Posted by Rabbi Zev Farber
Today, the baseline in any Orthodox community is that women do not participate in public ritual at all. In the average Orthodox synagogue, there is not one thing that women do which is part of synagogue performance. Their presence is not felt and their voices are not heard. The paradigm for women’s ritual participation in the Modern Orthodox world must change.
Although what I described above is standard, in some Orthodox shuls women have complained that they feel excluded and marginalized. In the best of shuls there has been an attempt to accommodate their feelings and various solutions have been offered. Some synagogues are unwilling to accommodate the women in the actual prayer space, but allow them to have a separate women’s prayer group, often based around a Torah reading ceremony of some kind. Others have passively recognized women in the synagogue, e.g., meḥitza down the middle, carrying the Sefer Torah into the women’s section, etc. or allowed some active participation, e.g., opening the ark, saying a mi-she-beirakh, reciting qaddish, etc.
Instead of focusing on specific solutions, I wish to describe what I see as the overall problem with the process of coming to solutions. As described above, we begin with the assumption that women currently lead no prayers and play no public role in the synagogue service. If a group of women in a given synagogue feel that this is insufficient for them, they can come to the rabbi with a complaint and he will think about what he may be willing to do to accommodate them. In my opinion this process is seriously flawed, even if in a given case the outcome is satisfactory for the women. Why is it that we have no expectation that the rabbi will work actively to expand opportunities for women? Why is it that the synagogue automatically assumes that the baseline should be no participation and that women need to put themselves out there, at a real risk of humiliation and disappointment, before even the smallest action will be taken on her/their behalf?
I would argue that the reason the impetus for change has fallen so squarely on the shoulders of women stems from the fact that we are still living under an antiquated and obsolete paradigm. Although there are a number of Talmudic pericopae (sugyot) that discuss technical questions surrounding differences between men’s and women’s obligations in prayer and related halakhot, this does not really explain the stark difference between the place of men and women in the synagogue. The larger issue, I believe, is sociological in nature.
In the Rabbinic period, as well as throughout the Middle Ages, the place of women in the social hierarchy was very different than it is now. Women were rarely public figures and were discouraged from receiving too much education, taking visible public roles, participating in the power structure, and generally from being around men. If any woman were to express superior learning or knowledge than a man in front of a group it would have been a serious breach in etiquette. This is why, according to Tosafot (b. Sukkah 38a, s.v. “be-emet”), women do not lead the Grace after Meals for men or read the Megillah for men, since it would be insulting to them (zila milta). For the same reason, R. Israel Meir Kagan, in his Mishna B’rurah (281:4) argues that women should not say Qiddush for men, at least in public. The Talmud offers a similar reason why women do not read from the Torah in synagogue (b. Megillah 23a), although they are apparently eligible to do so, as it would offend the honor of the congregation (kavod ha-tzibbur). This sociological stance, typical of the classical and medieval periods, goes a long way in explaining why the common practice is not only that women do not lead the repetition of the amidah (which requires a man who is obligated in this prayer service) but they do not even participate in p’tiḥah (taking out the Torah) or lead p’suqei de-zimrah (the pre-prayer psalms), neither of which has any halakhic requirements for who should lead it at all.
The sociological realities nowadays are entirely different. In our world, women hold every position of respect and power in the public sphere as men do. Women serve in Congress and the cabinet, women are judges, doctors, lawyers and police officers. The idea that a group of modern Western men would feel offended if a woman were to perform a public function in a synagogue should be laughable, except for the fact that they may think it a religious violation. But it is only a religious violation since the rabbis believed that the men would be offended. It is a vicious cycle that continues nowadays only due to the unfortunate combination of inertia, obliviousness to halakhic sources, and paternalism.
This is where I believe the paradigm shift must occur. To break out of this vicious cycle, we need to shift the paradigm 180 degrees. Instead of saying that since women have never historically participated in public ritual, so each shul and each rabbi will—upon request—think about creative ways to allow women to participate ritually in things that are permitted, we should be saying that all Jews, men and women, can do or participate in any meaningful ritual unless it is clear that halakha expressly forbids this. How to define what halakha forbids will be a question every shul and rabbi will need to answer, but the inertia factor and the women-don’t-do-these-kinds-of-things factor will have to be taken off the table.
