Can’t Get No Traction

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10 Responses

  1. Michael W. says:

    So how exactly would you recommend the non-Orthodox movements relate to Israel when it does in fact treat them quite poorly?

    What exactly does the Columbia story have to do with the rest of your posting? I was also at the protest and there were Jews of every stripe protesting against the Iranian maniac. The radical left that you talk about has very little if anything to do with organized Judaism in America.

  2. Ori Pomerantz says:

    I don’t see why we Heterodox Jews in the US should look to Israel for confirmation of our identity, or consider it important what the Israeli government decides.

  3. Jacob T says:

    Your argument that Israelis by and large do not care about pluralism is grounded on a big assumption: that the only means by which Israeli citizens might demonstrate support for religious pluralism in Israel is to formally affiliate with a liberal Jewish movement, such as Masorti (which, incidentally, has 15,000 ‘dues-paying members’). How did you come to this conclusion? If you have hard data, please share it.

  4. Bob Miller says:

    Reform nabobs go and delegitimize themselves by their un-Jewish or anti-Jewish actions and then make demands on the rest of us. This is the new paradigm for chutzpah.

  5. David S says:

    “In my last post, I quoted the late director of the American Reform movement in Israel, David Forman, as stating that Reform’s “inroads into Israeli society have been marginal at best.” Back in 2005, the same gentleman estimated the number of dues-paying Reform Jews in Israel to be about 5,000, and, rest assured, there hasn’t been a dramatic uptick since then. Indeed, Forman added that “while it is convenient for us to blame our unequal treatment by the government for our limited numbers . . . it is highly doubtful that if we were granted full rights tomorrow our membership would grow significantly.” This, despite the millions that have been poured by American donors into building the biggest, most modern edifices for the heterodox movements and running the most sophisticated ad campaigns for religious pluralism that money can buy. So, why is that with all that, the heterodox have gained so little traction in Israel?”

    You have unwittingly made the case for full equality of the Conservative and Reform in terms of State Funding of religious institutions. Since they are no threat whatsoever to the established Orthodoxy, why bother to contest this? You are so sure that you have a better product…why not let them compete on a level playing field?

  6. L. Oberstein says:

    I once overheard the following conversation in an elevator in Jerusalem. I was with an Israel Bonds Rabbinic Mission and a Conservative rabbi and his family were entertaining a prominent Israeli developer. The rebbetzin said “Maybe Amnon will invite you to dedicate the building he is finishing in Beijing.” The Israeli looked at her and said”you mean ,affix the mezuza”, I am sure our government will get a real rabbi to do that.” The Israeli was not stupid, but he had no idea that a Conservative rabbi considers himself to be a “Rav” like the ones in Israel with the long coats and the hats. An American rabbi is not in the same league. I just observed this exchange silently, but it encapsulates the whole topic.

    Now, the other side of the coin, is that religion is so politicized in Israel that many secular Israelis have no idea of the pretty side of religion and that is a tragedy. Many would like some connection to Judaism and they find the official religion unattractive. The hetrodox would have more success simply because they make it more compatible with the way real Israelis live except that they are not that competent in the first place. The failure of non orthodox Judaism is a combination of many factors, historical and sociological but I would add that the lack of any dynamic, charismatic, truly learned leaders in the heterodox world is not insignificant. We can’t just sit back, they could succeed if they got their act together, which may happen in the future, although there is no evidence of that.

  7. Ori says:

    David S., you’re asking why shouldn’t Orthodox Jews oppose having government budgets that would normally go to Orthodox institutes go to Heterodox ones which very few people use. Remember, the budget is a fixed quantity. The government cannot give A more money without giving less to B, taxing C more, or borrowing from D who then won’t spend the money investing in E.

  8. rachel w says:

    American Jews affiliate with Reform as a way to keep a Jewish identity. Israelis have a built-in Jewish identity-merely living in a the Land of Israel proclaims that they are Jewish. Hence, they have no need for halfway, watered down Judaism.

    That, not the fact that the Non-Orthodox can’t get their act together, is the reason for their dismal numbers.

  9. Bob Miller says:

    The Heterodox should qualify by becoming Orthodox.

  10. YM says:

    Rachel W. nails this one. Many American Jews want their kids to know that they are Jewish, and the non-Orthodox temple is the place to do that.

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