MAILBAG: Protesting The OU’s Inclusion Of ‘Open-Orthodoxy’ As OU-Member Shul


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The following (unedited) letter was posted in the YWN Coffee Room:

A friend of mine sent this as an email to the OU, and asked me to try and get others to write something similar. Maybe if enough people do write in, they will take action.

I am writing to protest the inclusion of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale as an OU-member shul.

As is well known, HIR is the source of Open Orthodoxy. They violate the OU’s stance on Women in rabbinic roles, as they list not just one, but two women with the titles of Rabba on their web site!

Just recently, HIR sent out a message wishing a mazal tov to two young men on their engagement, and wishing that they build a bayis ne’eman b’yisrael. This blatant violation of halachah should not be recognized at all by an Orthodox shul, never mind being celebrated!
I urge you to review whether you want the OU associate with a place like HIR, and consider expelling them as members.

Thank you.

NOTE: The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of YWN.



  1. The basic line has always been Shabbos and Kashrus. Do you give up your job, or do you work on Shabbos? Do you limit yourself to living in walking distance of a shul. Do you eat out with co-workers, or you say decline even if it cuts you off socially? If you keep Shabbos (which the “conservadox” do not), you give up perhaps 95% of potential housing and perhaps 80% of possible career opportunities.

    If the “open orthodox” are Shomer Shabbos, they are still “one of us” even if they engage in various sexual perversions. They may be deviant, but that frum deviants.

  2. im rather shocked and taken aback that a site such as “yeshiva world” the site of english speaking charedi jews
    doesn’t take a stand and ask their readership to flood the OU with letters asking them to rescind the membership of HIR
    your usual disclaimer
    NOTE:” The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of YWN.”
    doesnt apply here . some times one must take a stand especially when CHILLUL HASHEM is involved
    especially when the OU has so many bnei torah employed their and wants the yeshiva world to trust and rely on their hechsher, its puzzling as to why the OU gave them membership in the first place
    the OU kashrus dept is part and parcel of the OU as an organization and cant separate itself from the politics that organization espouses

  3. akuperma, you are absolutely WRONG. “various sexual perversions” is one of the 3 hilul HaSHem acts a Jew must give his live away. One does not have to give up his live if forced to violate Shabbos and Kashrus.

  4. Call me ‘Farfrumt’, or whatever else you’d like, but I consider myself a mother who actually cares, and I just wanted to point out that I’m considering not allowing my young Bachur go to the grocery for me.
    The reason? Lakewood is no longer the same Lakewood it was 10 years ago with regards to Tznius.
    I’m a regular ‘with-it’ woman (who happened to have moved from out of town close to 25 years ago), and I must say I’m appalled at the complete lack of Tznius I see.
    I know the issues of Tznius has been addressed here before, as well as in some national papers, but I never thought it would reach a point where I would simply not want my son exposed to these elements in my local grocery store?
    Who ever heard of women walking around as if Halachos are optional? This isn’t your backyard. This is a public place, and the Michshal is tremendous.
    I’m just hoping this can somehow be rectified before we completely lose the sensitivity expected from us as an Am Kadosh.
    Thank you
    Mrs. C.L.,

  5. It is sad that so many continue to seek out opportunities to create division and broigas within the frum tzibur on matters of hashkafah and apply “purity tests” for membership in umbrella organizations. There are so many sonei yisroel who will gleefully promote anything that diminishes the unity of the klal…whoever authored this letter seems intent to join the haters so yasher koach

  6. The OU is all about money, religion is secondary.

    Want to do something about this get your synagogue to drop their OU affiliation and don’t buy eat at kosher establishments where the OU is the “kosher supervision”.

  7. This is horrifying. Where do you see them as an o-u shul? If true, debate on this subject is silly. Action needs to be taken. Whether it’s sending emails, alerting the community and rabonim, this is a continuation of korach thru the tzidukim, thru conservative and reform attempts to destroy yiddishkeit. Please post the link, it’s hard to believe that the o-u would include such an unkosher group.

  8. This letter has nothng to do with hate, or with the unity of Klal Yisroel. When a synagogue which claims to be Orthodox espouses a behavior which goes against the Torah, it must be spoken out against.