In discussing this issue with others, I have sometimes heard the accusation that women are just trying to copy men. For example, in discussing women’s Torah reading ceremonies, which occur in a number of Modern Orthodox shuls around the world, including the shul where I daven, (thanks to the initiative of a number of women and the sensitivity of the rabbi), I have heard people—not from my community—ask “why would women want to read from the Torah anyway? Is it just because men do it?” I have also heard the related claim: “They are just doing this to make a statement. Women should be more tzanua (modest) about such things.”
These dismissive statements are out of touch with the spiritual and sociological reality of the synagogue service. Women do not want to read from the Torah because men do; women and men both want to be called to the Torah because participating in the reading of the Torah is considered an honor (kavod) due to the great respect all Jews have for the Torah and the Torah scroll. Every man who gets an aliyah receives a myriad of hand-shakes and yeyashar koḥakha’s—and this is true on a regular Shabbat. On Simḥat Torah the average shul breaks out all the Torahs so that every single congregant—male congregant—can be called to the Torah. Afterwards, the real kibbudim (honors) begin.
A year or so ago, I received the Ḥatan Torah honor (the aliyah where the last section of the Torah is read). It was quite an honor. There was a speech about the work I do for the shul, there was a very long and overly flattering Hebrew prayer/song sung by the gabbai, and while he was doing so four men held a ṭallit over my head as if I were getting married. Needless to say, only men get this honor. One can use many adjectives to describe this kavod, but tzanua (modest) is not one of them. It seems rather disingenuous for men who receive these honors and take their access to the Torah for granted to then ask what possible reason could women want to be a part of this. It is totally unfair to create a society in which access to the Torah is considered the greatest honor, bar women from it, and then turn around and ask what their problem is.
Another critique that I have heard of women who want more ritual participation is that “most of these women hardly do what they’re supposed to already; they come late to shul on Shabbat, they aren’t punctilious in their own mitzvah observance, they don’t do any extras like shaking the lulav and etrog or praying three times a day. Why should they get to do extras when they haven’t even covered the basics?” I see two basic problems with this critique.
First, they should be granted access to ritual possibilities because it is their right. Since when is the shaking of a lulav the prerequisite to opening the ark, reciting a mi-she-beirakh or dancing with a Torah scroll on Simḥat Torah? Second, even if a rabbi were to say that in his fantasy world he would only give kibbudim to people who were religiously “up-to-scratch,” I do not believe that he would feel that he could implement such a policy with men. For the life of me I cannot imagine a rabbi taking a Torah scroll away from a man on Simḥat Torah on the grounds that he comes late to shul on Shabbat, or announcing a policy that aliyot in his shul would only be given to men who show up consistently for weekday minyan. However, this is essentially what is being done to women who are told that since they do not daven enough, come to shul enough, do enough mitzvot—what have you—their desire to participate ritually in some way in the synagogue will be denied.
This leads to my final point, which is the issue of power structure. Women are finding it very difficult to make changes in their synagogues because they do not really participate in the power structure. In general, women in the Orthodox world are less learned than the men (due to the structure of yeshiva education), and there are virtually no female clergy in the Orthodox world. Happily, both of the above are changing, but the change is slow, and, therefore, it is critical to have men in our synagogues who understand the significance of changing the paradigm of women’s ritual participation. However, the real work will only begin once women are an integral part of the power structure in the Modern Orthodox world. Only then will the important and difficult conversations about the role of men and women in Orthodox Judaism today take place in a fruitful way. Until then I can only call out with my male voice to my colleagues in the Modern Orthodox world: change the paradigm now and let’s feel the presence of the women in our synagogues and hear their voices—the time is way past due.
Rabbi Zev Farber, Atlanta
4.24.13 at 9:29 am | Over the past two weeks, I received many. . .
3.23.13 at 10:19 pm | Are things perfect? No. Could things be better?. . .
3.7.13 at 7:29 pm | Further argument in favor of the importance of. . .
3.1.13 at 9:48 am | In fact men and women are very different and we. . .
2.28.13 at 1:13 pm | This one is in our hands.
2.26.13 at 11:56 pm | Is the moment that we've been awaiting for 300. . .
12.3.09 at 12:12 am | (14)
4.24.13 at 9:29 am | Over the past two weeks, I received many. . . (6)
11.30.11 at 9:52 am | Recently a Kol-Isha controversy has arisen in. . . (6)
August 23, 2012 | 2:37 pm
Posted by Rav Yosef Kanefsky
As the Elul moon waxes and the peak of our religious year nears, we each begin asking ourselves our “big questions”. This Elul, the big question that’s rattling me is “what, in the end, is our goal?”
