The Orthodox Paradox

From The Jewish Press’s editorial in this week’s issue:

In early 1992, reacting to alarming statistics on the occurrence of intermarriage (52% as compared to 9% in 1965), a splinter group of rabbis in the Rabbinical Council of America, who earlier had formed what was called the “RCA Roundtable,” proposed that instead of “writing off” intermarrieds and driving them away, “we must respond constructively to the future of Klal Yisrael in the next generation” and “explore the full range of possible responses to this phenomenon.”

The proposal was based on a facile comparison with Judaism’s disinclination to completely shun those who publicly desecrate the Sabbath and other commandments.

The Roundtable proposal created something of an uproar – not in small part because it ran counter to the well-known views of the great gaon and spiritual mentor of Modern Orthodoxy, Rav Yosef Dov Halevi Soloveitchik, zt”l – and was ultimately rejected by the RCA.

The run-up to the RCA’s rejection of the proposal was fascinating. No fewer than fourteen leading roshei yeshiva of the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS), including Rav Dovid Lipschitz (the Suvalker Rav), zt”l; Rav Aaron Soloveichik, zt”l; and, ybd”l, Rav Moshe Dovid Tendler and Rav Dovid Bleich, signed a statement denouncing the Roundtable’s proposal as inconsistent with halacha.

Also, on April 15, 1992, on official RIETS stationery, Rav Aaron Soloveichik sent a letter to the RCA, of which he was a leading member, explaining why the proposal should be rejected.

About Luke Ford

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