Letter to the editor in the Five Towns Jewish Times

The letter below, from the Philadelphia Rosh HaYeshiva, appears in the current issue of the Five Towns Jewish Times

Dear Editor:

It has come to my attention that a recent article published in this paper by Rabbi Aryeh Zev Ginzberg has resulted in much negative reaction. Several rabbonim encouraged Rabbi Ginzberg to write his article, and he wisely chose not to state their names and expose them to the anger he feared might result from his words (though they were respectful and measured words throughout). As one of those who encouraged him, and to whom he submitted his article to ensure that I approved of it, I would like to publicly commend him for what he wrote.

The subject of Rabbi Ginzberg’s article was an invitation by an Orthodox shul to a speaker who is prominent because she received an “ordination” from an Orthodox rabbi. The invitee was asked to address the entire congregation as a “scholar in residence” and Rabbi Ginzberg correctly saw that fact as a subtle but clear embrace of what her “ordination” represents – an erosion of mesoras avoseinu, the holy Jewish heritage that governs the lives of all believing Jews.

That mesorah …

Gender Agenda of the RCA

The Orthodox Rabbinical Council of America met this week and on the agenda was gender. This reminded me of another conference of professionals, the Arizona Engineers’ Society (l’havdil) which I attended as a civil engineer when we lived in Phoenix in 1981. On their agenda was the question of whether someone who had no degree in engineering, but worked for years in the field, could list himself or herself in the phonebook as an engineer. It turned out that the phonebook company claimed that they were not in the business of checking credentials, and anyone could list himself/herself as an engineer even without a degree, and even without any experience. This drove home for me the fact that the label you give yourself, the label other people give you, and the label a professional organization gives you may vary widely.

The discussions in the RCA, and here on cross-currents, about ordaining women sent me back to reread portions of a kuntres printed in Altona in 1819, Eleh Divrey haBerit, a collection of 22 responsa containing arguments objecting to Reform innovations. As I hold a 1969 reprint of this book in my hands, one aspect stands out in particular. … Read More >>

Honorifics and Honor

The rabbah-rousers do apparently seek to serve – but their master seems to be feminism, not Judaism. … Read More >>

Not Fear But Fealty

The Torah itself establishes Judaism as a deeply role-based faith. There is a role for a Cohein, a role for a Levi, roles for men and roles for women … Read More >>