Whereas for generations, the Rabbinical Council of America, its members, and their communities have played, and today continue to play, an integral role in Jewish life around the world – furthering devotion to God, His people, and His Torah; and,
Whereas the RCA’s Modern Orthodox vision – rooted in the worldview of its mentor for decades, R. Joseph B. Soloveitchik zt”l – remains vital, relevant, and effective for today’s and tomorrow’s challenges and opportunities; and,
Whereas as Torah observant Jews, we must be firmly committed to careful and all-encompassing halachic observance, serious and ongoing engagement with sacred texts, and the fundamental principles of Jewish faith; and,
Whereas Torah observant Jews can – and, we believe for a panoply of reasons, must –confidently engage with secular wisdom and culture; and,
Whereas some assert that the Modern Orthodox community is facing a serious schism about the proper parameters and limits of such engagement; and,
Whereas the Talmud (Yevamot 13b) decries and prohibits factionalism within a community (“lo ta’asu agudot agudot”); and,
Whereas the Talmud (Yoma 9b) states that the Second Temple was destroyed because of senseless hatred, and that Rabbi Akiva’s students died because they did not show respect one to another (Yevamot 62b)
Therefore, the Rabbinical Council of America calls upon Jews to embrace its unifying outlook with passion and pride by
Affirming our belief in God’s miraculous revelation to our ancestors at Sinai, and in His eternal covenantal relationship with our chosen people.
Committing ourselves to complete observance of Jewish law, as interpreted by poskim who are recognized broadly throughout the Jewish world as being part of an unbroken chain, from Sinai until today, of traditional Talmudic and halachic interpretation.
Acknowledging the millennia-old Jewish practice of innovating and/or modifying halachic practice only after substantive consultation with authoritative rabbis and poskim.
Recognizing the essential spiritual equality of every Jewish person before God, and seeking, in that light, to maximize his or her religious expression, observance, and growth in private and public.
Embracing the great human and halachic commonalities between men and women, as well as their respective unique qualities and experiences, and the halachic distinctions between them.
Fostering a diversity of halachically and communally appropriate opportunities for women’s lay and professional involvement in Jewish life.
Seeking the flourishing of the State of Israel, and seeing God’s Providence in its founding, existence, and welfare.
As loyal citizens of modern countries, punctiliously complying with non-discriminatory civil legislation in fulfillment of the halachic requirement of dina de’malchuta dina.
Pursuing knowledge of the sciences and humanities in order to know God’s Creation, and in order to join the rest of His children in pursuing our mutual welfare through common civic, scientific, and political undertakings.
Reflecting upon how frequent and tragic schism has been in the history of our people – and to consider the numerous negatives consequences of further schisms.
Engaging in constructive religious debate that is “for the sake of heaven” by defending our opponents’ honor and motives; by emphasizing points of accord as much as areas of dissent; and, by seeking truth with grace, civility, and love.