Orthodox Rabbi Gives Sermon Not Mentioning Rav Soloveitchik. OU To Investigate

Assistant Rabbi Adam Kasdan, of the Young Israel in Seattle Washington, recently gave an entire sermon and did not mention Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik once. As the founder of Yeshiva University and a great biblical scholar, it has become customary, almost mandatory, that all modern orthodox Rabbis pay tribute to Rabbi Soloveitchik, also knows as “The Rav” in every sermon. While this mistake has been made in the past, what makes this case unique is that Rabbi Kasdan seems genuinely unapologetic. Senior Rabbi of the synagogue, Rabbi Simon Hirsch initially attributed the error to the junior Rabbi’s youth and lack of experience, saying it must have been an oversight. “I’m sure Rabbi Kasdan would not have left his name out on purpose. He knows the deal.” Many however, aren’t so sure.

United Orthodox Vice President of Marketing, Ezra Klein had this to say. “We did a thorough background check of previous sermons Rabbi Kasdan has given and he kisses up to the Rav right out of the gate, so I’m not buying that he just forgot this time. He knows if he wants a position as a senior Rabbi somewhere in the future, he’s gotta tow the line. That’s why this sermon is so suspicious.”

Congregants seemed less concerned. Thirty-year member, Morty Solomons backed up Rabbi Kasdan. “Look, I know the kid has to play ball and attribute everything in the speech to the Rav. It’s not like we’re going to fact check or anything anyway. I simply go along with the ‘everything great ever thought of’ was from him. I’m conditioned to assume that’s the case anyway. Honestly doesn’t bother me if he forgot to give him credit this one time.”

Sisterhood President Rachel Schiffren had a more practical approach. “If he was a Chabad Rabbi, then I can see it being a problem. I mean, the Rebbe (the deceased spiritual leader of the Chabad movement) could come back and then you’ve got problems. If he rises from the dead and someone tips him off that a Chabad Rabbi left him out in a sermon, you may be looking at a posting in Greenland or something. But we don’t think that The Rav is coming back… at least, I think we don’t. Do we?”

Rabbi Kasdan could not be reached for comment, but senior Rabbi Hirsch assured congregants that the next sermon given from the pulpit will credit the Rav, even if it has to do with something as simple as a schedule change in services.

About the Author
Avi Liberman is a stand-up comic who was born in Israel, raised in Texas and now lives in Los Angeles. Avi founded Comedy for Koby, a bi-annual tour of Israel featuring some of America's top stand-up comedians.