Reform Judaism is the most liberal of the major movements within Judaism today. It started in the s in Germany during the emancipation and encouraged the examination of religion with an eye toward rationality and egalitarianism.
Reform Judaism differs from the other major movements in that it views both the Oral and Written laws as a product of human hands specifically, it views the Torah as divinely inspired, but written in the language of the time in which it was given.
The laws reflect their times, but contain many timeless truths. The Reform movement stresses retention of the key principles of Judaism. As for practice, Converting from christianity to reform judaism and homosexual marriage strongly recommends individual study of the traditional practices; however, the adherent is free to follow only those practices that increase the sanctity of their relationship to God.
Converting from christianity to reform judaism and homosexual marriage Judaism also stresses equality between the sexes. Reform Judaism shares the universal Jewish emphasis on learning, duty and obligation, rather than creed as the primary expression of a religious life.
Reform stresses that ethical responsibilities, personal and social, are enjoined by God. Reform also believes that our ethical obligations are but a beginning; they extend to many other aspects of Jewish living, including creating a Jewish home centered on family devotion; lifelong Converting from christianity to reform judaism and homosexual marriage private prayer and public worship; daily religious observance; keeping the Sabbath and the holy days; celebrating the major events of life; involvement with the synagogue and community and other activities that promote the survival of the Jewish people and enhance its existence.
Within each aspect of observance, Reform Judaism demands that Jews confront the claims of Jewish tradition, however differently perceived, and exercise their individual autonomy — based, as the Shema says, upon reason, heart and strength — choosing and creating their holiness as people and as community. The requirement for commitment and knowledge is repeatedly emphasized. A Reform Jew who determines their practice based on convenience alone is not acting in accordance with the recommended position of Reform Judaism.
Reform also rejects faith tenets of other religions as a matter of first principles.
Reform Judaism was born at the time of the French Revolution, a time when European Jews were for the first timerecognized as citizens of the in which they lived.
Ghettos were being abolished, special badges were no more, people could settle where they pleased, dress as they liked and follow the occupations that they wanted.
Many Jews settled outside of Jewish districts and began to live like their neighbors and speak the language of the land. They went to public schools and universities, and began to neglect Jewish studies and to disregard the Shulchan Aruch.
Inafter Napoleon's defeat, Jews lost the rights of citizenship in many countries. Many Jews became Christians to retain those rights. Many thoughtful Jews were concerned about this. They realized that many of these changes took place not because of a dislike of Judaismbut to obtain better treatment.
Many rabbis believed that the way to address this
Converting from christianity to reform judaism and homosexual marriage to force Jews to keep away from Christians and give up public schools and universities.
Leopold Zunz proposed something else. He suggested that Jews study their history and learn of the great achievements of the past. While Zunz was implementing his ideas, a movement began to make religious services better understood, by incorporating and the local language.
However, these changes led to battles with the local rabbiswho urged the government to close the test synagogue. Shortly after the closing, Rabbi Abraham Geiger suggested that observance might be changed to appeal to modern people. Geiger, a skilled scholar in both Tanach and German studies, investigated Jewish history and discovered that Jewish life had continually changed.
Every now and then, old practices were changed and new ones introduced, resulting in a Jewish life that was quite different from that lived 4, or even 2, years before. He noticed that these changes often made it easier for Jews to live in accordance with Judaism. Geiger concluded that this process of change needed to continue to make Judaism attractive to all Jews. He met with other Rabbis in Germany, and changes were made. American Reform Judaism began as these German "reformers" immigrated to America in the mids.
Reform rapidly became the dominant belief system of American Jews of the time. It was a national phenomenon. Reform Judaism in America benefitted from the lack of a central religious authority. It also was molded by Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise.
Rabbi Wise came to the U. He then proceeded to:. Many rituals and customs were dropped, some congregations held "Shabbat" on Sunday.
This early radicalism was mentioned in the Pittsburgh Platform. This was the time of the major Eastern European immigration, which was heavily Orthodox and non-German, as contrasted with the strongly German Reform movement. Many Reform congregations of this time were difficult to distinguish from neighboring Protestant churches, with preachers in robes, pews with mixed seating, choirs, organs and hymnals.
Although early Reform dropped quite a bit of traditional prayers and rituals, there was still a "bottom line. And, although decried as "archaic" and "barbarian," the practice of circumcision remained a central rite.
ByReform had started to return to a more traditional approach to Judaism — distinctly Jewish and distinctly American, but also Converting from christianity to reform judaism and homosexual marriage non-Christian. Early Reform Judaism was also Anti-Zionistbelieving the Diaspora was necessary for Jews to be a "light unto the nations. Following the Balfour Declarationthe Reform movement began to support Jewish settlements in Palestine, as well as institutions such as Hadassah Hospital and the Hebrew University.
Inthe Columbus Platform affirmed "the obligation of all Jewry to aid in building a Jewish homeland Although Reform does not have a mandated laundry list of "fundamental principles," concepts and principles that characterize much of the Reform movement include:. The Columbus Platform of Reform Jewry expressed the position that the Torah results from the relationship between God and the Jewish people. The records of our earliest confrontations are uniquely important to us.
