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.