong and risk they leave (and that does happen) or let them continue what they are doing as most do go to shul on shabbos on a regular basis and send their kids to day schools and live in a jewish area

    #1210326

    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    LU: In a non-tznius manner

    1: Prove it.

    2: Prove that it is a problem as long as it is behind the Mechitza.

    #1210327

    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    False equivalence. There is a difference between committing a sin and asserting that an act is not a sin.

    OK. Why must a woman keep what you call “Tznius” in an MO community where she dresses to the standards of her community? And what sort of “sin” is she committing?

    #1210328

    yytz, gavra_at_work,

    Very shrewd to quibble about minutiae

    Rabbi Gordimer among others have written extensively on OO

    #1210329

    huju
    Participant

    Re Avi K’s first post: You mention YCT, but there is no such thing as Yeshiva of Central Toledo.

    #1210330

    Call them Reformodox .it is more appropo

    Many of OO are to the Left of some the Conservative movement.

    Nomenclature is of import

    #1210331

    huju
    Participant

    “Open Orthodoxy” is what Moses said the first time he tried to open the Ark. He saw some pagans saying “open sesame” to clear the entrance of a blocked desert cave, and he thought something like it might work on the Ark. But no. You can look it up in Mishnah Mishugah.

    #1210332

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    lesschumras: “LU, who are the Rebbaim that you are referring to? You make it sound like they are apart from MO but have a role in deciding if MO is Orthodox.”

    I probably should have qualified the statement by putting “my impression is” in front of it. I didn’t do so because I thought it was a given although I don’t have sources. To answer your question, I do not remember who the Rabbanim were, but I read that many Rabbanim declared them as being non-Orthodox. I thought that both MO Rabbanim and Chareidi Rabbanim considered them non-Orthodox, unlike all other streams of MO which (as far as I know) have not been declared as non-Orthodox. I think it may have been the RCA which declared them as non-Orthodox. There are probably others here who know more about it.

    #1210333

    Avram in MD
    Participant

    gavra_at_work,

    OK. Why must a woman keep what you call “Tznius” in an MO community where she dresses to the standards of her community? And what sort of “sin” is she committing?

    When lilmod ulelamaid asserted that some “MO” women do not follow all of the halachos of tznius, lesschumras could have responded as you did, “how so?” But he instead essentially responded, “well some people in YOUR camp commit theft! How ’bout that??” That’s a false equivalence, because everybody agrees that a thief is doing the wrong thing (even the thief, because he hides his actions from public view), but the dress code is in debate, with some thinking it is wrong, and others not.

    #1210334

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    “OK. Why must a woman keep what you call “Tznius” in an MO community where she dresses to the standards of her community? And what sort of “sin” is she committing?”

    If it’s against halacha, it doesn’t matter if it’s according to the standards of her community.

    #1210335

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    Iacisrmma: “LU: In a non-tznius manner”

    GAW: “1: Prove it.

    2: Prove that it is a problem as long as it is behind the Mechitza.”

    Iacisrmma, thank you for clarifying.

    Is the issue that men might see her (either because they can see through or over the mechitza or from the hallway or if they happen to come in to the ladies section which does happen sometimes, since they are allowed to do so if they are not in the middle of davening), that it is halachically assur for women to daven in front of another lady who is not tznius, that it is not nice to the other women who might not want to daven in front of someone untznius, or that she shouldn’t be davening while nursing?

    #1210336

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    “I’m curious about your definition of MO ( failure to observe tznius).”

    “That’s not how lilmod ulelamaid defined MO. She wrote, “MO has many meanings and contains a very broad range..”

    “There have been a number of arrests and convictions of right wing Jews in the NY area for all sorts of civil crimes ( Ponzi scbemes, fraud, bribery, slumlords etc ). Does failure to observe these kind of mitzvahs make them MO also?

    “False equivalence. There is a difference between committing a sin and asserting that an act is not a sin.”

    Avrum, shkoyach! Regarding the first point, it is possible that lesschumras was only referring to one of my definitions of MO. In any case, you answered the question for me.

    #1210337

    This is OO/Conservative method:

    1) Decide what conclusion you want to arrive at. This will often be based on predicting what the Jewish ethical response must be in a world that has changed so significantly from the early legal texts of Judaism, that the modern author is given much leeway.

    4) Find a medrash as a springboard to show how quintessentially Jewish, how much in the spirit of Jewish law your own conclusion is.

    5) Accept your original argument.

    #1210338

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    YCT = Yeshiva Chovevei Torah

    #1210339

    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    If it’s against halacha, it doesn’t matter if it’s according to the standards of her community.

    If the Halachos don’t depend on the standards themselves.

    Avram in MD – Fair point.

    IITFT – I’m not disagreeing with the overall criticism of OO, which is much more insidious than what has been described until your last post. The big problem (as you point out) is that they know what they want the “Halacha” to be and then go about trying to justify it, vs. a truthful search of what the Halacha should be.

