Volume 39 Number 20
                 Produced: Fri May  9  6:13:02 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Apology to Stan Tenen
         [Janice Gelb]
Modern Orthodox Educational History (2)
         [Dov Bloom, Eitan Fiorino]
Niskatnu Hadoros
         [Moshe Schor]
Open Orthodoxy
         [Binyomin Segal]
"Open Orthodoxy": A Request
         [David Waxman]
Separation between Orthodoxy and Conservative Judaism
         [Edward Ehrlich]
A Serious but Halachic Approach to the Orthodoxy Problem
         [Edward Ehrlich]


From: Janice Gelb <j_gelb@...>
Date: Thu, 8 May 2003 08:56:23 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Apology to Stan Tenen

Janice Gelb <j_gelb@...> wrote:
> Stan Tenen <meru1@...> wrote:
> > In order for Torah, Torah
> > Jews, and Israel to be respected, _we_ must find legitimate (not fudged,
> > not merely polite) reasons to _genuinely_ respect non-believing,Reform,
> > Conservative, and Reconstructionist Jews, and non-Jews also. If we
> > cannot genuinely respect the contributions of others, even though their
> > points of view may be very different from ours, then we can't expect
> > others to respect our views.
> > [snip]
> If you truly mean this, you might start by finding terminology other
> than "non-believing" to refer to Jews in other streams of Judaism. 
> [snip]

I owe Stan Tenen a public apology. I missed a key comma between the term
"non-believing" and the list of other streams of Judaism. (This is
especially embarassing because I work as an editor!)

I am sorry to have misread Stan's message and chastized him when he
didn't deserve it.

-- Janice


From: Dov Bloom <dovb@...>
Date: Tue, 06 May 2003 16:53:08 +0200
Subject: Re:  Modern Orthodox Educational History

Try sources that would describe Rabbi Reines's Yeshiva in Lida. Reines
was the founder of the Mizrachi and there are many books and pamphlets
about him. A biography was published in English, written by a YU musmach
who was blind, the author's name escapes me at the moment (began with a

Reiness's Yeshiva combined Limudei Kodesh and secular studies,
for-runner of modern Day Schools-Yeshiva High Schools. 
There was quite a "pulmus" in Europe over that Yeshiva.

Rav Moshe Soloveitchik, father of the Rov, taught at Reiness' Yeshiva
before coming to America and REITS. 

Dov A Bloom

From: Eitan Fiorino <tony.fiorino@...>
Date: Tue, 6 May 2003 12:16:48 -0400 
Subject: Modern Orthodox Educational History

Amitai Bin-Nun <binnun@...> asked:

> How did the community reconcile- or did they not feel
> the need to- the founding of schools such as Flatbush and Shulamith with
> the traditional European model of education? Did any sort of precedent
> exist (I am aware of Yavneh in Lithuania- the precursor of Shulamith,
> but I would like to know if anyone knows of any literature on the
> subject). Did the immigrants view co-education and modern pedagogy as
> "American" vs. "European" as opposed to "Traditional vs.
> non-Traditional"? Does anyone know of any literature about the founding
> of these institutions....

Having recently completed reading Mordechai Breuer's history of
Orthodoxy in Imperial Germany and David Ellenson's biography of Rabbi
Esriel Hildesheimer, it is clear to me that a model for primary and
secondary school education along the lines of US day schools existed in
19th and early 20th century Germany, including the inclusion of secular
studies and education of girls/women (which meaningfully pre-dated the
start of the Bais Yaakov movement).  Whether schools such as Flatbush
and Ramaz explicitly modeled themselves on the German model is a
question that should be easy enough to answer by calling the schools
directly.  There is a book about Ramaz which may have some of the
information you are looking for: "Ramaz: School, Community, Scholarship
and Orthodoxy" edited by Jeffrey Gurock.

Hope that helps.

