R ebels seeking to oust much of the Rabbinical Council of America's current moderate leadership allegedly oppose the proposed hiring of Rabbi Mark Dratch, founder of the anti-child sexual abuse organization J-Safe, as the Centrist Orthodox organization's executive vice president, and object to a possible rapprochement with the left wing Modern Orthodox Yeshiva Chovevei Torah.
The Jewish Week broke the story today, which you can read here.
Here is a brief summary from me about the history of the split that ends with the name of the man most responsible for it:
1. The RCA used to be Modern Orthodox.
2. After the incapacitation Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, the undisputed leader of Modern Orthodoxy and of Yeshiva University's rabbinical school, and then his death in 1993, American Modern Orthodoxy began shifting rightward.
3. This shift was driven in part by the OU Kosher, which used that shift to shore up its reputation in the kosher supervision business, and by rabbis like Hershel Schachter who desired acceptance from haredi rabbinic leaders.
4. In this process, the left wing of Modern Orthodoxy (and some of its center, as well) were deligitimized by the rulings and the directives of the right.
5. Last year, as a reaction to years of overreaching by the right, the center left regained control.
6. Now right wing rebels are trying to get back what they lost.
7. To do so they are using several hot button issues to galvanize support.
8. One of those issues is a possible rapprochement with Yeshiva Chovevei Torah, which is viewed by many RCA members as not being a serious Orthodox school, and is hated by others simply for challenging the Yeshiva University monopoly.
9. Another is the proposed hiring of Rabbi Mark Dratch, who served as chairman of its task force on rabbinic improprieties for the RCA and who was responsible for spearheading and formulating its policy guidelines for responding to allegations against member rabbis. Dratch has angered some on the right because of his activities with J-Safe, his work within the RCA to combat abuse, and because he is seen as being too liberal. His father-in-law, Rabbi Norman Lamm, a major figure in American Modern Orthodoxy, is now elderly and cannot provide political cover for him.
10. Centrist Orthodox rabbis like Hershal Schachter are essentially indistinguishable from haredi rabbis on most issues except issues directly related to Zionism.
11. The rabbis leading the current 'rebellion' are mostly Schachter's men.
12. The current RCA leadership is not.
13. It is very unlikely that the right wing rebels would have acted without consulting Schachter first.
Read The Jewish Week's report on the dispute here.