We, who put on tefillin every morning (if we are men), and maintain separate sponges and towels for milchig and fleishig, we who tear toilet paper before Shabbat and don’t touch our spouses 12 days out of each month, what, in the end, is our goal? What is that we really want?
Do we want our children to don tefillin, maintain kosher homes and observe Shabbat as we do? Well, yes, this is something we want. But is this our goal? In the end, is the simple perpetuation of religious activity the sum total of what we are striving for? Or is it just the means? And if so, the means toward what?
Along similar lines: we, who daily pray for, worry about, and support Israel, we who send our children to study and to serve there, what, in the end, is our hope? What is that we really want?
Do we want the State of Israel to be physically secure and materially prosperous? Well, yes. But is this it? Are these the totality of our goals?
We are well-practiced in, and passionate about, the sacred activities of our Orthodox and Zionist lives. Yet as my Orthodox and Zionist life goes on, I suspect more and more deeply that the satisfactory fulfillment of these sacred activities does not constitute the goal at all, rather an elaborate set of means. And the big question that is jumping out at me from every corner this Elul is what then, is the goal?
There are surely many possible responses to this question, and please feel welcome to add yours to this discussion! As for myself, I am thinking about the following two statements, the first by the prophet Yishayahu, the second from our Sages. They strike me as articulations of ultimate Jewish goals.
“In the days to come… the many nations shall come and say, ‘let us go up to the Mount of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, that He may instruct us in His ways, and that we may walk in His paths’, and instruction will come forth from Zion, and the word of God from Jerusalem”
“Our rabbis have taught: We support the non-Jewish poor with the poor of Israel, visit their sick with the sick of Israel, eulogize their dead, and comfort their mourners, in the interest of the ways of peace.”
Worthy goals for us to place in our sights, for the short and long term. My own challenge for this Elul is to better understand how our various sacred means lead us to them.
August 7, 2012 | 12:08 am
Posted by Rav Yosef Kanefsky
The Book of Eicha (Lamentations) offers many grim images as it recounts the destruction of Jerusalem, and the slaughter and exiling of its population. Surely one of the most gruesome is that of parents so racked with hunger that they resort to cooking their own children. It’s an unfathomable idea, one so depraved that we struggle to imagine it.
And yet. And yet it’s becoming clearer and clearer that we are all cooking our children. If not our children, then our grandchildren. Or perhaps it will be our great-grandchildren. But the time seems to be coming closer and closer when the temperature on this earth which God created for us will be too high for life as we know it to continue. We are, slowly, cooking our children.
According to Halacha, we must not wait until we are absolutely certain that someone’s life is in danger before we intervene. In the presence of even the possibility that life is in danger, we are mandated to violate Shabbat, Yom Kippur, or virtually any of the commandments, in order to preserve and maintain life. This is because life is the central value, and we are prohibited to stand idly by when it is endangered. And we are our bothers’ keepers. And our children’s and grandchildren’s keepers.
I think we need to start being scared. And to think about the world our loved ones, the fruit of our loins and of our wombs, the children whom we hug and the grandchildren whom we kiss, will inhabit. And even as we always place our faith in the compassionate and beneficent God, we simultaneously need to remember what God said to Adam and Eve when He placed them in the garden (Kohellet Rabah, 7) “Be mindful then to not ruin and destroy My world, for if you ruin it, there is no one after you to repair it.”
I ride my bike a lot, and my wife and I are installing solar panels on our roof. But this won’t save anyone’s children. Only unprecedented cooperation among God’s nations will. Only the broad willingness to endure hardship today so that our children may live tomorrow will. Only heroic and noble leadership on the part of this, the most powerful and blessed nation in the world will.
Along with the faith that we are not cooked yet.
July 27, 2012 | 11:15 am
Posted by Rabbi Zev Farber
God, Consciousness and the Problem of Anthropopathism: Theological Musings of the Late Shmully Moskowitz z”l
An old friend of mine was buried last week. I haven’t seen him for a few years and did not call to say goodbye. I had heard he was sick but didn’t think he was going to die; pneumonia doesn’t generally kill 50 year old men, but, I guess, sometimes it does.
I am not going to use this post to eulogize him; many have done this and some of the eulogies are even available online. (I will throw in, however, that Shmully was one of the smartest and funniest men I ever knew.) Instead, I will take the opportunity to describe one of our last conversations and the important theological insight that he taught me. As the post is written in my words, and I will not have the opportunity to run it by him, I hope that the post accurately reflects his thinking.
