As president of Beth Sholom Congregation and Talmud Torah, a 420-family Orthodox shul in Potomac, Md., I read with interest the May 27 article about Yeshivat Chovevei Torah (YCT).
The article discussed the Rabbinical Council of America’s current refusal to accept the semicha of YCT graduates and suggested that this might make it more difficult for YCT graduates to obtain pulpit positions.
I can tell you from our perspective at Beth Sholom that this is simply not true. Four years ago Beth Sholom hired as an assistant rabbi one of the most talented and extraordinary individuals, Nissan Antine, a graduate of YCT. Rabbi Antine is learned, charismatic, dedicated and fully committed to Orthodox Judaism as well as outreach. In fact, our congregation (and our senior rabbi, Joel Tessler) has been so impressed by Rabbi Antine that we recently entered into a contract with Rabbi Antine, elevating him to senior rabbi at Beth Sholom in July 2013 upon Rabbi Tessler’s anticipated move to Israel.
While the RCA’s position regarding YCT graduates came up during our board and community-wide discussions, it was not an impediment to our decision to offer Rabbi Antine the position of senior rabbi. Indeed, the view of a significant majority of the participants in those discussions was that the RCA’s position was more of an embarrassment to the RCA than a negative mark for YCT.
President, Beth Sholom Congregation and Talmud Torah Potomac, Md.