Lawgivers and prophets, historians and poets gave us a heritage whose study is a religious imperative
Converting from christianity to reform judaism and homosexual marriage whose practice is our chief means to holiness.
Rabbis and teachers, philosophers and mystics, gifted Jews in every age amplified the Torah tradition. For millennia, the creation of the Torah has not ceased and Jewish creativity in our time is adding to the chain of tradition.
The platform went on to say that God is revealed not only in the majesty, beauty and orderliness of nature, but also in the vision and moral striving of the human spirit.
Revelation is a continuous process, confined to no one group and to no one age. Yet, the people of Israel, through its prophets and sages, achieved unique insight in the realm of religious truth.
The Torah, both written and oral, enshrines Israel's ever-growing consciousness of God and of the moral law. It preserves the historical precedents, sanctions and norms of Jewish life, and seeks to mold it in the patterns of goodness and of holiness. Being products of historical processes, certain of its laws have lost their binding force with the passing of the conditions that called them forth.
But as a repository of permanent spiritual ideals, the Torah remains the dynamic source of life of Israel. Each age has the obligation to adapt the teachings of the Torah to its basic needs in consonance with the genius of Judaism.
Reform Judaism views the rabbinic past as a historical development. The " Oral Law " is not seen as divinely given at Sinai, but rather as a reflection of Judaism's historic development and encounter with God in each succeeding generation. Reform believes that each generation has produced capable and religiously inspired teachers this means that Reform rejects the often Converting from christianity to reform judaism and homosexual marriage view that assigns greater holiness to those who lived in the past.
Some individuals of our generation may equal or exceed those of the past. Historical and sociological studies of the rabbinic literature during the last two centuries have illuminated it. Reform Judaism views this vast literature as the product of the human reaction to varying needs motivated by religious thought and the divine impulse. Reform Judaism feels no necessity to justify each segment of the literature in terms of every other portion as done through hidushim and pilpul.
Reform sees the differences among Talmudic and later authorities as reflections of particular points of view, different understandings of the divine mandate, as well as the needs of specific groups within Converting from christianity to reform judaism and homosexual marriage Jewish communities. When Reform Judaism analyzes each period of history, it discovers different strands in the halachah.
These appear both in the decisions and underlying philosophy. Traditional Judaism has chosen a single path and rejected the others, but we recall the existence of the other paths and the fact that they were suggested and followed by loyal Jews in the past. Reform Judaism feels that diversity has always been the hallmark of our literature and our people.
Thus, when Reform finds itself facing new situations, it turns both to the mainstream of rabbinic thought as well Converting from christianity to reform judaism and homosexual marriage its divergent paths for halakhic guidance. In Reform's view, the halachah is a vast repository whose old debates are often relevant to new situations. Sometimes the solutions of Reform Judaism may parallel those of past generations.
On other occasions, Reform diverges from them.
Through this effort, Reform Judaism seeks solutions for generations living in lands distant and distinct from those of the ancient Near East or medieval Europe. Reform Judaism recognizes that not every question can be resolved by reviewing the rabbinic literature; in some instances, totally new legislation is appropriate.
That may be buttressed by rabbinic precedent. Reform Judaism believes in God. This belief has been demonstrated from the earliest days of the movement; specifically, the Pittsburgh Platform inwhich said, "We hold that Judaism presents the highest concept of the God-idea as taught in our holy Scriptures. Reform's position is that the same requirements must be applied to establish the status of the child of a mixed interfaith marriage, regardless of whether the mother or the father is Jewish.
Therefore, inthe CCAR issued the following resolution:. The Central Conference of American Rabbis declares that the child of one Jewish parent is under the presumption of Jewish descent.
This presumption of the Jewish status of the offspring of any mixed marriage is to be established through appropriate and timely public and formal acts of identification with the Jewish faith and people. The performance of these mitzvot serves to Converting from christianity to reform judaism and homosexual marriage those who participate in them, both parent and child, to Jewish life.
For those beyond childhood claiming Jewish identity, other public acts or declarations may be added or substituted after consultation with their rabbi. Note that this decision is sometimes called the " Patrilineal Descent " decision, although it does not say Converting from christianity to reform judaism and homosexual marriage Patrilineal Descent, as opposed to the more traditional Matrilineal Descent, is used.
Rather, it says that a child of an interfaith couple must be raised with a continuing and positive association with Judaism to be Jewish. If you examine the Report of the Committee on Patrilineal Descent on the Status of Children of Mixed Marriages, you will see that, for the child of an interfaith marriage, merely having a Jewish parent is insufficient to make the child Jewish.
Rather, the decision states that having only one Jewish Converting from christianity to reform judaism and homosexual marriage gives the child a "presumption" of Jewish descent. The status, however, must be established through "appropriate and timely public and formal acts of identification with the Jewish faith and people. Reform Judaism welcomes all sincere converts without regard to racial or national origin or to their former religious faith.
Converting from christianity to reform judaism and homosexual marriage, it is sufficient for the prospective convert ger to declare, orally and in writing, in the presence of a rabbi and no less than two Converting from christianity to reform judaism and homosexual marriage leaders of the congregation and community, acceptance of the Jewish faith and the intention to live in accordance with its mitzvot.
This declaration takes place after a preparatory period of study.