On Honesty

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1 Response

  1. Toby Katz says:

    The Conservative movement plays a funny game, talking out of both sides of their mouth. On the one hand they do not accept Reform conversions, because C demands mikva and bris and Reform do not. On the other hand they demand that the Israeli goverement accept Reform as well as Conservtive conversions.

    When they do conversions, many C rabbis do not demand anything particular of their converts. The ritual must be formal — bris and mikva — but there is no standard for what a convert must do or believe. Each C rabbi determines what he will demand, the C movement has a whole has no standards for conversion. See Emet Ve-Emunah: Statement of Principles of Conservative Judaism, the 1988 book published by JTS.

    When a couple come to a C rabbi to be married, and one of them is questionably Jewish, the C rabbi uasually takes care of the problem with minimal fuss. Let’s say one of the partners is a Reform Jew whose mother is not Jewish—and he is Jewish only acording to the R definition which accepts patrilineal descent (which C does not accept). Or let’s say his mother had a Reform conversion, with no mikva. Or let’s say he simply isn’t Jewish. C rabbis in theory do not perform intermarriages. What will the C rabbi do in any of the above cases? He will conduct a quickie pro forma conversion of the partner whose Jewishness is in doubt.

    This explains why R and C get along so well. You would think the R movement would heatedly denounce the C movement, just as they denounce the Orthodox. “How dare they not accept our conversions, how dare they not accept patrilineal descent, how dare they say that half the people in the Reform temple are not Jews?!”

    Why do they not turn in fury on the C rabbis who reject R standards of conversion and halacha?

    The answer is obvious. It’s a wink and a nod understanding between R and C that they are both on the same side, and that when it comes to the crunch, C will find ways to accept R while they both work together to undermine Orthodoxy.

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