Can we actually say that there is a ray a hope for Modern Orthodoxy to survive in the 21st century? The recent incident at YU involving a rabbinical student in his participation in a Partnership Minyan has been resolved according to the powers that be at YU (“Your Semicha Or Your Wife?” Feb. 28). However, for the rest of us who still prescribe to the norms of Modern Orthodoxy — something truly is amiss.
There is no halacha that bars a women from getting an aliya, reciting a d’var Torah from the pulpit and leading parts of Shabbat services. In Jerusalem, there is a minyan called Shira Chadasha, an egalitarian Orthodox minyan that has been operating in the Emek Refaim neighborhood for many years without incident. Women participate in leading Friday-night services, they are called up for an aliyah and for the reading of the Torah.
All are welcome — women with sheitels as well as those with pants, men with black hats and beards and those with sandals and no ties. In a thesis written by Rabbi Haim Soloveitchik, he states: “Zealous to continue traditional Judaism unimpaired, religious Jews seek to ground their new emerging spirituality less on unattainable intimacy with him, than an intimacy with HIS Will, avidly eliciting Its intricate demands and saturating their daily lives with Its exactions. Having lost touch of his presence, they seek new solace in the pressure of His yoke.”
This thesis is over 50 pages long and was written in 1994!