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Op-Ed: Chabad Is Most ‘Open Orthodoxy’ of All

In light of recent controversy on the subject, Rabbi N. Daniel Korobkin weighs in on the subject of ‘Open Orthodoxy’ with an interesting twist. “Chabad is the most open orthodoxy of them all,” writes the senior rabbi of Congregation Beth Avraham Yoseph (The Bayt) of Toronto in an op-ed published today at The Times of Israel:

My colleagues and friends in the Orthodox rabbinate and beyond have been debating the limits of Orthodox Judaism, based on the recent RCA resolution to ban female rabbis, and based on Agudath Israel’s recent statement defining the movement “Open Orthodoxy” as not Orthodox.

Then, I attended the recent banquet of the Kinnus Shluchim, a gathering of over 5,000 Chabad shluchim and their guests, to offer chizuk and to celebrate the incredible work that these shluchim are doing around the world. The evening was filled with inspiring recollections of the Lubavitcher Rebbe and his unwavering mission of sending his shluchim throughout the world as a way of stemming the tide of assimilation and bringing our Jewish brothers and sisters back into the fold. The shluchim’s courage, their effectiveness in the field, and their untiring perseverance were all extolled over the evening. The speakers and the music were inspiring and emotionally uplifting.

Curiously, not one word was uttered about the granting of semikhah to women. No one talked about whether “Open Orthodoxy” was Orthodox or not. Surprisingly, the only focus of the evening was the holy work that is being done by Chabad-Lubavitch throughout the world in bringing Jews closer to their heritage, whether it be through youth organizations, providing meals to weary travelers at remote locations across the globe, or chance meetings at a gas station to help someone put on tefillin for the first time.

Now, I’m not a Lubavitcher. But sometimes, I wish I was. Sometimes, when I read the seemingly endless debates circulating among my colleagues and friends about the parameters of Orthodox Judaism, I wish that I could snap my fingers and whisk us all to a farbrengen.

Click here to continue reading at The Times of Israel.

One Comment

  • 1. Citizen Berel wrote:

    Very nice article.

    Nice to hear that not everyone is sleeping.

    But this Rabbi is a bit off:

    “I know that there’s something important about defining ourselves. It’s about preserving halakhah, our mesorah, and about defining which faith dogma are necessary to count one as part of the Torah community. Ultimately, it’s about making sure that we preserve Orthodoxy faithfully for the next generation.”

    That’s a seriously strange question– the litvish and the chasidish are also beyond it. Orthodox Judiasm isn’t in need of preservation, nor are orthodox Jews in need of definition. Once you are asking that question, you’ve lost the ball game.

    “I’ve been banging my head for years to try and make Orthodox Judaism more open, accepting and non-judgmental, so that non-Orthodox Jews who walk into my shul or meet me for the first time would not feel intimidated or fearful that they might not be accepted”

    This is in line with the above: Every Jew has a nefesh elokis and relates fully to the true Torah. Stop making orthodox Judiasm … anything at all. We don’t make Torah, and the moment you decide that that’s what you should be doing .. you’ve lost the ball game.

    “But because the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s message was always about the greatness within each and every Jew, and the need for each of us to reach out to his or her brother and sister and remind them of their greatness”

    This is absolutely true but only one side of the coin.

    The other side is that the Rebbe places not a wit less emphasis on the greatness of the divine and unchanging Torah and elokus. Once you get that, the above mentioned confusions melt away — and that is the point that completely eludes this Rabbi.

    So continue your digging and your hanging out at farbregens because you’re almost there.

    May you arrive, swiftly.

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