-Eitan Fiorino


From: <mschor707@...> (Moshe Schor)
Date: Tue, 6 May 2003 14:46:12 -0400
Subject: Niskatnu Hadoros

Some posters have mentioned that the Rambam did not hold of the concept
of "Niskatnu Hadoros".. Can anyone explain the proof that this is the


Moshe Schor


From: Binyomin Segal <bsegal@...>
Date: Mon, 5 May 2003 14:43:43 -0500
Subject: Re:  Open Orthodoxy

I apologize for the delay in getting this out, I've been busy the past 
week or so.

On 8 Apr 2003 Avi Feldblum wrote:
> I see the rejection of diversity and the
> encouragement of a non-intellectual approach to Judaism as one of the
> most disturbing aspects of modern Chareidi Judaism. I accept that many of
> them see my embracing of diversity and an intellectual approach to
> Judaism as dangerous to the long term health of the orthodox community.

What is interesting to me about this is the way it contrasts with my own
experience. While I accept that there are practices within chareidi
judaism that are hierarchical and as such not open to diversity, and
there are segments of the charedi community that are less intellectual
than others, overall I see the chareidi world as far more intellectual
than the MO world.

IN MY EXPERIENCE, most MO seem to cut corners with halacha - often from
ignorance. And that ignorance is all the more troubling because it seems
to be a conscious choice. I recently returned to the town I grew up in,
and was struck by how many MO people I grew up with (or their parents)
were highly educated - except when it came to Jewish sources.  An
extreme example was the college professor who is an FFB but could not
competently read hebrew.

While most of my friends know that I defy definition to some degree, I
am for the most part in the chareidi "camp". This is true because the
experience I had in yeshiva was one of intense intellectualism.
Further, from various discussions I have had over the years, I know many
of my friends feel similarly that real Jewish intellectualism can be
found - at least primarily - in the charedi "camp".

I mention all this NOT because I want to start name calling - in fact,
just the opposite. I have "known" Avi for many years, and over the years
I have learned to respect and value his intellectual honesty and
integrity. When Avi says that MO is intellectually open vs the non-
intellectual camp of the chareidim I take what he says seriously.

It seems to me that perhaps we should all acknowledge a few general
rules about leaders and groups. Many (most?) people are not interested
in using their brain. It is perhaps unfortunate, but it is true. As a
result, if you look carefully at any group of followers, you are apt to
conclude that the group is non-intellectual. Most groups have social
rules of conformity that are not based on anything except some (innate?)
human need to distinguish between us and them. These rules have the
force of LAW in whatever group. Further, as communications have become
more global (and hence less personal) the control of that communication
has become more vital. We often think we know what "the movement" and
its leadership represents because some media person told us - and in
fact the real position is almost always more nuanced and balanced than
what got conveyed.

Perhaps this is just an opportunity to again acknowledge the debt we owe
Avi for creating this forum where Orthodox Jews who do want to use their
brain in understanding Judaism and all that entails can get together and
do so. (Rabbi Moshe Meiselman once told a number of us that Orthodox
Jews all agree about 90% of everything, but they keep focusing on the
other 10%.)

bivracha -
binyomin segal

[Bli Neder, I will try and explain a little further what I had written
that Binyomin has responded to here. I suspect that we are not so far
apart, some of it having to do with exact definitions of terms, but I
think there are also some inportant differences in approach that I would
like to continue to explore. Avi.]


From: David Waxman <yitz99@...>
Date: Tue, 6 May 2003 02:07:14 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: "Open Orthodoxy": A Request

>> I would very much like to discuss these and other "Jewish survival"
issues with as wide a range of Torah-caring people as possible. If you
set something up, please let me know. I have some colleagues here in
Sharon, MA., that also might want to participate.  <<

I would also advocate the cultivation of a lively, open-minded, and open
ended discussion about this topic.  My only request is that you do it in
an appropriate venue, and mail-jewish is not it.

If I understand the history of this list correctly, it was a break away
from a liberal list that spent a lot of bandwith on the very issues that
Stan is grappling with.  Certainly this is interesting and productive
for some people.  Others prefer to retain the focus on Torah and halacha
from an orthodox point of view, without debating its legitimacy.

Go to shamash.org and look over the list of lists.  I'm sure that you
will find a group of people that will willingly exchange views on the
topic of an 'open orthodoxy'.