    In all fairness, we see the same on the right and the left, but in the case of the left/OO real halacha is broken, vs. in the case of the right some unneeded societal rules are justified in the name of Judaism. I’ve hear/seen the same when spouses fight and one brings in “Frumkeit” or “Modernness” to justify their side. It is not that they know the Halacha and sources, rather they want something and are trying to justify it using the Torah as a “Kardom Lachfor Bo”.

    The two examples (nursing and Tznius) brought earlier though are (I believe) incorrect from a Halachic standpoint.

    #1210340

    Avi K
    Participant

    Lilmod, in fact, I know a Chareidi rav who tried to justify the fact that some “frum” guy helped people receive insurance payments even though they were not insured by saying that he did not personally profit but just wanted to do chesed (interestingly, the Torah says that marrying one’s sister is chesed). So far as I know, OO rabbis say that certain acts are sins but that the sinners should be mekareved by looking the other way.

    Time, your points are also true about people in other factions. There enough opinions for people to pick and choose. There is even an opinion that it is permitted to rob a goy (Baba Metzia 111b). Ok so it’s not the halacha but why can’t one rely it anyway? Not saying lashon hara about a fellow Jew? You call him a Jew? Not derided a talmid chacham? You call him a talmid chacham?

    #1210341

    iacisrmma
    Participant

    gaw: I am not sure what you mean by “prove it”. If you are talking about allowing a woman to nurse a child in a non-tznius manner here is a quote from the “tshuvah” of Rabbi Katz of YCT:

    ??? ?????? ????? ????? ???? ???? ????? ?????? ?????? .

    ??? ?? ?? ???? ???? ???? ????? ????? ???? ???? ?????, ??? ??? ???? ????? ????? ???? ????? ???? ?????, ???? ???? ??????? ??? ?? ??? ????.

    So we see that he is is stating that a woman can have herself exposed for a number of minutes since to herself it is not an “ervah”.

    So yes, IMO that is the definition of “in a non-tznius manner”.

    #1210342

    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    iacisrmma – That is the correct P’sak according the the Mishneh Brurah (75:8), who holds that a woman’s “ervah” is not applicable to another woman except for one spot (not her chest). Therefore it is not B’chlall “Ervas Davar” (as long as it is in the Ezras Nashim) which would be Assur.

    This is not “Open Orthodox”, this is quoting the P’sak of the Mishna Berurah.

    Now if you had said “in front of a man”, then we would have what to discuss.

    #1210343

    iacisrmma
    Participant

    gaw: The Ezras Nashim is not part of the Beis Knesses?

    #1210344

    There is a lot of information about Open Orthodoxy here: link removed

    Why Open Orthodox is Not Orthodox by David Rosenthal

    #1210345

    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    iacisrmma – Shaychus? It isn’t an Ervah.

    #1210346

    K-cup
    Participant

    David Rosenthal, check out topic Izhbitza chassidus and open Orthodox

    #1210347

    benignuman
    Participant

    “If it’s against halacha, it doesn’t matter if it’s according to the standards of her community.”

    Much of the halachos of tznius are dependent on the standards of the community.

    #1210348

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    Avi K: “Lilmod, in fact, I know a Chareidi rav who tried to justify the fact that some “frum” guy helped people receive insurance payments even though they were not insured by saying that he did not personally profit but just wanted to do chesed (interestingly, the Torah says that marrying one’s sister is chesed). So far as I know, OO rabbis say that certain acts are sins but that the sinners should be mekareved by looking the other way.”

    Avi, I’m not sure what comment of mine this was in response to? Please clarify. Thanks!

    #1210349

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    Lul: “If it’s against halacha, it doesn’t matter if it’s according to the standards of her community.”

    GAW: “If the Halachos don’t depend on the standards themselves.”

    I was referring to halachos that are not dependent on standards.

    Lesschumras, GAW, and anyone else who seemed to be questioning my definitions of MO:

    I want to clarify that I was giving definitions of MO based on how I have heard the terms used by those who call themselves MO. I was not giving a personal opinion regarding how I think the term should be used. I also listed a wide range of usages.

    The part about tznius was not meant to apply to all of those who call themselves MO. I have a friend who considers herself MO who I consider to be one of the most tznius people I know (just for the record, GAW, she wears things that would not be considered acceptable in Yeshivish communities, but she dresses far more tzniusly than many Yeshivish people who would not wear those styles). I know many others like this as well.

    But, there are also MO people who use the term to refer to the fact that they keep some halachos and not others. For example, I once saw an advertisement looking for someone to work in a bungalow colony that was described as MO and in parentheses it said mixed swimming. They were calling themselves MO BECAUSE they had mixed swimming. That was their definition of MO. I have yet to see someone advertise that they are Yeshivish and write in parenthesis after the word Yeshivish that they engage in civil crimes and this is the definition of Yeshivish.

    Again, to be clear, this is one way that the term MO is used by people who refer to themselves as MO. There are many others. Many of the people and definitions even overlap with the definitions of Yeshivish or Chareidi (certainly my defintion of Chareidi :)). There are definitely many ehrlich people who are makpid on halacha who refer to themselves as MO. Some of them are probably here in the CR.

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