About Me

I wanted to introduce myself, I am the rabbi of a modern orthodox synagogue.  I have traditional semikha, spent time studying in Israel, have written articles for various Torah journals, I am married (to the Orthoprax Rebbetzin) and have five kids (the Orthoprax Rabbi’s Kids).  This is all pretty unremarkable.  But, I figured I would let you all in on a little secret, while my congregants are all Orthodox, to varying degrees, I am not.  I don’t believe in any of it.  I am an atheist.  I personally don’t keep much of any of Jewish law.  

How then can I be an Orthodox Rabbi? Simple.  A rabbi is a job like any other.  No one asks the plumber if he believes in plumbing or the attorney if he truly believes in his client.  Instead, everyone understands that many people go into different professions for many different reasons.  Sure, there are those plumbers who view it as their calling or the attorney who only takes clients he can believe in.  Most of us, however, aren’t that lucky.  Instead, we take jobs that we think we can be good at, make money, get power or a host of other reasons.  I took this job because I am a good speaker, personable and have a background in Jewish stuff.  My congregants all like me – or at least it seems so, I just received a five-year contract extension and raise – so what’s wrong if I don’t believe.  My belief doesn’t (for the most part, and I hope to explore some areas where it does) affect my job performance.  I answer “she’elot” and give heartfelt dershot, officiate at weddings and funerals, and, as I said, people are generally satisfied.  So do my beliefs matter?

I hope to explore this question and generally discuss my role as the atheist or, as some nice people have come up with a category for what I am – orthoprax, I am the Orthoprax Rabbi.

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81 Responses to About Me

  1. Another one of you? Sigh. Let me point out the obvious flaw in your speech please:

    > A rabbi is a job like any other. No one asks the plumber if he believes in plumbing or the attorney if he truly believes in his client.

    First of all, you’re wrong on both points. Plumbing is not something you have to believe in. A man who doesn’t believe in plumbing isn’t a poor plumber, he’s an idiot because there are the pipes and water in front of him. As for attorneys, of course they have to believe their client. They can’t do their jobs properly if they don’t. And if you say that they still could because it’s just a job, congratulations for picking the profession that people hold the least respect for because of how unethical many of its members are.
    A rabbi, however, is not just another job because of the concept of community. When you are up on the bimah leading services, people actually expect you to be part of their quorum, to join your prayers to theirs. If you’re up there the whole time thinking this is a bunch of bovine faeces, you are betraying their trust in you. You are essentially lying to them every time you give a speech and they expect that you’re being sincere. How can you do that?
    My advice is to leave the rabbinate and become an academic. You don’t have to believe in anything except your next paycheque, don’t have to deal with annoying congregants and can leave your synagogue to choose an honest, sincere individual.

    • Kilico says:

      Garnel, as a lawyer, I can tell you that we do not have to believe our clients. In fact, it behooves us well to take what they say with a grain of salt so as to better predict the arguments that will be brought by the other side. Our job is to serve the client rather than believe him or her.

  2. The part of this that distresses me most is that you don’t keep much if any Jewish law. Do you feed your congregants treif, or do they just not ever come over your house? Whatever book learning and life experience you may have, it seems to me that as the years go by and you don’t keep the mitzvot it will become harder for you to give correct answers to halachic questions.

    The analogy to a plumber or lawyer seems facile. If my lawyer doesn’t believe in the rule of law, or if my plumber doesn’t really think indoor plumbing is a good thing but is willing to provide it to others I’d like to know this before hiring them.

    • Lisa says:

      Larry, seriously? If he kept halakha personally, you’d be okay with him being a sheigetz inside?

      • Jeff says:

        Lisa, your latest post on “shituf” is simply incorrect. It is not a “fringe minority” view that a non-Jew is not forbidden from worshiping something else along with the Creator. See the Rama, O.C. 156:1 and Shach, Y.D. 151:7 , “ain bnei noach muzharim al hashituf”. The Avnei Nezer in Y.D. 123:9 spells out explicitly to what extent they are “ein muzharim”.

