In a 5-4 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court recently lifted a temporary hold on a court order requiring Yeshiva University, an Orthodox Jewish institution in New York, to fully recognize an LGBT club known as YU Pride Alliance.
The Supreme Court noted that the matter was still being decided in the relevant state courts, and the plaintiffs or defendants could appeal the case upon the initial state-level decision.
First, a little bit of background about Yeshiva University and the Jewish historical and cultural trends that led to its creation.
For thousands of years, traditional Jewish communities in the diaspora — particularly the Jews of Europe known as Ashkenazi Jews — have been seeking to find a balance between maintaining our customary lifestyle based on strict adherence to the Torah and functioning in a practical sense with the rest of world.
YU was (and is) in many ways an attempt to strike a meaningful balance between a traditional, Orthodox Jewish life and receiving the tools necessary for success through a secular academic education. And for over 130 years, it was widely asserted that YU had been reasonably successful in this goal.
For millennia, this balance has been shaky throughout the Jewish world. Indeed, the famous storyline, themes and even the title of “The Fiddler on the Roof” all reference this attempt to find a balance.
In some cases, the nations in which we resided succumbed to anti-Semitism and forced their Jewish populations to live in ghettoes and other highly insular communites. And in other cases, the Jews of Europe and beyond worked to assimilate so thoroughly into non-Jewish society that any sense of Jewish identity was all but erased.
Ironically, however, the fading of Jewish identity did not diminish anti-Semitism. Many are not aware that the Jews of Germany in the decades leading up to the Holocaust were considered the most assimilated by far of any Jewish community in Europe. It goes without saying that Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party had zero respect or appreciation for Jewish assimilation. On the contrary, Nazi rhetoric argued that Jewish integration into German society was what made the loathed Jew so “dangerous” and “deserving of eradication” in the “Final Solution.”
For the American Jewish community, assimilation — and especially a recent rising rate of inter-faith marriage — has always been a very serious threat to our ongoing existence. In fact, Rabbi Rafi Peretz, Israel’s former education minister, decried the nearly 60 percent rate of inter-faith marriage among American Jews as “a second Holocuast.”
Partly as a result of this assimilation, the pseudo-religion of liberalism — which is wholly incompatible with the tenets of Orthodox Judaism — is now attempting to dominate the American Jewish world. Liberalism is dangerously seeping into even the Orthodox community.
Synagogues are splitting, Hebrew schools are struggling, and religious communities are dividing as many Jews who wish to maintain some Torah-mandated customs like observing the Sabbath and kosher dietary laws are also embracing concepts and actions that are simply irreconcilable with the biblical commandments of the Most High, including abortion, homosexuality and an appalling lack of support for the land of Israel.
As Elijah the Prophet said to the Jews of the kingdom of Israel as recorded in 1 Kings 18:21, “How long will you keep hopping between two opinions? If the LORD is God, then follow Him.” More than two and a half millennia later, the admonition of Elijah is still relevant to the Jewish people and beyond.
Yeshiva University — like many other Orthodox Jewish organizations that seek to be modern — is facing a quandary because it arguably went too far. While being inclusive and non-judgmental of our fellow Jews is generally seen as admirable, at a certain point a line must be drawn.
YU has waited until now to draw that line, and even now the line is relatively weak. In the talking points released by college leadership, the primary complaint is not the presence of an LGBT club on campus. Rather, the complaint is that these students stepped outside of the internal structure of authoritative rabbinical leadership and Jewish religious courts that are solidly established in the Orthodox community; they instead brought the matter to external secular courts in the highly liberal state of New York.
“Yeshiva University was brought to court based on the claim that it is not religious enough to be allowed to make its own decision on religious matters. The court case is solely about YU’s freedom to act according to its values without government interference.”
YU is still refusing to take a hard stand on the issue of homosexuality and how it relates to maintaining a fully Orthodox Jewish campus environment and experience.
“We welcome, love, and care for all our students, including our LGBTQ students. We place a specific emphasis of importance on supporting our LGBTQ students. There are a number of ways we express this support, including hosting an LGBTQ support group, requiring LGBTQ sensitivity training to all of our Rabbis and faculty, and presenting public events so that all of our students better understand the experience of being LGBTQ and Orthodox.”
Because so many American Jews are “hopping between two opinions,” and this approach has begun to enter even the Orthodox Jewish community, YU is attempting to accommodate this destructive trend. It is trying to cater to both traditional Jews who are fully observant of the Torah and biblical commandments as well as liberal Jews who have decided that they can pick and choose at will which commandments and customs they wish to follow as if they were at the salad bar at Goldberg’s Kosher Delicatessen.
But the “woke” machine is predatory. If you give radical liberals an inch, they will demand a mile — and take you all the way to the Supreme Court to get it.
In defense of YU, I seriously doubt they ever thought that their “inclusive” messaging would ever bring them to this point. But if you even flirt with “wokeness” and condone a rejection of biblical precepts, sooner or later the time comes to pay the piper. The present “solution” is a compromise in which YU Pride Alliance temporarily rescinds its requests for recognition in exchange for official funding and resources.
While the YU legal battle is theoretically an internal Jewish matter, it is becoming more and more relevant to Americans of all faiths and could have implications for other institutions. For instance, if state and federal courts rule that YU must allow LGBT clubs on its campus, does that mean that Dallas Theological Seminary and Pensacola Christian College must as well?
The spiritual corruption that wormed its way into Yeshiva University just might have ramifications for faith-based organizations all over the country — both Jewish and non-Jewish.
The upcoming court rulings that could infringe on the First Amendment rights of all Americans are very serious. But we must also remember that it is vital for all who revere the Most High to stop hopping between the two opinions of proper biblical living and compromising with anti-biblical “woke” ideology as well as the quasi-religious tenets of radical liberalism.
Otherwise, this is the result, and the case of Yeshiva University becomes a warning to us all.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.
The views expressed in this opinion article are those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by the owners of this website. If you are interested in contributing an Op-Ed to The Western Journal, you can learn about our submission guidelines and process here.