Praise for Why Open Orthodoxy Is Not Orthodox
The Jewish Press
"Open Orthodoxy, which has succeeded in placing its rabbis in synagogues located mainly outside the New York City area, is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, appealing to unknowing Jewish communities that seek a meaningful and genuine Orthodox religious experience."
JOFA's (Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance) Torch- My Jewish Learning
The Jewish Link Of New Jersey
Review by Amos Lassen
Books, Movies and Judaica and Random Thoughts
Rosenthal, David “Why Open Orthodoxy Is Not Orthodox”, Yad Yosef Publications, 2016.
Posing as Orthodox
(July 11, 2016)
While Open Orthodoxy claims to be a branch of Orthodox Judaism, this is not quite the case. David Rosenthal has investigated this and shows that this is not an Orthodox movement and that, in fact, it undermines the traditional Jewish religion. Two centers of learning— Yeshivat Chovevei Torah and Yeshivat Maharat have ordained over 100 students who pose as Orthodox rabbis. These rabbis say that it is their lives goal to change Orthodoxy and make it more relevant to today’s world.
Using actual quotes from the writings of major Open Orthodox figures, Rosenthal compares and contrasts these with the views of normative Orthodox sources. From the contrasts, it becomes crystal clear that Open Orthodoxy is fundamentally distinct in core ways from Orthodoxy, and in many ways, is the opposite of it. Open Orthodoxy advocates, in their own words, admit that they see halacha and tradition as obstacles to overcome. There are serious halachic misrepresentations of the content and intent of original sources. Rosenthal also exposes some Open Orthodoxy errors in scholarship that are deliberate falsifications. “There are, for example, cases where Open Orthodoxy scholars omitted key sentences of texts that refuted their claims about what the texts said. There was also a case of a fabrication of a primary text”.
Misrepresentation of data, and fabrication of original sources has had a long tradition in leftist scholarship and this is what seem to be the tradition that Open Orthodoxy is transmitting, all the while, at the same time, claiming it is trying to make Orthodoxy relevant and save Judaism.
We might expect a book like this to be polemical but it not . It is well researched and non-inflammatory in the way that it approaches its subject. Rosenthal makes a strong argument that Open Orthodoxy is anything but traditional Jewish understanding and is based on demonstrably inadequate or even intellectually dishonest use of Jewish classic sources. Rosenthal examines the background of the typical rabbinic student. They typically have less than 2 years of any learning before they enter. However, there is so much in their curriculum, there’s no way they can have even an iota of deep knowledge.
But there was no refutation (and more importantly) no denial of anything said in the book. The Open Orthodox movement has not tried to refute what is written here and I find that very strange. The members of the movement seem to have an agenda (which I have yet to discover) that they are determined to follow.
Rabbi Dr. Noah Benjamin Bickart (Former Assistant Professor at the Jewish Theological Seminary)
"...I tend to agree with the premise of the book- I just think being not Orthodox is a feature, not a bug."