Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah Issues Kol Korei on Open Orthodoxy


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aweRecent 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, or Council of Torah Sages, 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 Council issued the following statement today:


“OPEN ORTHODOXY,” and its leaders and affiliated entities (including, but not limited to, Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, Yeshivat Maharat, and International Rabbinic Fellowship), have shown countless times that they reject the basic tenets of our faith, particularly the authority of the Torah and its Sages. Accordingly, they are no different than other dissident movements throughout our history that have rejected these basic tenets.

We therefore inform the public that in our considered opinion, “Open Orthodoxy” is not a form of Torah Judaism (Orthodoxy), and that any rabbinic ordination (which they call “semicha”) granted by any of its affiliated entities to their graduates does not confer upon them any rabbinic authority.

May the Almighty have mercy on the remnants of His people and repair all breaches in the walls of the Torah, and may we be worthy to witness the raising of the glory of Hashem and His sacred Torah

Cheshvan 5776

(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)


  1. This effectively means that the “Open” movement falls under the same category and halachic status as the Reform and Conservative movements. And the members and adherents of the Open movement are for all intents and purposes considered to be non-religious/non-frum and carry the halachic status as any other irreligious Jew and all the halachic implications this personal status entails.

    Klal Yisroel must thank the Gedolei Yisroel shlit”a for informing the public of this vital message so that the public is forewarned and aware not to count them in minyanim, not to drink their wine and all other halachic issues that pertain to them.

  2. Well, sometimes its better late than never. Agudah has become a bit of a “me too” once a position has gained legitimacy and widespread acceptance within the frum tzibur. Too bad they don’t take the same attitude towards agunot, child abuse, sexual harassment, etc.

  3. Spot on vashti. Unfortunately that’s what it took for them to make a proclamation. They let YCT go way too far and they should of come out against it immediately.

  4. #2: The Moetzes statement puts “Open” out of the pale because they “reject … the authority of the Torah and its Sages”.

    By deriding the statements of some of the foremost gedolei Torah of our time you are doing exactly the same thing.

    So where does that place you?

  5. I really don’t understand the point of this statement. Anyone who is looking to the Agudah for guidance on an issue already knew what the Agudah was going to say. While the rest of the public who they are informing of their opinion don’t really care what they say. All this does is further separate klal yisroel from one another. For over 2000 years we have driven our brothers and sisters away based on our differences instead of bringing them closer based on our similarities. Unfortunately the situation in Israel wont improve until we can figure out how to show some respect and achdus without pointlessly provoking machlokes.

  6. Vashti: The RCA takes its cue from the Moetzes. The RCA is afraid to go places that the Moetzes will condemn. Also don’t forget that Chareidim constitute 71% of American Orthodoxy overall and 81% of American Orthodoxy aged 30 and younger. The RCA’s constituencies is becoming increasingly irrelevant.

  7. To #2, #3, #4:
    The Open Orthodox movement poses a more direct threat to the Orthodox communities that the RCA represents rather than to the communities that the Agudah represents. Therefore, it makes sense for the RCA to take the lead on this issue, which is why, I imagine, the RCA has been more in the forefront of this important issue. I would be surprised if there hasn’t been some sort of previous communication between the RCA and the Agudah on this issue.

  8. phatogre77:

    No. It is because of people like you that interpert ‘Ahavas Yisroel” as being meant to love Hashems enemies, that has brought calamity on us. It is this that seperates our brothers and sisters apart when anything as long as ‘mentchlich’ is acceptable eventhough it calls for rebellion in the Ribono Shel Olam. It is THIS that brings the situation in Israel to where it is.
    Don’t believe me? Start reading outright Pesukim in the Torah referring to what will happen when doing Aveiros in Eretz Yisroel.
    Nowhere!! will you find our Chazal blaming the second Bais Hamikdash’ destruction on the ‘Sinas Chinam fight’ they conducted against the Tzedokim.
    The story that Klal Yisroel threw Esrogim in Yanai Kohen Gadol-Tzedokis face is brought in the Gemure with pride, not in shame.
    and the Shechina cries:
    על כבודי לא מחיתם, ועל כבוד בשר ודם מחיתם??

  9. @phatogre: You wrote: “For over 2000 years we have driven our brothers and sisters away based on our differences. . .” Can you, therefore, explain the monumental growth of Torah learning (Yesivos, Kollelim, Schuls, Batei Medrash and Batei Kineisyos, etc.) today?

  10. As usual, create more rifts and labels to further push people away.

    This is exactly why its better to be a member of NO movement than a “lesser” one


  11. #6 phatogre77 ,

    Ridiculous,and you know that!

    EVERYONE in ALL Camps ,watches for the Agudah Position Statements (when finally they do come.. )

  12. Will Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah proclaim what this means in practice?

    Is there, say, a list of shuls that ought to be avoided
    (e.g.Stanton St. Synagogue,etc)?

  13. #13 Nobody does the Riboni Shel Oilom a favor by keeping his torah.But remember what the Nodah B’yehuda told a non believer . ‘ if your right you have nothing to worry about BUT IF YOUR WRONG AUCH UN VEY FAR DIER’ hayom lasosom ulmachar lekabel schar and same for opposite

  14. #17 Shimen i have heard this before, it is quite popular retort in many religious dialogues. of course, if one of our cousins asked you to follow his prophet and you (rightly) responded “I would NEVER!” and they said – well, if you’re right you have nothing to worry about but if you are wrong you are going to whatever they call gehenom (Beirut?) for eternity. dont think you would much care for that 🙂

    Given the roughly 7.985 billion people on the planet who do no subscribe to OJ and can play this argument to you for their belief system, you’d have to admit this a bissel hard to stomach.

    bottom line is the holier than thou who author the above are part of the problem not the solution, IMO

  15. #18 This ‘holier than thou’ statement gives you away and shows where you come from. So may guess was good. Shomrei torah don’t know or use Christian slogans. Yes, a big tzaddik is holier than a plain ballboos. An ehrlicher yid is holier than a kal . Even by you Christians, isn’t the pope holier than the bishop. pastor etc etc?

  16. lol you dont really think i am christian because i used that phrase, i hope.

    dont paint what shomrei torah do with a broad brush, shomrei torah dont cheat, steal, withhold gittin, abuse, etc right?
    You and i both know that there are plenty of yidden (some you might even give kebudim to) out there who would never eat a sugar packet in a traif restaraunt but are guilty of the above. even some you would call a tzaddik

    but you didnt address the response to nodah byedudas position

    uch in vey far dier un far mier

  17. #20 Your response is so much above my intelligence, I just cant come up with a retort. The only thing I can manage is ‘Mishli’ chapter 26 verse 4.(for Christians its called’ Proverbs’)

  18. #3 Your comment of ‘too bad they don’t….’ .Can you elaborate. Is there a movement,, an official body of ‘rabbis’ that came out legitimizing aguna plight, child molestation, sexual harassment that they have to be Moiche? Do you mean everytime someone does an aveirah Agudah should give out ‘kol korah…? That’s of course silly. So explain youself

  19. #1 I think it also entails that:

    1)One is not allowed to enter their house of worship…like bais haminim(Mes Shabb ..kol kisvei)
    2)They cannot be counted as part of minyan
    3)Their wine is yayin nesech etc etc….
    Because all these things go hand in hand….