I would appreciate it if you could inform the Montreal frum community about the true nature of Congregation Shaar Hashomayim. Unfortunately, many Jews make their simchas there because the Sha’ar calls itself a traditional Shul (They left the Conservative movement years ago). Nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, they have a mechitzah and use the orthodox siddur, but that’s where it stops.
The rabbi there, Adam Scheier, is a product of Chovevei Torah, the controversial rabbinical seminary headed by Rabbi Avi Weiss (of “Rabbah fame – he gave a woman Semicha). Scheier recently attended the installation ceremony of the new “rabbi,” Lisa Grushcow, at Montreal’s reform Temple Emanu-el. She is living (R”L) with another woman as a married couple (see page ten of the Canadian Jewish News by clicking here). Even worse, Rabbi Scheier recently invited her to lecture (see link, page 17) at the Shaar’s adult continuing education program.
On the home page of their website, the Shaar says that they adhere to traditional halacha! Just to add to the confusion, Rabbi Adam Scheier’s wife is attending Rabbi Avi Weiss’s seminary for women “rabbis” (he now calls them Maharat, which is a Hebrew acronym for Manhiga Hilkhatit Rukhanit Toranit, one who is teacher of Jewish law, Torah and spirituality).
The following is from The Canadian Jewish News website (October 19, 2012): “Montreal should soon have another female Jewish clergy member, it was noted, this time within modern Orthodoxy. Abby Brown Scheier is a student in the inaugural program at Yeshivat Maharat in New York, the first institution to train Orthodox women to be spiritual and halachic leaders. That class is scheduled to graduate next year.”
The following is from “Yeshivat Maharat” for womens’ website: “Through a rigorous curriculum of Talmud, halakhic decision-making (psak), pastoral counselling, leadership development, and internship experiences, our graduates will be prepared to assume the responsibility and authority to be Poskot (legal arbiters) for the community. Yeshivat Maharat is changing the communal landscape by actualizing the potential of Orthodox women as rabbinic leaders. Yeshivat Maharat represents a natural evolution towards a pluralistic community, where women and men, from every denomination, can enhance the Jewish world.”
I believe a red line has been crossed, and people should be informed of the true nature of the Shaar and its rabbi. They are definitely NOT traditional. Tevye the milkman said it best: “Without our traditions our lives would be as shaky as a fiddler on the roof!”
By Rabbi Mordechai Bulua
Photo by Joseph Wajsberg