Meet the Guest: Rabbi Yuter

Every month, OMGWTFBIBLE snags some pretty great guests. But there’s never enough time in the podcast to discuss everything our guests our up to. In our Meet The Guest series, you can get to know our guests a little better than you will on the show.

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Episode 19: Rabbi Joshua Yuter

Rabbi Joshua Yuter in no stranger to controversy. He serves in an official capacity as the rabbi of the Stanton Street Shul, a traditional synagogue that has stood in New York’s Lower East Side since 1913 and will host the recording of episode 19. Ordained in 2003 at Yeshiva University’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, Rabbi Yuter is definitely an actual Orthodox rabbi. He also went to Yeshivat Har Etzion, a place I dropped out of.

I’m hesitant to call him an iconoclast, but Rabbi Yuter does not hesitate to call out the Orthodox establishment when he feels it makes decisions that diverge from the true tenets of Judaism. Unlike many of his peers, he is not afraid to articulate his own unique perspective on the most prominent issues facing Orthodox Judaism today, regardless of the backlash. Recently, Rabbi Yuter invited controversy and invective by weighing in on the whole women-wearing-tefillin controversy that struck the New York Jewish world, pushing back against the stricter view of Rabbi Hershel Shachter, the leading authority at YU. (If this all sounds like gobbledy-gook to you, I’ll be more than happen to explain it.

But Rabbi Yuter doesn’t make these proclamations due to preconceived political notions. He does it due to a deeply-held belief that it represents the appropriate response according to halakh (Jewish law). What I find most fascinating about Rabbi Yuter is his project of defining his own approach to Judaism both in a series of blog posts and a massive podcast that ranges from specifics of Jewish law to Rabbi Yuter’s understanding of the various voices and institutions in modern Orthodox Judaism. It really should be organized into a book one day.

Also, Rabbi Yuter is a pretty funny guy who cannot bear to let a good pun pass him by. All in all, I’m very excited he’ll be sharing his perspective with the show as we read the next bit of OMGWTFBIBLE together on March 20. Don’t miss it!

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