Students continued their normal learning this week, with years 1 and 2 delving deeper into Baba Kama, and years 3 and 4 beginning to wrap-up hilkhot Aveilut. In my Modern Orthodoxy class for year 1, we heard two presentations this week, one on the history and impact that YCT has had on the Modern Orthodox rabbinate, and one on comparing and contrasting the approach of Agudah with that of the Modern Orthodox community when it comes to interacting with the other denominations. We look forward to the final presentation next week.
The big event this week was the IRF conference which took place on Tuesday and Wednesday at Congregation Beth Israel - the West Side Jewish Center, at West 34th Street (Rabbi Jason Herman, YCT 2005, serves as its rabbi). There was much Torah learning, good chevraschaft, and serious, engaged conversation and teaching around critical issues facing the Modern Orthodox community. But the most important event occurred at the end of the first day, when the membership of the IRF voted overwhelmingly to pass the resolution that had been previously approved by the Board of Directors requiring the use of halakhic prenuptial agreements. The resolution reads as follows:
IRF Rabbis may not officiate at a wedding unless the couple has signed a halakhic prenuptial agreement. IRF Rabbis are further encouraged to participate ritually only in weddings in which the couple has signed a halakhic prenuptial agreement. Ritual participation includes but is not limited to reading the ketubah, serving as a witness, and making one of sheva berachot.
The IRF is the now the only Orthodox rabbinical organization to require its members to use a pre-nup in any wedding they officiate at. An editorial applauding this move, written by Rabbi Michael Broyde, appears in this week's Jewish Press. This reinforces the YCT policy which requires its musmachim to use a prenuptial agreement at every wedding at which they officiate. YCT is the only rabbinical school to require this of its rabbis. We know that these requirements will go a long way to preventing the future occurrences of agunot, and we hope that it will serve as a model for other organizations and institutions.
And a big Mazal Tov to YCT musmach Rabbi Ari Weiss (YCT 2007) and YCT Student Avram Mlotek (YCT 2015) for being named as 2 of the Jewish Week's "36 under 36". The article on Rabbi Ari Weiss focused on the impact he has had as head of Uri LiTzedek, in educating the Modern Orthodox community about social justice, cultivating young Orthodox Jews to be activists for this cause, and raising the standards of yashrut within the community. The article on Avram Mlotek highlighted the many ways he is touching people's souls in the community, from his music to his love of Yiddish, from his teaching of children to his hospice visits, and from his writing of special columns in the Jewish Week. We could not be prouder of our rabbis and rabbis-to-be and the impact that they are having on the Jewish community and society at large. Mazal Tov!