A few years ago, when I was in Israel interviewing Israelis for the Torah Mitzion kollel I ran in Atlanta at the time, I spent Shabbat in my old neighborhood in Ma’aleh Mikhmas. Shmully was renting a house there at the time, and we got together for a seudah shlishit at a mutual friend’s house. The topic of God and religion came up, it often did with Shmully, and somehow we got to speaking about anthropomorphism. (I will explain how we got onto that subject at the end of the post.)
For those who are unfamiliar with the term, anthropomorphism means imputing human physical characteristics to something not human, in this case God. For example, people who imagine God as an old man with a big grey beard would be describing God anthropomorphically.
Anthropomorphism was considered by Maimonides, among other Jewish philosophers, as a grave sin, as it reduced the Almighty to human form. For Shmully and I, these ideas were rather old-hat. We were both trained in YBT (Yeshiva Bnei Torah, popularly known as Rabbi Chait’s Yeshiva), a yeshiva strongly influenced by Maimonidean thought, and being “on the look-out” for anthropomorphism was in our blood; (as Shmully was the son of Rabbi Morton Moskowitz, one of Rabbi Chait’s early friends and colleagues, Maimonidean philosophy was probably in his mother’s milk.) Shmully, however, said to me that he believed that even most Maimonideans haven’t really wrapped their heads around the problem.
At first I thought he was referring to the related problem of anthropopathism. For the jargonly-uninitiated, anthropopathism refers to the imputing of human feelings to the non-human. I was surprised, I said, that he thought that this concept was so little understood. It had been drilled into us at YBT that all descriptions of God having feelings, whether it was love for Israel or anger at sinners, were metaphorical, so it would be hard to imagine that this was the nuance so many of his fellow were not grasping. “What is it,” I asked, “that you think we run-of-the-mill Maimonideans aren’t getting?”
Here is Shmully’s response. Imagining a body is the most obvious “gross” anthropomorphism. Emotions are the next step up, as it makes intuitive sense to assume that the creator of the universe does not have “feelings”. However, there is a more abstract kind of anthro-projection at work that is difficult to notice. When we discuss God creating, for instance, or God’s providence, we inevitably imagine an organized, purposeful mind making a conscious decision. The mind has a thought and a will and decides to do or not do something. Although it is inevitable for humans to imagine this, it is also a form of anthro-projection, as we imagine the organization and function of our minds in the “mind” of the Creator. “Imputing consciousness to God is also a form of anthropopathism,” Shmully argued.
This, he said, is the import of Maimonides’ claim that all knowledge of God is negative knowledge. We cannot really say that God has a “will”, or that God “runs” the world. All such statements are filtered through human mental projection. Although some language about God remains necessary for any philosophical or religious discussion on the subject, all claims must be understood to be poor approximations of the real idea.
The key example we were discussing was God as creator. Although one can say that God created the world, all a Maimonidean could mean by this is that the world is in existence due to God in some way inexplicable to us. God is the ultimate cause of the world; anything more than this inevitably muddles the picture.
Although this point should have been obvious to someone who has read Maimonides’ discussion of God upwards of a hundred times, I found (and still find) the idea almost too abstract to wrap my head around (as Shmully correctly claimed about me at the beginning of the conversation). What struck me more than just the abstractness of the concept, was the amazing way that it solved a particular intellectual problem faced in discussion of modern religions.
The way we got to the issue of anthropomorphism was by way of a point I was trying (unsuccessfully) to make about modern religions. Shmully had been recently studying up on some eastern religions (I don’t remember which) and I said that it seems to me that one major dividing line between western and eastern religions is the concept of God. For Judaism, Christianity and Islam, God is the force behind the universe. For Hinduism and Buddhism, it is an unconscious unifying force (Brahman). I argued—pontificated—that Freud discussed this difference in Civilizations and its Discontents, claiming that the former religions project father-figures onto the world, whereas the latter religions project the womb-experience onto the world.
It was in response to this that Shmully stated that I was making too fine of a distinction between the two sets of theologies. Since even God-based religions must admit that their God cannot be “conscious” in the human sense, assuming they do not subscribe to anthropopathic thinking (some do, of course), the distinction between western theology and eastern theology is overdone.
Years later, I still think about Shmully’s principle of abstract anthropopathism and its many applications. How does one think about revelation and divine providence without imagining consciousness? It was a lot to digest over a couple of ḥallah rolls and hummus, and I still considering the implications.