      • Lisa says:

        Jeff, the question is “what is shituf”. It isn’t worshipping false gods. It’s limited to oaths.

      • Jeff says:

        Lisa, it is clear from the sources I presented that the mainstream view is that the mitigating factor of shituf is not limited to oaths. From the Avnei Nezer cited,

        in this day and age we don’t forbid selling sacrificial items to non-Jews, because their intent is to worship the Creator of heaven and earth, except that they are mishtatef God and something else; Bnei Noach are not forbidden from (“muzharin al”) shituf. And it is also possible to answer [referring to a previous question regarding lifnei iver] that similarly by a Ben Noach who fashions an idol for himself — not to worship the idol by itself, but rather “lishatef” the idol together with God — does not commit a transgression.

    • Larry
      I am sure you already know that while I may harbor certain beliefs I don’t impose those upon others. Thus, when people come over everything is Kosher. I have even switched to mevushal wine when I have guests because of myself. As to the “correct” answers, I take my job very seriously and I provide answers to all sorts of questions, all of which are within the parameters of Jewish law.

      • Koillel Nick says:

        lol you’re a bit of a machmir too. you may not have to switch to mevushal wine since
        1. according to the Chochmas Adam the main reason for yayin nessech is marriage.
        2. according to Ben Ish Chai and R Ovadia Yosef, even those who disagree with the Chochmas Adam’s conclusion, wine of a Muslim (not avoda zarah) is only forbidden for that which has been poured. what remains in the bottle would be permitted. ROY does not see why a non observant Jew should be worse.

    • Yaakov Yoseif says:

      Actually, although my sympathies ultimately lie with the Rabbi, Larry makes a good point. Since I stopped caring so much about all the minutiae that frum people have to worry about a million times a day, I’ve actually forgotten a lot of the “smaller” halachos– especially in hilchos shabbos. This despite the fact that I spent like 15 years in yeshiva (counting grade school– which was still intense), and many of my friends ask me to “paskin” their sheilos. If you want to break shabbos in private, Rabbi, you’re gonna have to keep on your toes. I recommend you stick to halacha despite your beliefs, and just charge the congregation for the overtime hours worked.

  3. mikeskeptic says:

    Hi. I struggle with the hypocrisy of living as an orthoprax frum skeptic, especially the challenge of raising children in a way that will enable them to live comfortably in the frum community while still maintaining some honesty about my skepticism of orthodox beliefs. I think I would find the burden impossible to bear if I also had to fake it for a congregation that looked up to me for religious guidance. Is the Orthoprax Rebbetizin orthoprax too and does she know of your athiesm?

    • mahla says:

      Mike that’s a really good question you finish up with, and I am awfully curious too.

    • avi says:

      Mike, my kids know all about my disbelief of anything religious. It makes no difference to them. They love me for who I am, not for what I think. As long as I love them, they are fine with whatever my religious feelings are.

  4. MJ says:

    ” Garnel Ironheart” I disagree with you.

  5. MJ says:

    Garnel Ironheart- I’m almost positive I know who the Rabbi is and I can tell you that his congregants are not impacted by his beliefs. That he does not believe in what he’s doing is irrelevant as long as those who he is serving are not effected. Is that not correct?

    I think you should reconsider your response.

    • Holy Hyrax says:

      >That he does not believe in what he’s doing is irrelevant as long as those who he is serving are not effected.

      Then why not be open with them?

    • Josh Becker says:

      MJ,

      That’s exactly like saying it is okay to steal from someone if they won;t find out that the object is missing. It’s is also exxactly like saying it is okay to lie to someone if thy will never find out that they have been lied to and the truth makes them feel good. This is not okay (unless they ask for it).
      This rabbi is lying to anyone to whom he advises on faith, yearning, or closeness to God, which is what Judaism is all about. Sure, during the time he sticks to technical halacha, he is not lying, but a rabbi who can;t sincerely counsel his congregants on how to strengthen their faith in God should not enjoy his title.

