The Jewish Inquisition

On Torah Talk at 7pm PST Monday, Rabbi Rabbs and I will discuss controversial Orthodox rabbis on the left: Chaim Seidler-Feller, Avi Weiss, Yitz Greenberg, Joseph Telushkin and Yosef Kanefsky.

For too long, the rabbis have judged me. Now I judge them.

Love is a battlefield!

Julie emails: “Did you get shot down?”

This isn’t about me and my petty grievances.

Well, it isn’t 100% about me and my petty grievances. (I just want 15% of the compassion the left-wing Modern Orthodox are showing the homosexuals.)

I’ll have the Satan live on my cam Monday night presenting the prosecuting evidence.

A rav says: “I think Rabbi Avi Weiss has gone off the deep end. He does not know when he is reasonable and when he is not. As he has gotten older, he is showing less discretion.”

Here’s what inspired me today:

Rabbi Rabbs posts to my FB:

Why do you call her a convert to Judaism?

My question is legit, because you describe yourself as a journalist, non-advocate. According to the Jewish Journal article you posted, she converted under a non-frum “rabbi”. Hence, one can only conclude that her conversion wasn’t kosher, a…nd she isn’t a Jew.

So, instead of calling her a convert, from a journalistic perspective, I believe it would be correct to say “She’s African American and claims to be a convert to Judaism”.

Otherwise, you have editorialized by legitimizing a non-kosher conversion.

Luke responds: Chaim Seidler-Feller is an Orthodox rabbi. Her mentor. A YU grad.

Unless you have evidence to the contrary, I believe the numerous press accounts that say she converted to a form of Judaism. If she converted to Conservative or Reform Judaism, then she converted to Reform or Conservative Judaism. You may not regard those denominations as authentic Judaism, but they are religious denominations.

I never describe you as someone who claim to be a rabbi, so I am not going to call her someone who claims to be a convert to Judaism. I’ve never seen your semicha (ordination) but I have no doubts that you are a rabbi.

RABBI RABBS: Thank you for your excellent response. You claim he is a frum rabbi because he attended YU. I can understand that, but that was decades ago. Since then, the Jewish Journal reported that he formally departed the Orthodox rabbinate, and according to his own bio, he taught at University of Judaism and is a Faculty Fellow at the Brandeis-Bardin Institute, both of which are part of the American Jewish University, which according to its own web site is tied to the Conservative movement, and produces Conservative “rabbis”.

Conservative conversions are not accepted. You are accepting her conversion as valid because of her mentor, but her mentor appears to be a leader in a heretical movement. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m just basing my opinions from what is proudly posted on their web sites.

If you know she converted Conservative, then better than saying “claims to be a convert”, I think the best thing is to write she is a convert to Conservative Judaism. But, hey, it’s your blog, not mine. :)… Conservative is a religious movement, but it is not Judaism.

LUKE: To the best of my knowledge, he still identifies as Orthodox and davens in an Orthodox shul.

Many Orthodox rabbis teach in non-Orthodox institutions.

The president of AJU, Robert Wexler, became an Orthodox Jew a few years ago. He was ordained 20 plus years ago as a Conservative rabbi.

RABBI RABBS: You show tremendous chizkas kashrus for people. That’s a virtue.

LUKE: I don’t have a dog in the fight over whether or not the Seidler-Fellers, Yitz Greenbergs, Yosef Kanefskys, Avi Weisses of our world are or are not Orthodox but when I hear an argument one way, I have an instinctive response to po…int out the other side.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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