This was only one of the many conversations I had with Shmully over the years. Shmully, my friend, you will be missed.
Rabbi Zev Farber
July 24, 2012 | 2:24 pm
Posted by Rav Yosef Kanefsky
A few years ago, on the last Shabbat of Tammuz, I found myself suddenly and unexpectedly moved during morning davening. Josh, our Mussaf leader that day, was reciting the blessing for the new moon, as the month of Av would be starting that week. For the short middle paragraph of the blessing, Josh chose the mournful melody of “Elli Zion” familiar to us from the Tisha B’av liturgy. And when we reached the words “all of Israel are friends”, a chill went down my spine. Usually this phrase is one of the most difficult and ironic phrases from our liturgy, given the sad and ongoing story of friction within our tribe. But intoned to the melody of “Elli Zion”, which evokes all of the darkest chapters of our history of the past thousands of years, the words rung startlingly true. We do all share the same stories. We have all walked the same tortured path. When it comes to all the things that we remember every Tisha B’av, all of Israel are indeed friends. Brothers, sisters, and comrades.
Which makes Tisha B’av, strange as this might sound, a true gift for us. It is a special and unique annual opportunity for Jews to sit together, remember together, and even articulate aspirations for the future, together. My dear friend David challenged me a few weeks after Josh’s Mussaf, asking, “is there a way that we could observe Tisha B’av next year with a broader swath of the Jewish community? Isn’t that what the day is about?”
Those experiences, combined with the enthusiasm for the idea that came from my neighborhood colleagues, brought forth an extraordinary Tisha B’av observance that it is about to mark its third year. Our (Orthodox) shul, Temple Beth Am (Conservative), and IKAR (non-denominational) now spend the last 2+ hours of the day together in learning, and soulful Tisha B’av singing. Rabbi Adam Kligfeld, Rabbi Sharon Brous and I have formed a most wonderful partnership, creating the learning materials and implementing the program. The program takes place at Beth Am where Rabbi Kligfeld has, so magnificently, given the chevra from our shul a beautiful classroom where we set up a mechitza and have an Orthodox davening for Mincha and Ma’ariv, parallel to the minyanim taking place in the chapel down the stairs. And as we break fast together, the sense of family, of peoplehood, of possibility and optimism, the sense that all Israel are friends, is tangible and exhilarating.
I am sharing this with you not simply to praise my colleagues and their congregations (and my own), but to describe the possible. We’d each be happy to help you and your congregation create something similar to what, with God’s help, we’ve created here.
We need not wait for Mashiach to create this kind of meaningful Jewish friendship.
Probably, Mashiach is waiting for us.
A meaningful fast to all.
July 13, 2012 | 10:41 am
Posted by Rabba Sara Hurwitz
I love eating challah, but until recently, I refused to be a “challah baker.” The term irrationally evoked an image of a woman chained to her kitchen, slaving away for the sake of others, with no desire or choice to impact the world. That is not who I am. I am an Orthodox feminist, committed to changing the communal landscape by helping Orthodox women advance to the highest echelons of Jewish leadership—to ordain women as spiritual and halakhic leaders. I am not a challah baker.
But the truth is that while my husband is a partner in raising our children and keeping our home, I am primarily responsible for providing dinner and making school lunches. And so, on a daily basis, I try to do it all. I function as a rabbi in a large Modern Orthodox synagogue in New York, run Yeshivat Maharat to ordain Orthodox women as spiritual leaders, and travel the world to ensure that the yeshiva’s graduates have a foundation of support. On top of this, I pick up my young children after school, make dinner, and put them to bed. After which, I resume working. Realistically, I simply don’t have time to make challah.
Women cannot do it all, and I applaud Anne-Marie Slaughter for her honesty and courage in bringing this to the forefront of her recent article for The Atlantic, “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All.” Whenever I travel and teach, it is inevitable that someone asks about my work family balance; I find that often I am judged for being out of the house, or criticized for not working enough. For me it is an uphill battle, made even more complicated by the limits that Orthodox tradition places on women. And yet, I would like to suggest that this very tradition offers a framework for women and work.
