OU West Coast Region Presents Ultimate Issues, February 20, A Reponse to Dennis Prager

January 23, 2007

OU WEST COAST REGION PRESENTS ULTIMATE ISSUES, FEBRUARY 20 PANEL DISCUSSION TO FOCUS ON DENNIS PRAGER’S CHALLENGES TO ORTHODOX JUDAISM

As a follow-up to the Orthodox Union West Coast Region’s Sixteenth Annual Torah Convention which was held in December, and in which there promises to be a controversial and spirited discussion, the Region will present Ultimate Issues. The session will be a panel discussion to address concerns taken up by Dennis Prager at the concluding session of the Convention, in which he debated Innovation vs. Preservation: The Future of American Jewry, with Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein.

The panel discussion will be held on Tuesday, February 20, at Beth Jacob Congregation, 9030 West Olympic Boulevard, Beverly Hills, at 7:30 p.m.

The panelists will include Rabbi Shalom Tendler, Rosh HaYeshiva of Yeshivat Birkas Yitzchok; Rabbi Asher Brander, Rabbi of Westwood Kehilla; and Rabbi Adlerstein, of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Rabbi Daniel Korobkin, OU West Coast Director of Community Services, and Rabbi of Kehillat Yavneh will moderate the discussion.

“The session will focus on Mr. Prager’s ‘challenges’ to Orthodox Judaism, and each panelist will demonstrate how each one of his critiques has cogent explanations, most of which have already been addressed by earlier generations of rabbis,” declared Rabbi Alan Kalinsky, OU West Coast Director.

Rabbi Korobkin explained further. “So many of us in the Orthodox community are big fans of Mr. Prager, because of his political views, his courage to speak his mind, and that most of the time, he represents a traditional Jewish viewpoint. Dennis Prager was brought up as an Orthodox Jew, and attended Jewish Day School. He is now not an observant Jew, but feels great affinity theologically with Orthodoxy. As such, he felt comfortable sharing with us some of the problems he has with the halachic system that is, the system of Jewish Law. While he accepts Torah min HaShamayim – the Divine origin of our Torah, his main problem is with some of the pronouncements and interpretations of the Talmudic and medieval sages.”

“He presented some of his ‘challenges’ at the Convention,” Rabbi Korobkin continued. “The reality is that most of these challenges have been addressed by sages going all the way back to the medieval period, and so they were easily addressed by Rabbi Adlerstein at the conference. However, we are taking this opportunity to flesh out the issues more and to have them fully addressed by our panel of expert community rabbis.”

“Despite our great admiration for Dennis Prager, we have a duty to point out where his criticisms of Torah Judaism are absolutely flawed. This is in keeping with our Talmudic mandate of da ma l’hashiv (know what to respond) when your faith is challenged,” Rabbi Korobkin added.

To hear the original disputation between Dennis Prager and Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein go to http://ouwestcoast.org/lectures.html.

For more information contact Rabbi Korobkin at 310-229-9000 ext. 205.