Public Statement

Statement on Open Orthodoxy

We, the undersigned rabbis, representing three generations of American Orthodox leadership, are deeply concerned at the many ways in which Open Orthodox rabbis and leaders have divided the Orthodox community by unilaterally violating normative Orthodox laws, customs and traditions.

Of the many points in Rabbi Asher Lopatin’s opinion piece (“Orthodox and here to stay”, Haaretz, Oct. 23, 2013), to which many people will take exception, one point in particular cries out for clarification because the future of Rabbi Lopatin’s movement hinges upon it. Rabbi Lopatin, president of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah and a leading standard-bearer for Open Orthodoxy, decries the “flurry of activity recently within some ultra-Orthodox circles to try to declare that elements of the Orthodox community are no longer part of the Orthodox world.”

All of us are members in good standing or identify with the Rabbinical Council of America, an organization associated with the Orthodox mainstream. We are devoted to bringing people closer to tradition through authentic Torah teaching and practice, not to reading people out of it.

But if Open Orthodoxy’s leaders feel some distance developing between themselves and mainstream Orthodoxy, they should not be blaming others. They might consider how they themselves have plunged ahead, again and again, across the border that divides Orthodoxy from neo-Conservatism. Why are they surprised to find themselves on the wrong side of a dividing line?

Rabbi Elie Abadie, M.D., New York, NY
Rabbi Menachem Adler, Far Rockaway, NY
Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein, Los Angeles, CA
Rabbi Jonathan Altman, Cape Town, South Africa
Rabbi I. Nathan Bamberger, Bronx, NY
Rabbi Yisroel Bendelstein, Brooklyn, NY
Rabbi Heshy Blumstein, Hewlett, NY
Rabbi Asher Brander, Los Angeles, CA
Rabbi Kenneth Brodkin, Portland, OR
Rabbi Joshua Cheifetz, Brooklyn, NY
Rabbi Mordechai Cohen, Milwaukee, WI
Rabbi Chaim Crupar, Bronx, NY
Rabbi Ephraim Epstein, Cherry Hill, NJ
Rabbi Ilan D. Feldman, Atlanta, GA
Rabbi Dov Fischer, Irvine, CA
Rabbi Arie Folger, Munich, Germany
Rabbi Cary Friedman, Passaic, NJ
Rabbi Dr. Barry Freundel, Washington D.C.
Rabbi Ari Galandauer, Ottowa, ON
Rabbi Shaul Gold, Brooklyn, NY
Rabbi Jay H. Goldberg, Far Rockaway, NY
Rabbi Chaim Goldberger, Minneapolis, MN
Rabbi Avrohom Gordimer, New York, NY
Rabbi Yitzchok Gutterman, Passaic, NJ
Rabbi Howard Katzenstein, Brooklyn, NY
Rabbi Benjamin G. Kelsen, Teaneck, NJ
Rabbi Hillel Klavan, Washington D.C.
Rabbi Eric Kotkin, North Woodmere, NY
Rabbi Ira Kronenberg, Passaic, NJ
Rabbi Pinchas Landis, Cincinnati, OH
Rabbi Eliezer Langer, Austin, TX
Rabbi Louis Langer
Rabbi Phil Lefkowitz, Chicago, IL
Rabbi Yaakov Luban, Edison, NJ
Rabbi Joshua Maroof, Rockville, MD
Rabbi Jacob B. Mendelson, Bridgeport, CT
Rabbi Yerachmiel Morrison, Lakewood, NJ
Rabbi Yehuda L. Oppenheimer, Forest Hills, NY
Rabbi Steven Pruzansky, Teaneck, NJ
Rabbi Dr. Aharon Rakeffet, Jerusalem, Israel
Rabbi Mitchell Rocklin, Fairfield, CT
Rabbi Yitzchak Rosenbaum, Kiryat Yearim, Israel
Rabbi Gidon Rothstein, Riverdale, NY
Rabbi Larry Rothwachs, Teaneck, NJ
Rabbi BenjaminI. Rubin, Potomac, MD
Rabbi Eliyahu Safran, Brooklyn, NY
Rabbi Fabian Schonfeld, Queens, NY
Rabbi Yoel Schonfeld, Queens, NY
Rabbi Dov Schreier, Bellmore, NY
Rabbi Max Schreier, Brooklyn, NY
Rabbi Dr. Tsvi Schur, Baltimore, MD
Rabbi David Shabtai, M.D., New York, NY
Rabbi Evan Shore, Dewitt, NY
Rabbi Shmuel Singer, Brooklyn, NY
Rabbi Zecharia Sionit, Dallas, TX
Rabbi Ze’ev Smason, St. Louis, MO
Rabbi Nahum Spirn, Far Rockaway, NY
Rabbi Leonard Steinberg, Brooklyn, NY
Rabbi Gil Student, Brooklyn, NY
Rabbi Neal Turk, Teaneck, NJ
Rabbi Yaakov Wasser, East Brunswick, NJ
Rabbi Elisha Weiss, Brooklyn, NY
Rabbi Ari Zahtz, Teaneck, NJ



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