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Aryeh Kaplan


Rabbi Yoel Lieberman

Kislev 3, 5782
Hi According to wiki, Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan was the Rabbi of a Conservative Synagogue. Why would he do this since he was Orthodox? Thank you
ב"ה Shalom, I find myself barely worthy to speak of such a prominent and most esteemed Rabbi who had such great merits of to be a "Mezakeh Harabim" endearing the Torah to those distant from it and bringing them back to the fold of Torah through his personal interaction, public speaking and prolific writing. I personally had the Zechut of meeting him once in person while he was at an NCSY convention in Fallsburg, New York , I believe sometime in the 70's dealing with Kiruv which was one of his life's goals. As I am not a family member or a biographer, I cannot attest to his actions in the years you refer to when he served as a Rabbi in Conservative congregations. However, I did consult with a Rabbi ordained at Yeshiva University by Rabbi J.B. Soloveitchik who told me that there were many Rabbis who particularly chose small outlying communities which had conservative congregations with the specific goal of trying to make these communities in to Orthodox ones. A certain percentage of these Rabbis succeeded in this goal while others left after a while without having succeeded. From what I have seen from those who did write about Rabbi Arye Kaplan zt"l was that his objective was always one of outreach. This also becomes evident from a question Rabbi Kaplan sent to Rabbi Moshe Feinstein zt"l in 1955, asking Rabbi Feinstein if he can arrange a youth minyan on Shabbat, if it is known for sure that the kids will be brought to Shul by car on Shabbat. Rabbi Feinstein zt"l ruled clearly against it . I am waiting to hear more about Rabbi Kaplan zt'l, from someone who has written about in the past. When I receive a reply, I will edit my answer and add the additional information I receive, b'ezrat Hashem. All the best
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