  9. the reality is what your suggesting isn’t practical, forget about restaurants under OU supervision, anyone traveling can tell you if you want to eat anything more then fruits and vegetables you will need to rely on products carrying OU hescher which are common in any supermarket
    that being said they should be called out when something like this is brought to the public’s attention

  10. “Gadol”hadorah, don’t be coy, you yourself would create division against the Peleg, or against Satmar, or any other group you don’t like. When you start calling for inclusion of all orthodox jews, then you wouldn’t be hypocritical in calling for inclusion of open orthodoxy

  11. Take 2….There are more accurate characterizations than “farfumpt” (whatever that means)….if you really are “afraid” to allow your son to go grocery shopping in Lakewood, than there are issues here that are much more serious than tzinius, wigs v. sheitels, etc. Unless you will keep him locked in the basement for the rest of his life (which sadly we encounter from time to time, both in literal and virtual terms) , he is 100 percent certain to see a lot worse than he might encounter in Super Stop or Kosher Village.

  12. Agree wholeheartedly, Gadolhadorah. No one is arguing that this it is kind of sick to celebrate a blatant issur d’oraysa. But what is the point of “taking a stand” here and asking the OU to take them off the shul list? Is there a halachic requirement to do so? There is DEFINITELY a halachic reaqson to refrain from creating division in Klal Yisroel. Why does everyone seem so bent on making machlokes? Did anyone think to address the shul themselves and maybe open a conversation? If there is a question of halacha being violated then why not have a halachic discussion? Be smart – not emotional basketcases. you might actually do some kiruv rechokim? Instead we opt to do it the stupid way – yelling a screaming what a shanda it is as if we (the “yeshivish” oilam) do NOTHING wrong?

  13. GH-

    Why do you automatically accuse someone who is promoting certain standards as the one who is creating division? On this issue, the entire frum community is united in their position on the inappropriateness (really wanted to write sinfulness or immorality, but didn’t C’V want to “offend” someone) of such unions. I would argue that OO which supports such unions are the ones creating division by attempting to change the reality that has existed for thousands of years.

  14. It is clear that the inclusion of this Temple as a member of the OU puts the OU’s legitimacy into question. When serious ideologies clash it warrants separation such as in the case of Avraham and Lot. If the OU does not see HIR as being outside the framework of the OU’s hashgafas then I question whether the OU can further be relied upon in any area of Torah including Kashrut (unless their Kashrus department is a completely separate entity). For certain it becomes questionable whether the OU should receive any financial support at this point.

    Time will tell. I’m sure soon we will hear from leading Rabbis (upholders of Torah) a Kol Korei in the near future. Yes, we will hear hollering and complaints from religious Jews ignorant of Torah about “Fanaticism”, “Chareidi coercion”, and “Instigators of Sinat Chinam”, but in the end reality will hit and the OU will have to make a serious decision whether to break off from traditional Torah Judaism or remove membership from this and any other OO organizations. My guess is they will end up doing the latter.

  15. It is sad that so many continue to seek out opportunities to create division within the frum tzibur on matters of open-and-shut halacha and attempt to create new realities in the organization of marriage. There are so many sonei yisroel who will gleefully promote anything that diminishes the kedusha of the klal…whoever authored this letter seems intent to protect that kedusha so yasher koach

    There. FTFY

  16. Is the OU a “thing” that it should bother anyone who that organization accepts under its umbrella (whatever that means). everyone going to the agudah convention is a tzadik olam? and what’s the OU response? it should have been included IMO. the tribalism and ethnocentricity is so sickening and disgusting to me (and others I know) that sometimes I feel like I’d rather not be shomer torah Umitzvos than be a part of the “frum” community. its nauseous and unbecoming. just worry about your own warts and become an inspiring role model rather than a critic (which even if criticism IS with merit it may be wrong to criticize anyway)

  17. @chaimz – before writing my comment I did exactly that. I checked both websites to see 1) that they are indeed a member of OU affiliated synagogues and 2) that the professes what this article claims.

    Unfortunately, to my dismay, in both cases the claims are totally accurate.

  18. Akuperma, the days when “the basic line has always been Shabbos and Kashrus,” was when there was no hava amina of the 3 yehareg val yaavor sins being openly accepted by a stream of Judaism pretending to be Orthodox. It is the very fact that they are similar and do pretend to be Orthodox that demands traditional Orthodoxy to draw a hard line of distinction and separate ourselves from them exactly as we did with the Sadduccees and early Jewish followers of Christianity.

