Open Orthodoxy

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Sunday, October 01, 2006

Is Open Orthodoxy the future of Orthodox Judaism?

According to Rabbi Avi Weiss, dean of the Open Orthodox YCT seminary, the answer may be yes:

Both Weiss and Pollak preach the doctrine of open Orthodoxy, with Weiss arguing that the future is "what open Orthodoxy is all about."
- Rabbi says his shul and Orthodoxy are both open The Villager, September 20 - 26, 2006

Concerning the Open Orthodox YCT seminary, Rabbi Weiss stated the following in an interview at Canonist:
With Orthodox rabbis who are open and non-judgmental and inspired to reach out all Jews, YCT will, God Willing, transform the future of the Jewish people.
From my perspective, the success that we have had in placing rabbis is beyond what we ever imagined. We are succeeding because we clearly identified a need. Our vision of placing at least 100 rabbis over the next 10 years is becoming a reality.
-Chatting With R’ Avi Weiss About Chovevei,, 4/12/2006

Rabbi Weiss also stated the following in a NY Times article:
"We can literally transform the fabric of the Jewish community in America," he said in an interview. "And that's our goal."
- A Challenge to an Orthodox Bastion", reprint of NY Times article, 4/19/2004

Michael H. Steingardt (founder of the Jewish Life Network/Steinhardt Foundation), a guest lecturer at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, corroborates the idea of "open Orthodoxy" creating an "alternative" and "new kind of Orthodoxy":
I want to acknowledge that the philosophy of “open Orthodoxy” represents the alternative Orthodoxy that the Jewish community badly needs. However, Orthodoxy has let the separatists and the judgmentalists come to dominate community policy and public perception. I appreciate the ethic of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, with its commitment to engaging the world, and I see the students and graduates here as part of a new kind of Orthodoxy. I only ask that you join the rest of us to ensure that the joy in Jewish experience is felt by more than a minority of Jews. With the right attitude and with an urgent and massive effort, I believe that we may usher in a Jewish renaissance.
- A Challenge to Orthodoxy: Remarks at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, February 9, 2006
Does YCT have an agenda to monopolize Orthodoxy with "Open Orthodoxy"? I wonder what the expected future is for Modern Orthodox, Chareidi, Chassidic, and other Orthodox Jews with "narrower" viewpoints...