In reference to “Gay, Orthodox rabbis not ‘out’ of consideration at YCT” (April 11), I can only speak to what I know with certainty.
As a graduate of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah (YCT), I can say that Rabbi Dov Linzer (YCT’s president and rosh yeshiva) is a Torah scholar, Jewish legal expert, and man of impeccable character whose compassion and empathy are among his greatest strengths. This process [not granting ordination to a gay, fourth-year rabbinical student] was not perfect and indeed Linzer himself has deep regrets that this decision wasn’t made months earlier.
However, Linzer acted with integrity, authenticity, and fidelity to halacha. When new information came to light, he felt the terms of the original arrangement were not met and as such he no longer felt comfortable giving semicha to Daniel Atwood. Linzer made the only decision that he could make under the circumstances that were presented to him, and God forbid anyone accuse him of acting in fear of the “right-wing” crowd.
We all wish the pain could have been avoided as the pain is very real. There have been many centuries of trauma that the LGBTQ community has been subjected to and we can imagine this news reopens wounds. Indeed, the Orthodox community has a lot of work to do in this regard. And, at the same time, criticizing Linzer or YCT without knowing the details of the situation is foolhardy. YCT has long been an ally of the LGBTQ community to the extent that halacha permits — Linzer chief among them.