  19. groissechuchum
    theirs a famous vort said over in the name of the brisker rav on the medrash
    regarding the 3 advisors to king paroah advising him about the “jewish problem” (yup, things havent changed anti semitism goes way back) bilam ,yoev=joeb,yisro-jesro
    bilam was a rusha and told paroah torture them maake them work harder etc otherwise they will over run your country . yisro ran away didnt want to take part in the discussion. jeob or iyuv stood by quietly and for that he suffered thruout his life and the question begs to be asked why did he suffer if he wasnt involved and didnt contribute anything to the conversation
    the answer answers the briskar rav is WHEN IT HURTS YOU you scream
    when the decision taken to work the jews and torture them throw their newborn boys into the nile using the babies as bricks in paroes palace etc IYOV WAS PRESENT AND DIDNT REGISTER ANY COMPLAINT OR OPPOSITION
    for that he was punished
    “live and let live” what your suggesting isnt a jewish or torah backed theme or way of life
    btw please dont take offense, nothing personal but i think you have deeper issues then what we are discussing
    if you can openly write and i quote you
    “sometimes I feel like I’d rather not be shomer torah Umitzvos than be a part of the “frum” community. its nauseous and unbecoming. ”
    really now does the comments of a few frum jews on a blog tick you off to the point where you doubt your frumkeit???
    is your frumkeit based on the frum community or serving hashem?if your frum because thats what hashem wants from you and your trying your best this shouldnt in any way affect your avodoas hashem

  20. Adocs.. Mixing separate issues. There are hard and soft lines when it comes to participation in political and lobbying organizations that span various segments of the tzibur. When it comes to defending the existential interests of EY, the frum organizations stand side-by-side with conservative mosdos and we speak with one voice. On issues of lesser importance, there are multiple views expressed on behalf of the frum segment of the tzibur which in turn will be different from the conservative views. On the inyan of not being able to allow your kinderlach to go shopping in Lakewood, its really not helpful to cast aspersion on an entire community (aka Lakewood) and imply that the kosher markets that are patronized by the roshei yeshivos and rabbonim and families of BMG are in reality a “makom pritizus”. Someone who literally is afraid to allow their children to shop in the kosher markets in Lakewood because of tzinius concerns is not to be ridiculed but also not to be given any credence either .

  21. DWKL1
    its not a few comments on some blog, don’t play dumb, we both weren’t born yesterday and know the hypocrisy and disingenuous flailings of schmoozes.
    you can’t have your cake and eat it too. you can’t say on the one hand mamleches kohanim v’goy kodosh and on the other hand “don’t judge Judaism by the jews”. Are you seriously telling me that people don’t go off the derech because of other people? they only go off because of perceived flaws in the technicalities of emunah and philosophy?? take a good look in the mirror and tell me honestly that if some rov were to get up in middle of davening and publicly kick out a mispallel that the guy shouldn’t resent Judaism…get real. Bad rabbeim, bad social edicts, petty grudges are a real turn off and if this what living a life torah brings you to then leave me out. for the record, I live in Brooklyn and do hang in there but to reconcile myself I have to write off all these kol koreis and major rabbonim as misguided…and I’m not alone…on the one hand you have Rosh Yeshivas and Rabbonim writing off tons of people and on the other hand you’re being told they’re daas torah…its kind of hard not to conflate daas torah as meaning not yenim

  22. You have all noticed that akrupime, gadolhadora etc etc arealsoo in the the madreika of the OO, Refprm etc etc see all thier postings all over .
    Division, of course we devide. that was regarding , maskilim, tzedokim, reform etc etc these movements denied torah misini ‘
    Hate? of cousres. see psochim its a chiyav to hate them..they being choren af on the world see mes shabbos .thats for themovements anf thier proponents. a yochid, if you can ,bring back

  23. GH

    If you want to address what I’ve written, please do.

    If you want to address what someone else has written, please address it to them with THEIR name.

    I fail to see how your last comment has what to do with either of my comments.

    And to tell me that I’m casting aspersions regarding the shopping issue? I never even mentioned it! And you say I’m mixing issues.

  24. @Shimen: With all due respect, what you wrote about ” ‘torah and madah’ ” is entirely unfounded and not very intelligent. Read the writings of R. Norman Lamm or R. Mayer Schiller, and then you’ll understand how Torah U’Madda has nothing to do with this perversion of yiddishkeit.

