Attention: the dormant Rabbinic Council of Victoria

The following is from Arutz Sheva from the respected Rabbi Gordimer re Rabbi Riskin’s creeping to the left.

[Hat tip DS]

Rabbi Gordimer is a member of the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America, and a member of the New York Bar. His writings on Jewish topics are published widely.

It is sometimes hard to believe what we are reading, as things are turned upside down in an effort to be politically correct and gain popular appeal. Orthodox Judaism has never sought to be politically correct – on the contrary, it has stood its guns no matter what direction the winds are blowing. Unfortunately, with the case of Modern Orthodox rabbis who have crossed the line into Open Orthodoxy, it has become almost commonplace to read the unbelievable, things that would never have been expressed were Rabbi Soloveitchik zt”l, the Torah luminary of American Modern Orthodoxy, still with us. Sometimes, shocking ideas are articulated in direct contravention of his views, with the excuse that “times have changed.” Since when has that wellworn excuse been used in Orthodoxy?

This, much as it hurts to write it, seems to be the case when it comes to rabbinic superstar, Rabbi Dr. Shlomo Riskin, who seems to be on a much publicized collision course with tradition. There was the “Rabbi Jesus Video” (which Rabbi Riskin later said did not represent his views, due to the video’s poor editing), his promoting the chanting of Megillath Ruth by a woman at the main minyan of a synagogue under his jurisdiction, and other ideas that fly in the face of Orthodox tradition. A once modern rabbinic icon who did much to bring people closer to Torah, Rabbi Riskin has in his later years adopted positions that fly in the face of normative Torah understanding. (Please also see the later portion of this linked article regarding Rabbi Riskin’s involvement with Christian ministries.)

Although one could have otherwise, perhaps favorably interpreted Rabbi Riskin’s hair-raising idea in his recent public pronouncement on Arutz Sheva that the Reform and Conservative movements are partners in Jewish outreach to have been intended to express the demarcation between acceptance of Reform and Conservative Jews themselves and unequivocal opposition to their leaders and their interpretations of Judaism, a view held by respected rabbinic authorities, that is clearly not what Rabbi Riskin said.  Rather, Rabbi Riskin stated:  “They’re not tearing Jews away but bringing them closer… That may have been true at the beginning of the Reform Movement, but it’s very different now – they’re trying to bring Jews closer. Not to the wholeness, the fullness of Orthodox Judaism that I love and that I know, but nevertheless they’re trying to bring Jews closer.” In other words, it is the leadership of the Reform and Conservative movements whom Rabbi Riskin praises!

This leadership is bringing Jews closer to what? Intermarriage?  Christmas trees and menorahs in the living room? A total departure from normative halakhic Judaism?

Let us look at that greatest danger to the continuity of the Jewish people, not the just as important continuity of its halakhic framework. On a factual level, not only are most Reform Jews (and non-Orthodox Jews in general) intermarried today, and not only does the head of the Reform movement extol intermarriage, but there has been serious discussion within the Reform movement to permit its rabbis to themselves be intermarried. The Reconstructionist movement has gone further, formally allowing its rabbis to be intermarried, and a large plurality of rabbis in the Conservative movement favor the performance of intermarriages. In fact, the Conservative movement’s USY youth group now permits its leadership to interdate

To endorse these movements as positive and as forces for bringing Jews closer to Judaism is downright wrong and even farcical. Although these groups may espouse some type of Jewish identity, they embody and encourage assimilation and the abandonment of Jewish tradition and commitment. And it is happening before our eyes.

Theologically, the Reform and Conservative (as well as the Reconstructionist) movements reject the Singular Divine Authorship of the Torah and the other Cardinal Principles of Faith, and they have disavowed the binding nature of halakha.

It is therefore not only incorrect to refer to these groups as partners in bringing Jews closer to Judaism, but it is dangerous, as such a statement empowers and validates groups which threaten the very integrity and future of authentic Judaism in every manner.

There is no need for elaboration, as the issue is not subtle or nuanced; endorsing the heterodox movements is tantamount to endorsing the dismantling and destruction of traditional Judaism.

Many of my friends were immensely impacted by Rabbi Riskin in a most positive way during his early tenure in the United States, as he energetically established Torah institutions of the highest caliber. My friends miss the old Rabbi Riskin. We all wish that he would return.

The views expressed in this article are solely the author’s opinion and do not represent any organizations. 

MG Rabi’s Kashrus Business

It’s triangle K in the States all over except Ralbag is far more respected, yet also not accepted, by Rov Minyan and Binyan of frum kosher consumers and authorities.



A miraculous reunion

Yesterday evening, after Mincha/Maariv, Rabbi Mottel Gutnick, after having read my pitput of yesterday, told me another incredible story. I subsequently remembered Rabbi Mottel’s father, R’ Chaim Gutnick ז’ל used to play chess with Mottel Kinderlerler ז’ל.

I knew Mottel Kinderlerer from the days that I used to daven at “Katanga“. Mottel was a fierce Zionist and used to sit next to my brother-in-law’s father, Emeritus Professor Louis Waller שיל’’א. I sat in the back row of the Shule, in the far corner for several years. Katanga was an “interesting” place in those days. The Mispallelim were known to be rather pugnacious, for want of a more diplomatic word, and coveted the Amud with somewhat more physical relish than one would otherwise expect.

Apparently, towards the end of the war, Mottel, who as I recall was a member of the Zaglembier Landsmanschaft, survived the camps with his elderly father R’ Elimelech Zushe ז’ל. Towards the last days, Mottel found himself alone with his elderly father and the Nazis (if I’m not mistaken) decided to separate father and son. R’ Elimelech found himself in the midst of a hay stack, hiding from those who wanted to end his life. Mottel looked on in horror as the brazenly cruel murderers, realising that Jews were in the haystack, raised their bayonets, stabbing into the hay with gay and wanton abandon. Depressed and broken, Mottel eventually survived the Holocaust, but without his beloved father.

A few years later, Mottel found himself in England. There was a certain gentleman, who made it his business to especially invite spiritually broken holocaust survivors to his home on Friday evening. There was always a large crowd of survivors, many of whom were orphans, wherein they partook of a welcome warm Shabbos meal in a hospitable atmosphere.

The English gentleman, made no demands of the survivors, save that they would each be asked to say Kiddush separately. I’m not sure why he did that. In fact, I’m not sure if anyone knows why he did that. Clearly, he could have made kiddush for all of them. Perhaps he intended to attempt to re-ignite the badly damaged Jewish souls that had suffered so, at the hands of the Nazis, ימח שמם וזכרם.

When it came to Mottel’s turn, he refused to say Kiddush. He could not bring himself to say anything religious to God. After what he had witnessed, especially the horrid stabbing of his father, one could hardly blame Mottel. The English gentleman, persisted and persisted until R’ Mottel relented. After finishing  Kiddush, the English gentleman approached Mottel and complimented him on the unique Kiddush niggun/tune that he had intoned. Strangely, he went on, there was an elderly gentleman who had said Kiddush in his house, in exactly the same way only two weeks earlier.

The rest is history. The old man turned out to be R’ Elimelech Zushe, who had miraculously survived the frenzied attack on that hay stack.

[Perhaps some elements of this story aren’t perfectly correct. No doubt, someone from the Kinderlerer family, who live in Melbourne, will update me with any inaccurate details.]

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