10 ways Open Orthodoxy can gain respect

rabba sara hurwitzIn the past couple of years, since the first Orthodox woman rabbi was announced, the Charedi world has spent a large amount of time and energy on the attack. I guess it hearkens back to the days of yore, when that same world attacked the Chassidic movement, at least no one is murdering any of the students at YCT. I myself wonder why YCT even responds to such attacks, they aren’t part of Charedi society and will never be, do they even want to be a part of such a foolish world? Do they have what it takes to join the regular old baal habatish, yeshivish, I only wear a hat on shabbos, and modern orthodox machmir crowds. This past week, there was a letter and response article in the Yated, as always the YCT guy was nice and cheery and the response was hateful. I began to wonder what YCT and Open Orthodoxy would need to do to change their image within mainstream Orthodoxy. 

Everyone knows that Orthodoxy is 90% image and maybe 10% religion. If every YCT bucher suddenly started wearing black velvet yarmulkes and talking with “ois” instead of “ot” they may actually get somewhere. I firmly believe that if Harav Hagaon Sarah Hurwitz Shlita wore a full sheitle or tichel, dressed tzniusly, and spoke to crowds of men from behind a screen, people in the frum world may have listened instead of throwing unchecked, bug infested cabbages at her.

10 ways for YCT to gain respect: 

1.Fraud: One of the biggest problems with Open Orthodoxy is that none of the players have ever been convicted of any white collar crime. None of the best ways to gain respect from the frum community at large is to have one of your biggest baalei tzedaka go to federal prison and  demand glatt kosher food, all the while YCT holds pidyon shvuyim events and plans a seudas hodah upon the release of him from prison. Major Brownie points for this and the entire frum community will rally around you. Remember, even the most vehement chabad haters supported Rubashkin.

2.Tznius: It doesn’t help the case of Open Orthodoxy when people see the ladies wearing pants, it’s not actually about tznius, it’s merely about pants. Skirts are the battle symbol of the bas yisroel. If a woman wears pants at any time besides for maybe the kosher gym, they are automatically judged negatively. Even short, tight, skirts that show your panty line are better than the loosest fitting pants.

3.Use a Suf: Basically, the only person in the world who was held with esteem by the frum world who dared use a Tuf, was Rav Ovadia. Rav Ovadia was so smart that he figured out a way to gain respect from frummies without altering his speech, but even the Morah Diasra Harav Avi Weiss shlita isn’t on a high enough madreiga to use a Tuf and still command respect. If all the students started using suf’s when they responded to hatred from the frum community it would probably change some minds.

4.Obama: Fine, you voted for Obama, plenty of frum Jews did, but if you voted for Obama for reasons other than getting your welfare check increased, don’t ever admit it in public. Like most frum Jews who veer of general party lines (extreme right wing) just be ambiguous and pretend you hate Obama. It also works to pretend to be a racist, it helps your image, because if you aren’t a racist in the frum community – you may be accused of being a Jew hater.

5.Gays: We know you’re pro-toievah, but the least you can do is call it a toievah. You can also be an open minded frummy and say things like, “I have a live and let live policy”. You can add that you don’t think they should marry, but purely because of English language issues with the exact Webster definition of marriage vs. union. In fact, to be really ambiguous about your views you can pretend it’s a purely grammatical issue. Just because you’re pro-toievah, doesn’t mean you have to shove it everyone’s face.

6.Sex Abuse: I’ve noticed that there’s a severe lack of sex abuse in the Open Orthodox community. How on earth do you expect anyone to become the best most kindest rebbe if they have no one to abuse? How do you expect to any sort of Open Orthodoxy p’sak dinim on mesira if there’s no one to be moser with? The other problem with not having any molesters, is that your community never suffers any division based on halacha, it stays purely image and that’s not a good thing. Halachic debate about modern day mesira creates a much more interesting YCT mesorah than a bunch of women wondering about a yoetzet halacha’s duties with regards to paskening.

7.Israel: The easiest way to gain respect from the frum community is to refuse to partake in the Israeli Day Parade, due to their stance on the draft. If you want to take it to another level, you can oppose Israel due to your halachic ideals about not being there until the geulah, I take it some of you already hold of that being headquartered in Riverdale and not Israel. You can be pro-Israel without being so zionistic.

8.Wear a little black: Let’s look at one thing for a moment, do you know why the frum community hates you more than they hate the Niturei Karta? Could be possible that you look modernishe and therefore must be so. Whenever the NK does a rally everyone gets all up in arms, but they never get as much hate as Open Orthodoxy. If the frum community spent as much time hating sex abusers, get with holders, and fraudsters as they spent attacking YCT, they may get somewhere. If YCT guys looked moderately frum. You need to get rid of white yarmulkes, techeles tzitzis, and khakis. I’m not certain if you realize how much image means to most frum people. If even a small percentage of YCT guys started wearing hats or black velvet yarmulkes (they could even wear 4 section) it would work wonders for their image. The levush is possibly more important than pidyon shvuyim campaigns for sex offenders.

9.Kiruv: Basically, the biggest problem with Open Orthodoxy is that it’s so small that most people who don’t read loshon horah online, don’t know much about it. Whenever I talk about Open Orthodoxy or YCT in the Bay Area most people including the types who should know, have no idea what I’m talking about. It seems to be a NY centric movement with a few Rabbis scattered about. What they need is some Aish style propaganda, they could rip off Aish Discovery and prove to the world why women could be rabbis, gays could be frum, men didn’t have to wear hats and jackets at davening, and women could wear pants. It could be called, Halacha Discovery or something of the sort. If you want to be known, you need to indoctrinate some cult members.

10.Chinese Auction: There is not a person reading this who hasn’t spent a good time in the bathroom drooling over the Oorah Chinese Auction catalog. It’s basically frum porn and gambling in the guise of tzedakah for an organization that is plagues with lawsuits and scams. Does anyone know anyone who has what to do with Oorah? Does anyone know anyone who attended their programs? Not really, but who cares when you can win a million dollar raffle or a barnd new set of cherry wood bookcases. I can guarantee you that if YCT did a proper Chinese Auction catalog, the frum world would suddenly love them. You can win a full like of Shevy sheitles, shabbos toilet paper cut for life, or a trip to kevarim around the world.  Or you can do it the old fashioned way and send charoses that looks like actual cement.

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