February 27, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Name-Calling in Ad Goes Too Far

I am writing about page 34 of The Jewish Link that contained an advertisement from the Rabbinical Alliance of America, titled “Psak Halacha on Female Clergy,” March 8, 2018, with two concerns. The content on that page put forward an argument about the proper role of women and Open Orthodoxy, and presumes to apply a rationale based on the writing of Rav Moshe Feinstein, z”tl. The topic has seen much debate in recent years, and I am not arguing the topic should be avoided. Full disclosure: I attend one of the shuls called Open Orthodox. And while I think your readers would benefit from a balanced discussion of the issue, with contributions from various stakeholders, I have specific concerns about page 34:

My primary concern is about one sentence from the RAA’s ad: “Finally, those members of the Open Orthodox movement that claim to elevate the role of the Jewish woman in our Orthodox communities are those that the Igros Moshe referred to as Minim and Reshaim.”

Calling out fellow Jews as minim and reshaim is no small thing, and causes pain, as I would think the RAA would acknowledge. The RAA can believe and say what they want, but you chose to publish those words, a choice that is surprising and disappointing. Does this mean that The Jewish Link’s editorial position agrees with the RAA’s? If not, does this mean anyone can purchase ads calling others minim and reshaim? Is that the kind of paper you want? There are already many Orthodox rabbis and websites that seem to relish in line-drawing and wall-building. While The Jewish Link need not only sell ads it personally endorses, you have the opportunity to publish a paper where the right to call names and defame is not for sale. I look forward to hearing from you about this.

David Hain

Teaneck

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