  6. avi says:

    I, like you am a rabbi who stopped believing years ago. My wife is still frummer then frum and still believes. As I said I stopped believing years ago when I learned to think for myself. Avi

  7. Jon says:

    This is quite disgusting. I think (and hope) it’s a fake. You really should feel guilty about such enormous deception if it isn’t. This will be my only visit to this blog.

  8. Jay says:

    I have been straddling the fence for most of my life which is 60+. I have the best of both worlds: The closely knit orthodox community, adult children who have chosen the Ultra O path on their own and the ability to eat and do what I want to do as long as I don’t bend anybody of shape. I must say that I had to chuckle a few minutes ago when all the lemmings in my town were running to mincha. As for the Rabbi…let it be..let it be.

  9. OTD says:

    You have my strongest support.

  10. moom says:

    “I personally don’t keep much of any of Jewish law”

    Well then you aren’t orthoprax. But if that is true how can you keep playing the game. I think you mean: “When I’m sure no-one is watching I cut corners”?

  11. Yosef says:

    If and when your identity will be discovered, are you worried about the implications for the couples that you have married? Perhaps if you were a no-name, the rabbonim would find some neat little hetter and sweep your case under the rug. But now that you are quickly becoming the world-famous “Orthoprax Rabbi”, I imagine that those rabbonim will force your no-longer-newlyweds to bear the consequences of your thoughtlessness.

  12. Chaviva says:

    rabbi
    pronunciation: \ˈra-ˌbī\
    Function: noun
    Etymology: Middle English, from Old English, from Late Latin, from Greek rhabbi, from Hebrew rabbī my master, from rabh master + -ī my
    Date: before 12th century
    1 : master, teacher —used by Jews as a term of address
    2 : a Jew qualified to expound and apply the halacha and other Jewish law
    3 : a Jew trained and ordained for professional religious leadership; specifically : the official leader of a Jewish congregation

    I see you’re sticking very strictly to that second definition. But being devoid of any religious respect for your congregation (who seek a religious leader) is disappointing.

    And I just blogged about you! http://www.kvetchingeditor.com

  13. YC says:

    If your congregation paid you in counterfeit money would you keep your job?

    If you somehow got rich: lottery, inheritance- would you keep your job?

    If it was shown to you that you are spiritually harming your congregation (even if you thought it was all crap) would you keep your job?

    What is funny is you think it is ethical. In what world is lying to everyone you work for the right thing to to do. Yes, plumbing or attorney is judged by her results. A sales person should be judged if they believe in the product. Is a rabbi a sales person. In part yes. Are you lying: 100%

  14. Chaviva says:

    Why don’t you just get a job as a university professor? All your qualifications make you PERFECT for that. So why not? Then you won’t be hurting the neshamot of your family and your congregation! It’ll pay, you can say what you want, etc.

  15. Joel M Miller PhD says:

    If the Orthoprax Rebbetzin told you that she had no feelings for you and had long been intimate with the plumber (he having joined the conversation earlier), would you think “she’s provided me a simulacrum of intimacy and helped raise the kids, so no problem”?

    Atheist Rabbi is interesting; Deceptive Spiritualist is depressingly familiar.

  16. Owning It says:

    I recently became less religious. That said, I think there is something inherently wrong with pretending to be something you are not. I don’t pretend to be religious. I don’t hide my lack of shomer shabbat from anyone. I own who I am and what I believe.
    While I respect your position to be irreligious or an atheist, I disrespect your choice to continue being a spiritual leader, when you lack spirituality within yourself. (I was also under the impression that in order to lead a kahal you need to be makpid on the halachot.) I also agree with Chaviva, you can become a professor in a university, they (especially the Jewish Studies ones) are atheists.

  17. Eli says:

    When did Judaism become Christianity? Who cares what he believes? Despite what the Christianized Rabbinate would have you believe, Judaism is a religion of ACTION, not belief. I must say it is troubling that he does not believe we have a Creator, but I understand his struggle.

