Some articles in the Feb. 23 issue remind me of a story. The front page article “Tradition vs. inclusion” spelled out difficulties on that topic within the Conservative movement. In the same issue appeared Rabbi Yitz Greenberg’s “How the OU can correct its mistake on banning women clergy.”
Here’s the story: Rabbi Yoseph Ber Soloveitchik used to have a daily Torah study session right after the morning service. An important communal matter came up which demanded his immediate attention. Nonetheless, he refused to skip the study session. When asked about it, he said, “if I skip this study session even once the Torah scholars, getting wind of this, will find it easier to skip some of theirs, then some of the baalei batim may once in a while skip a prayer service.” And down the line he went across the different communal groups until reaching “the end of the line” — the pharmacist who was the town’s most “liberal Jew” — saying, “and who knows, maybe the pharmacist’s son might convert to another religion.”
I fervently hope that all this extremism on “inclusion” will not lead to extreme results we’d rather not face.
Rabbi Yeheskel Lebovic
Congregation Ahavath Zion