  25. mr ivdu es…
    it has a lot to do’kpol buayhu loyeshuvin’ most humans cannot avoid being be affected by what they are exposed…you learn thru heretical professors , you learn hretical subjects’ shanu minus dusu leamshichay abasrei’. we can see from all these hretical posters gadal hatorah, yoneson, etc etc. Dont be smarter then our holy sages of the talmud

  26. I cannot believe all these comments over the obvious.
    Such a place is not a Shul,and what they do there to go so against the Torah must be protested by the OU,and how can they even think of recognizing them??
    Open Orthodox is a fraud and a dangerous movement that will engulf good Jews from being practicing Jews.
    There cannot be any compromise on this one.

  27. It is very unfortunate and disturbing that there are comments minimizing the issur. It is about this that it says v’sakie haaretz, this is why Canaan was thrown out of E.Y. and is disgusting to Hashem. That such abominable horrible behavior should even be tolerated by anyone with any Yiras Shamayim is unfathomable. That alone is more than enough reason to place that entire congregation on Cherem. To officiate such atrocities as was done by the Dor Hamabel is a VERY SCARY development and we must do everything we can to de-legitimize and stop thus terrible group. That of course means pressuring the OU to disassociate themselves as well as any other methods.
    May all those rashoim be geshtorben ah misah meshuna before they Chas v’shalom cause a Maageifa Lo Alainu

  28. Well that’s that. It seems what I’ve seen coming for a long time has finally arrived. The OU lost it’s legitimacy in Israel a long time ago. Looks like I’m done eating OU America hechsher as well. Sad.

  29. The OU has long lost its credibility, this does not surprise me at all. The open ‘orthodox’ movement might claim to keep Shabbos but they have zero respect for our thousand-year-old Mesorah. Jweekly put out a poll a few weeks back saying: “Only 58 percent of Open Orthodox respondents believe God wrote the Torah, and less than half of Open Orthodox men regularly put on tefillin.”.

  30. i dont even know why we should ….do we post what catholic church, hindus etc etc these movements are worse as they mock the most severe chayvay krises unlike the christian, cathoicsay or do/

  31. As you say, also, the talmud says at lease they dont write a kesube (not that it minimizes the abomination) .
    And they were talking about the non-jews and here we’re dealing with ‘jews’ who not only are they moking the eibisters toah, but also writing kesuba and wishing’ BAIS NAMON B’YISROEL’ and sheva shevah brooches, ‘harei at’ HAHEM YISMERINU

  32. For all those condemning the OU: The OU has already threatened to expel the shuls transgressing its policy (i.e. shuls appointing female clergy). Because of the obligations of contract law (i.e. terms of employment contracts), ahavas yisrael and dignity of the women and rabbis involved, this can’t be done in a blunt or public way or without a chance for teshuva. The OU seems to nominally be giving the shuls in question a way out: comply, or leave on their own. It might eventually come to expulsion, but that is a decision of policy and timing for the OU as an incorporated organization to enforce, not the individual opinionators here. Don’t trust the OU hashgacha over food as a result? Maybe you should wait for your poskim to rule OU products to be treife.

  33. ivdu hashembesim….11/14 7:09 pm
    lamm and shiller are not our beacon of light….we look up to gedolim and kedoshim like.revina, rav ashe, CHASAM SOIFER, IGROS MOSHE, CHAZON ISH, DIVREI YOEL, CHAFETZ CHAIM, RAV ELIYASHEV, MUNCHAS ELOZOR ETC ETC ‘IM HURAV DOME LEMALACH HASHEM TZEVUOUS…..V’IM LALAV AL YEVAKSHU TORAH MIPIHU’!!!

  34. robert
    ‘bemokom shyesh chillil hashem ein cholkin koved l’rav’…’ maisis umadiach are shamed in public see shass ,rambam. how can a contract of ou be binding if a member is heretic against the torah it supposed to be protecting

  35. BS”D
    To say that speaking out in protest of inclusion of any organization that congratulates one of the most severe violations of Torah while claiming to be orthodox is divisiveness or sinat Yisrael is absurd (pardon me for the strong term). You could also say the same for protesting the inclusion of violation of Shabbat etc.
    The “marriage” of 2 males is one of the most serious violations of Torah. It violates the basic 1st halakhot that Hashem gave the entire creation. It violates the basis of life. It is the only violation for which it is written that their donation to the sacrifices in the Beit Hamikdash must be rejected! Even a goy’s sacrifice was permitted to be accepted, but for one of those NO!
    There are things we must take a stand on & this is one of them. Yihiyeh Makhanekha kadosh.