by Rabbi Noah Gradofsky
In his Jewish Week op-ed, “‘Orthodox’ Is Not A Trademark Of The OU,” Noah Gradofsky argues that the Orthodox Union should include the “Open Orthodox” camp within its organization, and further that Open Orthodoxy has a legitimate claim on the term “Orthodox.” The full article can be read here.
I am only tangentially invested in this debate, since I prefer my affiliation with the Union for Traditional Judaism and am more concerned with following halachah [Jewish law] than with earning the label “Orthodox.” However, since for many “Orthodox” is synonymous with “authentic,” this struggle will have serious implications for the future of halachic Judaism. I believe the OU should define its standards of membership as broadly as possible. More importantly, everyone should accept the possibility that different interpretations of halachah can be equally authentically Orthodox, as can be demonstrated by reviewing several of the halachic flashpoints in Orthodoxy.