Today, Coalition for Jewish Values (CJV), the largest rabbinic public policy organization in America, sent a letter supporting Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of Great Britain and the Commonwealth, for maintaining Torah standards in Jewish education in the face of pressure from progressive activists. Rabbi Mirvis dismissed a research fellow at the London School of Jewish Studies (LSJS) who received “ordination” from a women’s seminary affiliated with the “Open Orthodox” movement.
“Open Orthodoxy is not Orthodox,” said CJV President Rabbi Pesach Lerner, “and that reality will not change, no matter how much the ideological movement and its allied, progressive media outlets and activists claim otherwise.”
In its letter to Rabbi Mirvis, CJV referenced its Statement on Orthodoxy, which was published in December. Rather than address Open Orthodoxy by name, that statement rejected ideas promoted by the group, such as that “Orthodox rabbis have officiated at same-sex weddings, have ordained women, or have ‘revisited’ whether the Torah was given by G-d to Moses.” CJV attested that, to the contrary, “No Orthodox rabbi ever shall, and… no seminary, group or institution which teaches, endorses or abides these deviations can be genuinely termed Orthodox.”
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“As we indicated in our letter, no one can blame the Chief Rabbi, the United Synagogue, or CJV for ‘rejecting’ Open Orthodoxy,” said Rabbi Avrohom Gordimer, Chair of CJV’s Rabbinic Circle. “Open Orthodoxy fails to meet the neutral and objective standards for practice and belief found in Torah, Talmud, and Jewish Law—and thus there isn’t a single credible rabbinic organization anywhere that accepts it as ‘Orthodox.’ As Chief Rabbi, Rabbi Mirvis is expected to uphold fealty to Torah, and any opprobrium directed his way for his decision is inappropriate.”