Open Orthodoxy is trying to balance two ideals: It wants to keep the neighborhood-like intimacy and rituals of Torah Judaism but make them more open and inclusive.
“It’s the model of our forebears Sarah and Abraham,” Weiss writes. “Unlike Noah, who is best known for his ark — insulated and separated by high walls from the rest of society — Abraham and Sarah dwell in a tent. It is open on all sides, welcoming not only those who come in, but they are also prepared to run out of the tent and greet all passersby, encouraging them to drink from the waters of Torah.”
Of course, these waters of Torah will always be open to interpretation and criticism. Liberal Jews may criticize Open Orthodoxy because its interpretation of Torah is not egalitarian enough, and the Orthodox establishment will criticize it because it goes too far. There’s no way around that. It is the fate of the struggler.
In Weiss’ case, his struggle is to insist on the “foundational divinity of Torah and observance of Halachah,” while aiming for an Orthodoxy that “is not rigid” and “open to a wider spectrum.”
This effort to put a genuinely open face on Orthodoxy may be controversial, but it also presents opportunities. For one thing, it makes Open Orthodoxy an ideal movement for Jewish outreach.
David Suissa, “Can Open Orthodoxy Help Revive Judaism?”, Jewish Journal (13-19 November 2015), 19.