Although there may be a wide range of Open Orthodox shuls, may one daven in an Open Orthodox shul if a woman leads as the chazan for shacharis or ba'al koreh? Would such an Open Orthodox shul have the same halachic status as Conservative, which Rav Moshe Igros Moshe (EH 2:17) forbade davening inside? What about merely entering for a bar mitzvah without davening?

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    I think you should realize that "Open Orthodoxy" isn't a well defined movement with centralized rulings. There's plenty of variation in that space between Orthodox and Conservative. If you don't really know what happens in Shuls that identify as Open Orthodox, maybe you shouldn't conflate them with the rumors. Either ask about OO Shuls or ask about Shuls that follow the practices described in those rumors.
    – Double AA
    Jan 25, 2017 at 1:24
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    It appears that you are conflating OO with Shira Chadashah/partnership minyanim. The two are not specifically mutually inclusive terms. Jan 25, 2017 at 3:08
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    I must REALLY be out of the "loop". What is Open Orthodoxy? This is the first time I'm reading this term.
    – DanF
    Jan 25, 2017 at 17:13
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    OO does not accept that a woman can daven before the 'amud for shacharis/musaf, nor do partnership minyanim, who permit women to lead parts of tefillah and lein. As a general rule, while they are generally meikil, OO rabbis are careful to stay within the bounds of Orthodox halacha l'ma'aseh Jan 31, 2017 at 17:36
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    @Noach Leining and Aliyot being the major exception thereof where the Talmud and traditional Halakha clearly prohibits it. You're right though about the Sha"tz issues AFAIK; they only allow women to do "meaningless" things like Pesukei DiZimra.
    – Double AA
    Feb 1, 2017 at 2:51

1 Answer 1


Your description of what "Open Orthodoxy" does means that it is no different from the Conservative movement. You have stated that the baal koreh or baal tefilah can be women. As Rabbi Avi Shafran explains in Denominational Déjà Vu the movement appears to be on the same path that the "Conservative" movement has already traveled.

As a result, the halacha would appear to be the same as the original psak on that movement (even before it reached its current status).

I perceive precisely the same Conservative approach to halacha in what bills itself today as “Open Orthodoxy.”

Whether the halachic topic being addressed is same-sex relationships, interfaith interactions, kashrut, marriage, divorce or conversion, the desideratum of “Open Orthodoxy” is unmistakably to bring Jewish religious praxis “into line” with contemporary mores. That may not be explicit in the wording of “Open Orthodox” statements or responsa — any more than it was 14 years ago in those of the Conservative movement. But in both cases it is manifest.


Let me stress that I am speaking of a concept here, not people; of theological systems, not the intentions of students who have been attracted to “Open Orthodox” institutions, some of whom are clearly idealists who wish to serve the Jewish people. The problem isn’t those students or their idealism, but rather the proposition they are taught, that halacha is ripe for “updating.”


The new movement’s name is a misnomer, a dangerously misleading one. Just as “kosher-style” food isn’t kosher, neither is “Open Orthodoxy” Orthodox. It is neo-Conservatism. Which is why the greatest, most widely recognized, Torah scholars today — and not only those of the charedi world — have rejected its Jewish authenticity.

I take no pleasure in revealing the truth about “Open Orthodoxy.” But truth-in-labeling is not only a civil mandate but a halachic one.

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    "Your definition of what 'Open Orthodoxy' does means that it is no different from the Conservative movement." Is that so? Is having women read Torah the only meaningful difference between the Orthodox and Conservative movements? That's baloney and I think you know it. There are ideological and theological differences that would seem to be much more relevant.
    – Double AA
    Jan 25, 2017 at 4:22
  • @DoubleAA Rabbi Shafran points out that the difference in this case shows that the basic philosophy behind the movement is the same as the philosophy that led the Conservative movement down the path that it has followed. His point was that it is going down the same path, but farther behind. Jan 25, 2017 at 19:02
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    If only life was as simplistic as R Shafran thinks... We all know that there are lots of paths that can be similar in some ways and different in others. It's not black and white ("reform path" vs "orthodox path"). We should strive to identify issues and Psakim more precisely and not slander thousands of Jews through sheer laziness at not wanting to dig deeper than these generalities.
    – Double AA
    Jan 25, 2017 at 19:35
  • @DoubleAA The description as given in the question (have women lead shacharis and musaf) would mean that it would fall into the parameters of Rav Moshe's psak. If the term used Open Orthodoxy is incorrect then that should be corrected. I will add this to the answer. Jan 29, 2017 at 6:03
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    "would mean that it would fall into the parameters of Rav Moshe's psak" How do you know that? What are the parameters of R Moshe's psak? You should include those and show how this fits in.
    – Double AA
    Jan 29, 2017 at 6:03

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