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|Slightly Leftist Orthodox Rabbi Leaves Stern Campus in Shambles|
|Written by Tovah Silbermann|
|Tuesday, 23 November 2010|
Last Wednesday night, Rabbi Ari Goldcohenstein of Congregation Young Israel Torah Emunah spoke at Stern College during an innocent event that quickly took a tragic turn.
After his 25 minute speech and a short Q and A session, most of the students who attended the shiur were left lost and confused. Ariella Goldman recounts that, immediately after the speech, the girl next to her began to cry, claiming that, based on what she had just heard, she could no longer believe in the Torah. "It's all a farce!" a girl screamed, before raging out of the room and shedding her pleated skirt in favor of a pair of skinny jeans.
In the days following the speech, a number of students began filling out applications to withdraw from Stern in favor of more leftist institutions such as JTS and Chovevei Torah. Hundreds of parents called to complain about the event, referring to it as "frankly obscene and inappropriate". The mother of a daughter who is currently a young impressionable freshman at Stern said, "It's honestly a disgrace. This event is basically like having a poster with the word 'sex' written on it. It shouldn't happen". The mother also continued saying that since her daughter did not have the opportunity to spend a year in Israel, she is much more sensitive to the obscene things she is exposed to in this Western Society, and Stern needs to take that into consideration when booking speakers.
So how did this travesty occur? The truth is, no one is really sure how the administration allowed this event to happen. A dean, who prefers not to be named, said that she thought the administration had done a thorough investigation of Goldcohenstein before inviting him to speak, but she admits that perhaps they were not thorough enough. Leah Green commented, "I even heard that the Rabbi's daughters don't cover their elbows and that his son doesn't wear a kippah when he plays basketball. How he's considered Orthodox I really don't know". Shira Stein, whose mother won't allow her to step foot anywhere near Riverdale, had this to say: "I thought Stern College was my safe haven, my shelter from the outside world. At home, my parents make sure I am not exposed to anything indecent, like gossip magazines or women saying kaddish. I expect Stern to do no less".
What is known is that the faculty and administration are taking large steps to insure that something of this horrific magnitude will never happen again. They have organized a committee to research any potential speakers for future events. And, while there is no official guideline for who is allowed to speak, it is obvious to all that the speaker should have a white tablecloth on Shabbat and stack the dishes after the meal. The committee maintains that, by implementing these protocols, they will avoid controversy in the future. They are also excited to announce the next TAC shiur, which will be held next Tuesday night at 7:00 in the Beit Midrash. Entitled "Better Safe than Sorry, Hair!", this shiur given by the renowned Rebbe Meir Lichtenshteinfeld of Mea Shearim will explore the halachic ramifications of not wearing a sheitel or a hat, and why both are an absolute must.