Open Orthodox rabbis pride themselves on their hospitality to those who are not Orthodox. “We create an open space and do not say ‘no,’” one leader declares. Another draws the distinctions differently: “YU is modernist; [its people] think they are right. They draw lines in the sand. YCT people are post-modern. We see no conflict between intellectual openness and using critical tools, even as we remain committed to halakhah.”
And then there are those in the middle who feel sympathy for both sides and want a peaceful resolution that will keep everyone in the same camp. At a celebration of recent RIETS ordainees, a keynote speaker emphasized a single theme: we at YU are open; we have always stood for openness. Was this a peace offering to the progressive side of the spectrum, another salvo in the battle over legitimacy, or perhaps both? Others watch in embarrassment as “the hotheads” denounce each other. In most quarters, there is a sense that the current situation is unsustainable.
Jack Wertheimer, “Can Modern Orthodoxy Survive?”, Mosaic (August 2014) [http://mosaicmagazine.com/essay/2014/08/can-modern-orthodoxy-survive/]