There Are No Reform Jews
Jeff is right about the label “Orthodox:”
It was not “Orthodox” Jews who introduced the word “orthodox” into Jewish discussion. It was the modern “progressive” Jews who first applied the name to “old,” “backward” Jews as a derogatory term. This name was… resented by “old” Jews. And rightfully so…
Rabbi Shamshon Rephael Hirsch, 1854
But if so, I express a mild objection to Jeff’s reference to “the same Reform reader.”
If we reject the Orthodox label, we should reject that as well. Barry is a Jewish reader who affiliates with the Reform movement.
There are, of course, many definitions of affiliation as well. Attending services twice a year and paying dues (because otherwise Billy can’t become Bar Mitzvah in the Temple)… does that an “affiliation” make? Would those millions of Jews get upset at what we think of their rabbis, unless they were taught that we think they aren’t Jews?
Barry, to which Reform vision do you subscribe? Do you think prayer in Hebrew is important or unnecessary? Do you regard Mitzvot, Commandments, as “sacred obligations,” or do you think they are “primitive ideas,” more likely to obstruct than to elevate? Do you encourage aliyah, or do you regard your place of birth or citizenship as your homeland? What is your Rabbi’s position on these matters — do you know? Do you agree?
Just as the “Orthodox” are hardly a monolithic entity, so too the “Reform.” There are those who are “committed Reform,” and those who are “Reform by default.” The only important thing is that you’re a Jew. Even Jeff would admit that a Jewish Democrat is no less a Jew than a Jewish Republican. 🙂
Oh, and as for your statement: “Sometimes I think we really should engage in dialogue with the OU or whatever” — hear hear! You’re not the first to notice that Reform Temples are faster to dialogue with liberal Christians than with Orthodox Jews. Can you make that happen?