    If this rabbi raped his daughter, but believed in the Divinity of Torah, would he be exonerated in comparison to an atheist that did not rape his daughter? Anyone answering yes to this question should be sterilized.

    All religion is man-made. People that were not brainwashed from birth KNOW the Torah was a man-made document. Orthoprax is the true emesdik Jewish religion and people need to start stepping up to fill this void before the newest line of dinosaur, historical-revisionist charedim breed like cultish animals and become the majority.

    • YC says:

      To anyone who read Eli’s comment

      re Judaism is a religion of ACTION, not belief.
      Tanach (Bible) is FULL of things the believe. Check it out. Read it for yourself.

    • Holy Hyrax says:

      >When did Judaism become Christianity? Who cares what he believes?

      What a ridiculous comment. Since when did modern intellects strip Judaism of ANY belief? Sorry, Judaism is action as well as certain beliefs as well.

    • JRS says:

      yes, Eli, that was a ridiculous comment. Orthodox Judaism—the brand this rabbi implicitly claims to observe every moment that he is employed by his congregation—plainly has many required beliefs, starting with (but arguably not limited to) the ones articulated by the Rambam. You may certainly choose to disbelieve some or all of it—but it goes without saying that part of the job of acting as rabbi to an orthodox congregation is believing in the Torah; man-made or God-given, that is a major criteria.
      Many (most?) orthodox Jews may falter, slide, regress or modify their belief in one or the other or even many of the tenets of the religion—even a rabbi might!—but to say it’s l’chatchila OK to serve as rabbi while completely disowning any belief in any of it is absurd & dishonest. Would you condone selling food falsely labelled as kosher, since you believe the whole concept of kashrut is man-made?

  18. rebecca says:

    great post. i look forward to reading more.

  19. Eli says:

    I just read chaviva’s blog. Seriously, chaviva? This rabbi if he does exist has been searching all his life and finally he expressed his true feelings. Anyone that is not a complete idiot with half a brain and an ounce of intellectual honesty can see that the Torah is all man-made. At least this Rabbi made his announcement anonymously. You are so weak in your own belief that you can only condemn him.

    Judaism today has become a smorgasbord of Christian dogma and women have too much power. I want to marry a 15 year old and take on multiple wives like the Baba Sali.

    • Holy Hyrax says:

      >Judaism today has become a smorgasbord of Christian dogma

      Like what?

    • Dov Kramer says:

      >>Anyone that is not a complete idiot with half a brain and an ounce of intellectual honesty can see that the Torah is all man-made. <<

      Anyone who really believes that his thought process is the only legitimate way of thinking, and that his or her conclusions are the only possible conclusions to be reached by intelligent, thinking, objective people, has much larger issues to deal with.

  20. Chaviva says:

    @Eli I’m not weak in my faith/believe, believe me. Here I am, someone who is an academic, fully aware and involved in biblical criticism, writing papers that some would call heretical, but the point is that my personal belief and my academic inquiry are two separate things that I am able to deal with. A lot of people can’t and become athiests the more they learn academically about the construction of the bible and the midrash and the rabbis. But me? I’m firm in my belief. Maybe I’m unique. I am, after all, a convert.

    • ezra says:

      chaviva i totally agree with you,
      i love science about the earth and stuff like that and i always used to be bothered about stuff like that how the world was created in 6 days etc.
      it never translated into absence of belief though bec i always knew there are answers and if the avg human cant understand the ans its bec they arent god its simple as that
      but i recently found a book that explains from the torah and from science how creation in 6 days and the 15billion yrs of the universe are one and the same among other various subjects etc.
      i highly recommend this book.
      its called” the Science of God by Gerald ” and you can get it here
      The Science of God: The Convergence of Scientific and Biblical Wisdom
      ezra

  21. Lisa says:

    Eli wrote:
    Anyone that is not a complete idiot with half a brain and an ounce of intellectual honesty can see that the Torah is all man-made.

