Young Israel Has To Go?

A college student, Rebecca Blady, blogs:

I’ve been thinking a lot about the impending schism in Orthodox Judaism in America. I’ll be perfectly honest and tell you flat out I’m pro-schism: Whether the moguls of the Orthodox world like it or not, it’s coming, and personally, I’d like to help bring it on. Where to start? Easy: the National Council of Young Israel.

I remember how outraged I was back when the NCYI banned women and converts from holding the presidency in its member synagogues (among other things). In retrospect, I’m disappointed at the lack of action taken in response. I definitely was not alone in my resentment toward the NCYI; this feature article from The Commentator, YU’s student newspaper, exposes a great deal of the hostility felt back in 2007 soon after Young Israel made its notorious decision (as does this interesting—and somewhat comical—blog post on Jewcy from January 2008).

Individuals and communities alike were ready to act; people were ready to rebel against the institution that could once define itself as modern Orthodoxy’s future but now threatened to monopolize all streams of Orthodox Jewish thought around the country.

The stuff she is protesting is basic Jewish law. If she’s against it, she’s against halacah (the Jewish system of law) and normative Judaism. So why not just say Judaism has to go? Judaism with a human face isn’t Judaism.

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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