Why Rabbi Avi Weiss is Wrong

Pictured: Not Orthodox Judaism

Pictured: Not Orthodox Judaism

In the past I have met with Rabbi Avi Weiss and was impressed by him. Despite his liberalism, he was deeply passionate and engaged in Jewish causes; something that has unfortunately become all too rare among liberal clergy.

Rabbi Avi Weiss’ views have become more radical over the years and he has found enough financial backing to set up a school of left-wing community organizers disguised as a rabbinical institution.

His Yeshivat Chovevei Torah is a factory for turning out Anti-Orthodox and Anti-Jewish left-wing activists. Shmuly Yanklowitz is one of the more rotten examples of a rotten lot. Their goal is to attack and undermine the Orthodox Jewish community through deception. blackmail and manipulation.

They are the tools of people like George Soros and funded by them.

Taking all that into account, his complaint in the pages of the Israel Times about the refusal of the Israeli Rabbinate to recognize him is misguided. There is no reason for an Orthodox Rabbinate to recognize a Rabbi who runs a non-Orthodox seminary… while insisting that it’s Orthodox.

When his seminary’s leading student, who was invited to the White House by Obama, writes leftist claptrap like…

 “We have made too many mistakes throughout history, thinking that the Messiah is a person or event… I would like to suggest that we are Moshiach—we are the ones we have been waiting for.

While there are some important things to learn from the Reform movement, I believe that it was a mistake to take messianism out of the liturgy—we repair the world through activism”

… why in the world should the Israeli Rabbinate put any stock in Rabbi Avi Weiss’ religious credibility? If it can’t put any stock in the Rabbis he makes, how can it put any stock in his conversions?

Rabbi Weiss complains that some American Rabbis are whispering bad things about him in the ears of the Israeli Rabbinate. They don’t have to whisper. They can just print out and fax material like this.

The new religion coming out of YCT is a generic liberal Tikkun Olam ideology replacing a traditional Judaism that believes in a messianic redemption, a return to Israel and a rebuilding of the Temple… with a Tikkun Olamish “perfecting of the world” through community organizing for social justice.

It replaces Judaism with Liberalism, it replaces Rabbis with Community Organizers and it replaces G-d with the “Idea of the divine in each of us”.

This isn’t Orthodox Judaism and shouldn’t be treated that way. If Rabbi Avi Weiss is no longer being treated as an Orthodox Rabbi, it’s because his YCT involvements telegraph the fact that he has opted out of Orthodox Judaism.

  • Nan Brall

    Thank you for this succinct article!

    • Daniel Greenfield

      The left has pushed it hard into both Judaism and Christianity

      • defcon 4

        Why don’t they ever push any of into islam?

        • Daniel Greenfield

          They would love to. But Islam

          1. Beheads outside influences

          2. Tells them it’s already there

  • Ed FDNYRetiree

    First off, and as a disclaimer and to avoid an instantaneous charge of “RAAACIST, which frankly I don;t give a damn about anyhow, I’m Jewish.

    That said…

    Generally speaking, liberal Jews are worse than any segment or sect of any religion on Earth insofar as the damage they do.

    Blind, ultra-liberal Jews, like those living in Boca, NYC, and in most major U.S. cities, and in Israel, have forgotten the lessons of the Holocaust. And indeed of 9/11 and the tens of thousands of Islamic atricities that followed.

    Liberal Jews act as thought there was no Holocaust!

    Liberal Jews are a poison — a cancer — and do to Jews what cyanide is and does to the human cell structure.

    • motherofbeaver

      Thank you. I couldn’t have said it better myself.

  • HenryBowman419

    R. Weiss sounds remarkably like the folks described in Joshua Muravchik’s history of Socialism (Heaven on Earth). Such people are devoted to a near-religious belief that Man can find his own substitutes for the older religions. The kibbutzim are one of Muravchik’s examples.

  • Yossi Ha

    This is an absurdly absurd comment. Avi Weiss is responsible for what some student of his says? Is that truly your argument? Avi Weiss is a Jewish hero – and the Israeli chief rabbinate is about as pertinent as East Tibet in Israel as we all know.

    • Daniel Greenfield

      He’s responsible for YCT which turns out leftist community organizers by the dozen.

      • Richie ahay

        Daniel and YU has turned out child molestors does that mean they are also child molestors? Judge Avi Weiss by avi Weiss.

        • Daniel Greenfield

          If YU had a child molesting curriculum, you might have a point. YCT has a community organizer curriculum.

  • Yossi Ha

    Ronn Torossian, another Front Page Magazine writer got it right. YCT is more reflective of orthodoxy than the chief rabbinate.

    • Daniel Greenfield

      Rabbi Avi Weiss was a hero. Unfortunately Ronn doesn’t appear to be more familiar with his current activities.

      Saying that YCT, which represents no one except a few of its wealthy backers and students, many of them non-Orthodox, is more mainstream Orthodoxy than the Israeli Rabbinate is like saying that Tahiti is more American than America.

      • Chavi Beck

        The NYT article was titled “Time to Rein in the Israeli Rabbinate”
        Seems he is in favor of reining people in who don’t toe the line, as long as he gets to do the reining in instead of getting reined in.

        • Daniel Greenfield


  • TK

    I’m not ‘into’ the tone of this article at all, but the big picture issue raised is correct and needs refinement. “Social Justice” is not “liberalism” – it is “oppressionism”, and the ideology has a strict structure of “victim”, “oppressor” and third party “savior”.
    In its “positive” (victim focus) mode, “Tikkun Olam” resembles ‘Chessed’ (generosity and kindness). In its “negative” (oppressor) mode, you have BDS.

    What is sad is that our brethren have bought into this ideology and yet can’t understand how or why Israel is being demonized as apartheid, etc (oppressor) and traditional judaism is demonized as sexist, racist, etc.
    It is the same side of the same coin.

  • elisha perlman

    I am appalled that rabbi weiss was representing orthodox judaism at my mother’s death bed at Sloan Kettering. He is a shameless parasite. And my sisters, Jennifer Pepper (Bergman) and Beth Pepper (Fox) worship the ground he walks on. My brother in law rabbi Jeffrey Fox even gave up a promising career in nj to follow him and help establish his new yeshiva in Riverdale, NY. They are in a cultlike atmosphere.

  • Chavi Beck

    Thank you for this. His op-ed was printed in the NYT as well (if I’m not mistaken) and I was hoping you’d write about it.