    You’re dead wrong. The Torah is clearly not man-made. Hell, the simplest refutation of the DH is the near-identity of our Torah and the Samaritan Torah. The idea that our arch-enemies accepted the patchwork produced by Ezra or whoever is simply daft.

    In any case, if I thought the Torah was a fake the way you and Chaviva do, I absolutely would not be frum. I’d abandon it like a hot potato. What I would not do is perpetrate a fraud as Hayyim is doing.

    When I got married, we asked the rav whether we could give sheva brachot to our non-observant relatives. He said yes, so long as they haven’t specifically denied God’s existence. Note that this was far from a chumra-monster rav. If Hayyim says a bracha, you can’t be yotzei on it. If he says birkat eirusin at a wedding, it hasn’t been said at all.

    • OTD says:

      Lisa: >When I got married, we asked the rav whether we could give sheva brachot to our non-observant relatives. He said yes, so long as they haven’t specifically denied God’s existence.

      Your rabbi is an idiot, as are you. Halacha does not make a distinction between someone who is an agnostic or an atheist. Anyone who doesn’t qualify in Orthodox belief is a heretic technically. If your rabbi wants to be nice to the majority of Jewry who aren’t Orthodox but not out and proud atheists, I can understand why that might be convenient, but there is no halachic basis for it. Anyway, sheva brachot are not a big deal anyway, and I highly doubt your rabbi would extend his benevolence to non-Orthodox believers when it came to brochos under the chupa.

      >In any case, if I thought the Torah was a fake the way you and Chaviva do, I absolutely would not be frum. I’d abandon it like a hot potato.

      Not only is Judaism a pile of hooey, so is all religion. There is no God. You’re free to go. Happy now?

      In any case, your zeal to unmask our rabbi here is highly unimpressive, and is somewhat reminiscent of כל הפוסל במומו פוסל.

      • OTD says:

        An Orthodox rabbi had this to say:

        “While I can appreciate the desire to expose this person, I find the witch hunt distasteful.

        It is especially distasteful in comparison to the lack of witch hunt against pedophiles and molesters in the orthodox community. In fact, not only is there NO witch hunt against those “witches”, some still protect them.

        I am not saying that any time people want to try to root out evil from their community they should be stopped because of their failures in other areas. What I am saying is that those who try to expose the Orthoprax Rabbi are really exposing THEMSELVES as people who care more about regulating others beliefs than regulating sex crimes. That is sad and wrong.”

      • Lisa says:

        Oh, cry me a river, OTD. If someone started a blog called “The Molester Rabbi”, or “The Tax Cheat Rabbi”, I guarantee you that my small efforts to unmask Hayyim would pale before the concerted effort of others to unmask them. And you know it.

        There’s no witch hunt going on here. No one is trying to check under the metaphorical robes of all rabbis. This one guy, who by his own admission is cheating his congregation, and who isn’t even Orthoprax, so he’s cheating everyone who read his blog as well, deserves to be unmasked.

      • Lisa says:

        OTD, I have a vested interest in wanting Judaism to be false. But it just isn’t. Even aside from that, I’ve been reading SF all my life, and I’m much more comfortable with the thought of a mechanistic universe than one with a Creator. Particularly a Creator who lays down rules. I do not like being told what to do.

        But God exists. Or rather, God is existence. You can’t get away from Him. You can shut your eyes and your mind and stick your fingers in your ears and go “La, la, la, la, la, la!!! I can’t hear you!!!!!”, and it won’t make the least bit of difference on that count. It just makes you pathetic.

      • OTD says:

        > I’ve been reading SF all my life, and I’m much more comfortable with the thought of a mechanistic universe than one with a Creator. Particularly a Creator who lays down rules. I do not like being told what to do. But God exists. Or rather, God is existence. You can’t get away from Him.

        You realize according to mainstream Orthodox opinion you’re a kofer. Mechanistic universe? God is existence? Feh! What is this, Spinoza?

        Chapsem!

      • Lisa says:

        OTD, you’re not too bright, are you. Where’s the kefira in saying that I’d rather God didn’t exist? I know He does.

