Conserving Orthodox unity

Conserving Orthodox unity

In his letter, “Applying standards consistently,” (November 29) Aaron Friedman objects to my letter of November 22 (“Too open to be Orthodox,”) urging Aaron Mlotek and his fellow students at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah to confront their leadership in order to conserve a modicum of unity in the modern Orthodox community.

Unfortunately, he entirely misses the essence of my letter, or worse, deliberately obfuscates the seriousness of the issue at hand, when he cites examples of what he claims are similar issues at other organizations and institutions that are not dealt with properly. The examples he cited relate to alleged accusations of bad judgment, shortsightedness, or worse, but do not reflect changes in basic Orthodox ideology or theology. In other words, the institutions and organizations referred to did not condone sexual abuse or permit homosexual behavior or allow mixed seating in the synagogue. In contrast, as I wrote in my original letter, Yeshivat Chovevei Torah and the open Orthodox movement have not clarified their stance on issues that relate to fundamental beliefs that underlie and define Orthodoxy.

We must rise above mudslinging and realize what is at stake. Given that Mr. Friedman identifies himself as having close personal connections to YCT, I implore him to join the ranks of the students in urging their leadership to clarify where they stand, before it is too late, in order that the open Orthodox remain within our existing modern Orthodox community.