The Zionist Conspiracy

A clandestine undertaking on behalf of Israel, the Jets and the Jews.

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Monday, June 19, 2006
Rav Hutner, Rabbi Hartman and Sports

One of the most interesting aspects of Jeffrey Gurock's book about American Jews and sports are the anecdotes about Rav Hutner's acceptance of Chaim Berlin high school's participation in a yeshiva basketball league, even when cheerleaders participated and post-game social events occurred.

At some point, the charedi world - including Chaim Berlin - lost Rav Hutner's brand of tolerance. Hopefully that is changing.

Somewhat (albeit unintentionally) amusing was Dr. Gurock's writeup about David Hartman, a star of Chaim Berlin's high school team who later became Rabbi David Hartman of the Shalom Hartman Institute and a leading advocate of religious pluralism.

As Dr. Gurock wrote, after leaving Chaim Berlin, Rabbi Hartman studied for a year in Lakewood and was ordained at YU. He then notes that Rav Hutner surely recognized that Rabbi Hartman's participation in basketball had no adverse effect and that Rav Hutner was surely proud that Rabbi Hartman became a rabbi.

Suffice to say that Rabbi Hartman's ideology is as far within Orthodoxy from Rav Hutner's as could be. Indeed, Rav Hutner was a staunch opponent of religious pluralism, and was among the 11 leading rabbis who signed the 1956 ban on participation in the New York Board of Rabbis.