    • OTD says:

      >You can’t get away from Him.

      I agree god is a pain in the ass.

  22. Chaviva says:

    Whoa whoa whoa … I never said the Torah was fake, Lisa! Good lord, talk about a complete misreading!

    I said that I practice academic inquiry — writing about things that might be considered heretical (Imma Shalom in the Midrash as a rabbinic creation, the Golden Calf incident as a later insertion) — but personally, with the deepest sentiments and devotion believe that the Torah was given at Sinai from G-d to Moshe. Make no mistake. I believed this from even before I was Jewish! I firmly know and feel that I was at Sinai and my neshama has been Jewish from creation. It just took a conversion or two to get here.

    It is completely possible to reconcile academic inquiry and complete faithfulness in HaShem and the Torah.

    • Lisa says:

      Chaviva, I’m sorry if I offended you. But the Golden Calf being a later interpolation does absolutely belie the entire Torah. Academic inquiry is fine, but contradictions don’t exist. Something’s got to give.

      • YC says:

        Lisa

        I believe the Torah was given to the Jewish people in the midbar (I will add “more or less” so we dont get into a last 8 or Iben Ezra argument).

        But the bible is full of irreconcilable contradictions. I prefer to call them points of view.

        (I will say I am not agreeing or disagreeing with what you wrote as I dont follow it 100%)

      • Chaviva says:

        The fact that you think so shows a lack of understanding at how one can reconcile. You can ask questions about something, easily, without automatically denying the truth.

        You can say “What if I were a man,” but that doesn’t automatically mean you’re not a woman, right?

        Questioning, inquiring, examining does not equate to unbelief.

  23. It sounds as though Chaviva is the academic equivalent of the Orthopractic rabbi. She keeps her job through accepting a number of propositions professionally that she does not accept personally.

    A similar example would be someone who believes Hashem made the world approximately 6000 years ago, but who believes it was created old. Thus he can be a geologist or physicist and produce results that he secretly thinks would be valid except for the fact that Hashem made the world this way instead, recently.

    • YC says:

      Larry,

      There are other possibilities

      Like the earth is about 4.5billion years old and God gave the torah roughly 3,500 years ago to Bnai Yisroel in the midbar.

    • Chaviva says:

      No … I’m upfront about my beliefs and my inquiries. Hello, I cover my hair, I speak with excitement about my Judaism and belief, yet I’m able to put on the thinkers hat and examine archaeological evidence, textual evidence, and more to pose questions.

      I got asked in a class once, after discussing the Golden Calf issue, “So, now that you told us all of that, what do YOU believe?” My response? I explained to them that I’m a religious Jew, and that the MORE I learn academically and “secularly,” the more my religious identity grows. Learning the contradictions and history of certain topics doesn’t push me away. I’m a believer, through and through, and my colleagues and friends and students will and do know that.

      I’m one in a billion in that respect. I’ve come into contact with few who can reconcile. Slap me silly and call me a chosen neshama.

  24. Pingback: The Orthoprax Rabbi Takes the J-Blogosphere By Storm | Pacific Jewish Center | Rabbi

  25. avi says:

    I believe the Torah was given to the Jewish people in the midbar .
    That is the first belief that you should drop. There is absolutely no proof of it, except that chazal, who were not too smart , said that it did happen. Avi

  26. Lisa says:

    Avi, you’re a fool. Just because you, for what are probably personal reasons, have chosen to jettison all of Judaism, doesn’t mean that it isn’t true. For someone like you to say that Chazal aren’t too smart is an example of כל הפוסל במומו פוסל.

  27. MO Rabbi says:

    Two comments:

    The commenter “moom” was right, you don’t understand the term orthoprax at all. The whole idea of orthopraxy is the adherence to halachik norms without any meaningful commitment to the system from which such norms emerged. In other words, someone who is orthoprax keeps halachah not because they believe in halachah wholeheartedly. Rather, someone who is orthoprax adheres to halachah for some other motive – usually social in nature. Instead, you’re a lapsed Orthodox Jew. If you want to sound more intelligent get your terms straight.

