New Head of Rca Chides Orthodox Scholars Who Isolate Themselves from Orthodox Mainstream

The newlyelected president of the Rabbinical Council of America, Rabbi Bernard Rosensweig of Kew Gardens, N.Y., has sharply criticized yeshiva graduates who have rabbinic ordination and Orthodox intellectuals who isolate themselves from the mainstream of the Orthodox Jewish community. Rabbi Rosensweig made his remarks yesterday before 460 delegates attending the 42nd annual national convention of the Orthodox rabbinical association here.

He urged that “those who are Jewishly knowledgeable and religiously observant should join existing Orthodox synagogues in their respective communities and thereby help to revitalize them. There is a desperate need for synagogue leaders whose roots are nourished by a yeshiva background and a grounding in Torah knowledge,” he said.” This will lend stature and prestige as well as renewed dedication to our Orthodox institutions, “he observed.” It is tragic that these endowed and committed Jews ghettoize themselves in small places of worship known as ‘stibelach’ whose concerns and influence rarely reach out to the larger community. The dissipation and fragmentation of such gifted talent impoverishes the larger Orthodox synagogues whose roots are irreversibly committed to the preservation of the community,” Rosensweig said.

He stressed that “nothing can invigorate the Orthodox synagogue more than the influx of our more knowledgeable Jews into positions of leadership, giving a more positive Torah direction to its varied programs of activities.”

Rosensweig also expressed concern “over the failure of a substantial body of graduates of rabbinical seminaries to enter the active rabbinate and pursue their careers as spiritual leaders. The most competent and gifted of these rabbinical graduates prefer to follow professional careers in such areas as education, government and private industry.” According to one source here, a survey of the delegates indicated that some 5000 yeshiva graduates and Orthodox intellectuals in the past 10 years had failed to join major synagogues.

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