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When The Gedolim Visited Teaneck
A few years ago, some of the charedi Gedolim visited Teaneck. According to my sources, the background was that a certain Rabbi G., who was related to one of the Gedolim and a close talmid of one of my prominent opponents in Israel, was very upset about how the controversial ban over my books had brought ridicule upon the Gedolim. He therefore decided to arrange this event, in which the Gedolim would address the Modern Orthodox and answer some (carefully pre-screened) questions, in order to restore honor to the Gedolim.
Many people, including myself, found it patronizing and offensive. The tone of the event was one of outreach, of the great Charedi gedolim deigning to visit the poor Modern Orthodox, who should give them adulation. Yet these rabbonim are people who disdain everything that Teaneck stands for. In a personal conversation with one of these Gedolim many years ago, he had some extremely harsh criticisms for Teaneck. I can understand the idea of building bridges between communities, but not in such a one-sided manner; it wasn't even as though they were speaking on a joint panel with rabbis from Centrist and Modern Orthodox communities.
In an extraordinary confirmation of this understanding of them, Rav Schechter used the podium for an angry rant against people such as myself who seek to reconcile Bereishis with science:
Many people found the event extremely offensive, and were disappointed in the Modern/ Centrist Orthodox shuls that supported the event. But an interesting flyer appeared on the internet, announcing a corresponding event:
Of course, this was a satire (and consider it in light of yesterday's post on the pros and cons of satire). Some misinterpreted it as a mockery of these RIETS rabbanim, who would never be invited to Lakewood. But this was not the intent. The intent was to highlight the offensiveness of how the Charedi gedolim were being honored with an invitation to a Modern Orthodox community, and yet the invitation would never be reciprocated. I know what the intent was, because I was the one who made it.
By the way, one of the RIETS roshei yeshivah featured in this flyer told me that he thought it was hilarious!