Heterodoxy Meltdown?

You may also like...

3 Responses

  1. ralphie says:

    Excellent analysis. I wonder why this is the dynamic only in America. Reform began in Europe, of course, but I don’t think it’s thriving there today. And there are the types that Rebbetzin Katz, I think, described in Australia – that aren’t observant but want a shul or ceremony to be Orthodox when they’re needed. The same is true, I’d say, for the non-religious (as opposed to the anti-religious) in Israel – I have heard that people want to drive to the soccer game on Shabbat, but they don’t want their rabbi to tell them it’s all right to do so.

  2. Larry says:

    In response to Ralphie’s perceptive description of the differences between non-observant Jews in America and elsewhere, I would posit the following:

    Outside of America (in Israel, for example), there is a focus on external absolutes – this is what Judaism stands for, even if I don’t elect to follow it – and an apparently lower level of need for an internal consistency between one’s actions and one’s professed principles. In America, by contrast, this desire for such internal consistency (which may be characterized in terms of “authenticity” or a wish to avoid hypocrisy) is far stronger, and is manifested by a tendency to shape our ideologies in ways that validate our actions. The non-Orthodox movements, by providing an imprimatur to lifestyles deviant from traditional Jewish norms and thus validating the perception of a unity between behavior and held-principles, are accordingly well-suited to the American Jewish psyche.

  3. JZ says:

    Actually the reason Reform Judaism never gained a foothold in British Commonwealth countries is very simple. The Office of The Chief Rabbi had organizational control over all aspects of communal Jewish life. At the turn of the previous century, if members of a community wished to establish a new synagogue, they had to justify their plans, in writing, and had to go through an approval process. The USA had no such restrictions and so became a haven and magnet for German Reform Jews…

Pin It on Pinterest