I am an advocate of the freedom from speech, as well the freedom of


[The critical question I see is whether there is room to discuss the
issue WITHOUT debating the legitimacy of Torah and halacha. That is the
primary criteria I will be using in deciding whether to allow the
discussion to continue, or how much of the discussion to move to the
list. If I feel that I need to reject to much of what is submitted on
the topic, I will close it down. Mod.]


From: Edward Ehrlich <eehrlich@...>
Date: Thu, 8 May 2003 14:42:17 +0300
Subject: Separation between Orthodoxy and Conservative Judaism

Batya Medad wrote:

>In the '50's and '60's in the New York area, there was little difference
>between many of the conservative and modern orthodox shuls.  They both
>dovened from the same siddur, and they both had dinner dances.  The
>rabbis had also trained together; some ended up compromising in
>conservative shuls.  The big difference was in the mixed seating and
>special Friday night service in the conservative.  Until 1962 we were
>members of the Oakland Jewish Center, and I know that many other
>conservative shuls in Queens were similar.

This was my experience at the Flatbush Jewish Center and the many other
Conservative synagogues that I attended during the 1960s.  It was
basically an "Orthodox" service with mixed seating.  At the F.J.C. it
wasn't even that mixed.  The synagogue was divided by 3 aisles into 4
sections.  One of the narrow aisles on one side had only women while the
opposite aisle had only men seated.  There were no signs telling people
to maintain the separation, it was just done.

When I attended a Conservative synagogue out of "the city" in Vestal,
New York for the first time, I was very surprised at how different it
was from what I grew up with.

Ed Ehrlich <eehrlich@...>
Jerusalem, Israel


From: Edward Ehrlich <eehrlich@...>
Date: Thu, 8 May 2003 14:31:46 +0300
Subject: A Serious but Halachic Approach to the Orthodoxy Problem

Russell J Hendel wrote:

>Another example: When I was in the south the local Chabad Rabbi had a
>chevruta with the local conservative Rabbi EVEN THOUGH HE WAS
>INTERMARRIED. I did ask him about it...he explained that in small
>southern towns Rabbis have to pool all their resources together to
>sustain the Jewish community. He further explained that by having a
>chevruta with him he was not in any way lowering his own standards.

1. I'd like to point out that a Conservative rabbi who performs an
intermarriage, much less marries a non-Jew himself, is violating the
policy of the Conservative movement.

2. I saw a similar situation about 10 years when I spent some time on
business trips in Japan. The Jewish community of Tokyo was so small that
Jews who would normally have attended different synagogues prayed
together every Shabbat.  There were 3 seating sections: men, women and
mixed.  I'm not advocating this as a Halakhic solution but merely as an
indication of the type of tolerance that can develop in small

Sadly, while the Jewish community of Tokyo has not grown any larger,
there are now at least two separate minyans (which considering the size
of the community must be almost impossible to maintain).

In a separate message "Halacha and pluralism" Mordechai Horowitz wrote:

>But that cooperation [between different "streams" of Judaism] should
>never be confused for acceptance of the legitimacy of non observance.
>As the saying goes we love the sinner but not the sin. 

The problem is that in an effort not to grant legitimacy of
non-observance some have refused any joint activities, except regarding
the support of Israel, with members of non-Orthodox movements regardless
of the level of adherence to Halakha by members of these movements.  Too
often, Orthodox rabbis refuse to cooperate with non-Orthodox rabbis, not
because of any Halakhic difficulty but because of non-Halakhic
considerations such as what organization the other rabbi is associated

For instance, it's one thing to reject someone as a witness because they
drive on Shabbat.  There are graduates of Orthodox institutions who are
not Shomeir Shabbat and can not be a witness.  It's quite another thing
to reject someone as a witness who is Shomeir Shabbat by generally
accepted Halakhic standard but is a rabbi or a member of a synagogue
associated with the Conservative movement.

Ed Ehrlich <eehrlich@...>
Jerusalem, Israel


End of Volume 39 Issue 20