    Furthermore, the whole debate over whether you’re lying or not should include the fact that you’re not telling the whole truth. While you may claim not to be lying outright, you are certainly not being completely honest. Ethically speaking, anything short of honesty is dishonesty. So while you may not be lying, you are being dishonest towards your congregants. It takes no stretch of the imagination to assume that they would care whether you’re as Orthodox as you present yourself and are assuming that they get nothing short of the whole truth from you.

  28. joe says:

    “A rabbi is a job like any other. No one asks the plumber if he believes in plumbing or the attorney if he truly believes in his client.”

    This simply isnt accurate, and if you had a real job you wouldn’t know this. Not all jobs are alike. In some, such as plumber, the beliefs or ideology don’t matter, and the client will never ask. In others, such as a judges law clerk, belief and ideology is everything – and judges will expect the people they hire to share their beliefs, no matter whether someone with opposing viewpoints can “fake it” on the job. Rabbi is one of those positions where the client does care about the employees beliefs and would not want to be deceived. So yes, even in a regular job your actions would be considered dishonest.

  29. MO Rabbi says:

    Orthoprax Rabbi –

    I’m really curious to know if the many commenters on your blog that disagree with you and think that you are deceiving your congregation are giving you any pause. You certainly are entitled to your opinion, but are they making you think twice? Do you have any doubts about what you are doing based on the responses to your blogposts?

    • YC says:

      MO Rabbi

      LOL

      He is lying to his congregation. If that is 10 families or 100’s. He does not care about them

      Why would he care what we (those who think he is doing a disservice to his profession) think?

      Can he be eid?
      Can he count towards a minyan?
      Can he be given an aliyah?

      Who cares about those religious question? He doesnt

      Can he look himself in the mirror? He doesnt care about either

      I have met atheists who are ethical people. He is not one of them

  30. Heshy Fried says:

    Wow – thanks for the heads up about this site, sounds super interesting. I hope you can go beyond all the classic orthoprax stuff and actually talk about your congergants and what it’s like to the rabbi and not believe. To me, it sounds exactly like living in the closet. You really want to come out, but can’t. Sounds like a lot of work to be living a lie, in fact.

    To those who think he’s fake – who cares – 90% of anonymous bloggers are fake, the whole point of a blog is to write what you feel or want to feel in an anonymous setting. Does it really mater if he’s pulling our legs. It’s still super interesting to think about.

    I look forward to you future posts, even if you are fake.

    • mahla says:

      Me too.

    • ezra says:

      he really cant tell us about his congregants bec that will basicaly give him away what if one of his congregates stumble upon this blog or maybe one of there freinds and they recognize something? anyway i hope he does something like that i d love for the sparks to fly and watch this foolish rabbi get his just deserves for deceiving his congregation

  31. Daniel Stuhlman says:

    It is possible that this blogger is just trying to get you to think about your beliefs. If you exhibit the signs and actions of an observant Jew does one question your inner thoughts?

    No one knows your inner thoughts until you reveal them.

    Also one can be an academic and a believer. I am one and I have friends who are, too.

  32. Morty Kaplan says:

    Hi,

    I also have smicha and can understand what you are going through. May I suggest you read the diaries of Mordechai Kaplan? Like you Kaplan was, at least in the beginning of his career was an MO rabbi like you and he also went through a lot of personal tzurut. Perhaps his diaries can be some sort of help for you.

    B’haslacha!

    Reb Morty

  33. evan baker says:

    I agree you shouldn’t follow what you don’t believe and understand its gotta be tough to just leave what you have behind. On the other hand, it’s never too late and beginning over may not be the end of the world. Or perhaps it may be. I don’t know your situation.