[Related — Susan Freudenheim: Helping mothers have it all]
The Talmud (Kiddushin 29a.) lists several commandments (mitzvoth) that women are “patur” or exempt from performing because they are positive time bound commandments. Blowing the shofar, sitting in a sukkah, and learning Torah are a few of these commandments. Positive time bound commandments require the person performing the mitzvah do so within a certain time frame. However, this exemption does not mean that women are forbidden from performing these mitzvoth. Historically, during times when women’s primary responsibilities revolved around work in the home, this exemption was quite liberating. It was not always feasible for women to leave the house and sit in a sukkah or leave their child’s side to pray. But for women who are able to accept these time bound commandments and obligate themselves, then they may.
This very ethic should drive women’s decision to work outside of the home as well. Our tradition recognizes that some women (who can financially afford to) choose to remain at home to focus on raising children, and therefore, they are exempt from performing the time bound commandments. The halakha condones, perhaps even encourages women to consider this choice. But our tradition supports a woman’s pursuits outside of the home as well, and makes provisions accordingly. She may perform these time bound mitzvoth because the parameters of the law give her the flexibility to fulfill the mitzvah at her own pace.
And so, the choice to enter the workforce should not require a woman to sacrifice her family life. A woman should have the opportunity to be at the table, lean forward, as Sheryl Sandberg suggests in her TED Talk, while at the same time remain present for her family. Many women have managed to strike a modicum of balance. They have negotiated fulfilling careers allowing for part-time work, or reasonable working hours. It is a fact that there are certain career tracks that make a work/life balance very challenging. And as Anne-Marie Slaughter notes, it is the expectations placed on women in these careers that must change. In my own life, I have discovered that the rabbinate is an example of this type of career.
Generally, rabbis are expected to be available to their communities all the time. A pulpit rabbi is expected to open up the synagogue at 6am and close it at 10pm, literally bound by time. But at what personal cost? This kind of rabbinate is not sustainable for anyone, male or female. Does being present all day allow one to be a fully capable pastoral caregiver? Does it make the rabbi more pious to be at the office, all day long? Alternatively, imagine the values that one can imbue on children, and the message a rabbi could send to congregants if he/she is a consistent presence as a parent for children during meal times.
The rabbinate is most certainly a time bound job. But it is also a career where women, if they so choose, can impact the Jewish community. However, to harness this 50% of the population, the job description must shift. I am not advocating for spiritual leaders to avoid working hard, or to waiver in their commitment to community. I am suggesting that the community change its expectations of what is possible to achieve in a single day.
Yeshivat Maharat is not training Orthodox women to become female versions of male rabbis. We teach our students to embrace their feminine attributes. We recognize that women have tremendous talents and abilities and drive to serve the community, with a commitment to their families as well. Therefore, the Orthodox community should go forth with a realistic understanding of women’s commitment to their families, so that talented passionate women can dedicate themselves fully to their families and their communities.
So what do women, time, careers, and family have to do with challah? I used to think I had to pick one over the other—making challah or pursuing a career. But, recently I started baking challah. In the beginning, my method was to wake up in the middle of the night to braid the challah until my sister suggested that I bring the dough into the office and knead between pastoral visits or sermon writing. I want to succeed in my career and I also want to make challah. More and more, I think it is possible to create a work environment where there is time for both. I haven’t figured out how to do it all. But with the right communal support and with an attempt to re-envision communal expectations, I can be a challah baker and a spiritual leader at the same time.
July 6, 2012 | 10:38 am
Posted by Rabbi Barry Gelman
Follow this link to a blog post I wrote on a fascinating Teshuva written by Rabbi Chaim David Halevi. This Teshuva is a great example of the appropriate use of what has become known as meta-halachik concerns. All the halachik evidence is in favor of the main group, but, nonetheless, Rav HaLevi recognizes that there is a larger issue and is willing to adopt a bi-dieved (non optimal) position (praying with liturgy that is not one’s custom) in favor of maintaing the connection of the the marginally committed.
June 7, 2012 | 9:08 pm
Posted by Rabbi Barry Gelman
Occasionally I write another blog called Piskei Darom. It is dedicated to to sharing Piskei Halacha (religious rulings) and to the exchange of ideas about Pikei Halacha.
Please follow this link to my latest post on a fascinating Teshuva (the entire Teshiva is available there) of Rabbi Shlomo Goren comparing conversion in Israel to conversion in the Diaspora. Rabbi Goren argues that the establishment of the State of Israel changes the way conversion should be approached in Israel.
The connection to Morethodoxy is that Rav Goren’s offers a Psak that considers a changed historic reality to be a major factor in the decision—a key feature of Modern Orthodoxy.