  34. evan baker says:

    I agree you shouldn’t follow what you don’t believe and understand its gotta be tough to just leave what you have behind. On the other hand, it’s never too late and beginning over may not be the end of the world. Or perhaps it may be. I don’t know your situation.
    http://kissmeimshomer.wordpress.com/

  35. real rabbi says:

    theology and philospshy and personal beliefs are private and easy to decieve people with when things are going fine. God forbid a crisis or holocaust and questions of faith and spiritual leadership and direction this loser is no better then a quack doctor who does a great job using placebo effect psycological bandaid work on someone who doesn’t really need it.
    if you ask me this guy isn’t much different then the average conservative rabbi who are becoming irrelevant. But mark my words as he started writing this blog and begins his process of ‘coming out of the closet’ he will become more vocal. He wants to get caught’ he hates living a lie his insecurity with his hypocriticall lifestyle will cause him to defend justify and eventually renounce it all and his kids will probably marry goyim and his grandchildren won’t be jewish. He will say he doesn’t care…. Till he gets old grows up regrets and it will be too late. But hey at least he will feel’ he’s being real’ to himself’ wonder if he has theu guts to publish my comment

  36. David says:

    Rabbi Orthoprax,

    You are just another result of the Yeshiva system. A free thinker living in a society of closed minded sheeple and manipulative clergy. The corruptions of this community, among other things, have driven you away from belief in G-d because you have associated G-d with the laws of Judaism and the way in which Jewish people conduct themselves.

    You seem like an intelligent person. I can tell you now that whatever we Orthodox Jews practice and believe to be true religion, is not the truth. It is an approximation of the truth that has been passed down from our ancestors. We cling to this tradition because we have nothing else, but to abandon it because of its possible degeneration from its original form is not the answer. What I believe is, trust G-d and let all the rabbis sort out their manipulative insanity for themselves…

  37. Rafi G says:

    I have just begun reading Emanuel Feldman’s new book “Tales Out of Jerusalem”. On page 7 he writes a story called “The Unbelieving – and Unbelievable – Religious Lady”.

    When I read this story it made me think of you.

  38. David SMith says:

    I’m pretty certain he’s the rabbis of my congregation. I can see it in his eyes every shabbos that he’s laughing at us. Just the way he delivers his speeches, and all his “kiruv” vacations. From the first time I joined the shul and shook your hands I knew you were no good, but most of the people in my congregation are too oblivious that they don’t notice. But I know!

    Yeah, you’re for sure the rabbi of my shul!

  39. Ben says:

    Orthoprax,

    You are a dishonest person. My gripe with you is not your lack of faith and so on, but the rationalization of your actions as “Oh well, its a job”

    Your community is living with the impression that you are a G-d fearing man. If you don’t want to believe in G-d, then don’t. But don’t cheat your community out of a G-d fearing leader for your profit. You can make your livelihood without tricking a whole group of people who rely on you. You are just as bad as all those who you say are farcical and unjust. Go be a bus driver or something.

    And if you are indeed faking it, then my hats off to you. You’ve fooled us all.

    (My hope is that you are playing devil’s advocate in hopes of sparking engaging philosophical/theological conversation…)

  40. avi says:

    keep up the good work orthoprax. You have many many people who feel like you do

  41. ah-pee-chorus says:

    the analogies to a plumber and lawyer are weak. a rabbi /priest etc.. has a unique distinction from almost any other job. his beliefs are part and parcel of his suitability as a hire. if congregants knew of his beliefs they would deem him incapable of being an orthodox rabbi fit to perform the necessary rituals. this is very different with a lawyer or plumber. if someone can fix pipes it doesnt matter whether they like being a plumber or favor having no pipes. they can do their job and frankly many bosses wouldnt care. a congregation would care and wouldnt hire him if not for the deception.

    • ah-pee-chorus says:

      that being said, i feel for orthoprax rabbi. its a tough position to be in especially when there is no equivalent employment option.

  42. Lady-Light says:

    Sorry-I couldn’t find your email address anywhere (I might have missed it). You answered one of my comments with a reference to (not sure of exact title) “twenty three questions” or something like that, about refuting certain events in the Torah. Could you please send that link to me again? I have not had the time to read it, but I would like to.
    Thanks.

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