Are the Reform and Conservative Still Jewish?

Home Coffeeroom Decaffeinated Coffee Controversial Topics Are the Reform and Conservative Still Jewish?

Viewing 156 reply threads
  • Author
    Posts
  • #592725

    myfriend
    Member

    There is no question the reform and conservative don’t practice Judaism. The only remaining question is, are they even (by and large) Jewish? Of course anyone born to a Jewish mother, with an intact maternal lineage, is 100% Jewish. But considering the intermarriage rates in the reform and conservative communities, and the acceptance of paternal descent as “Jewish”, the question remains what percent of their communities are actual Jews.

  • #755190

    P’shita?

  • #755191

    so right
    Member

    Not to mention that the invalid conversions they perform add to their non-Jewish ranks.

  • #755192

    charliehall
    Member

    myfriend,

    Most members of conservative and reform congregations are still halachically Jewish. How long what will continue to be the case is uncertain.

    Many conservative or reform “converts” would actually have the status of a safek ger, which is in some respects even more of a halachic problem than if they were out-and-out non-Jew. I’m glad I’m not a rabbi and don’t have to deal with these kinds of problems.

  • #755193

    bombmaniac
    Participant

    i once had a shaila about this, i asked my rav…

    there was this girl i was talking to who happened to drop that she was jewish. i thought she wasnt, so i asked her about it. she said that her father was jewish and her mother was catholic. i told her that her mother had to be jewish for her to be jewish. she said that her mother had converted via conservative judaism, but had since recanted on that. my rav said that the conversion in the first place was invalid because they do not follow all the halachos of gerus, and because they do not accept all the mitzvos of the torah upon conversion.

    so there’s that for what it’s worth…

  • #755194

    bpt
    Participant

    Still jews.. unless mom is a goy.

  • #755195

    cynical
    Member

    This question shows a complete ignorance of what goes on in the non-orthodox communities. First of all, Reform and Conservative are not at all the same thing and to lump them together shows a lack of nuance and a lack of sophistication. Conservative conversions are done according to Halacha or they are not accepted. This is in quite different from the Reform Movement where each rabbi decides what his/her standards are.

  • #755197

    bombmaniac
    Participant

    and your credentials above my rav are?

  • #755198

    Ben Torah
    Participant

    Conservative conversions are the same junk as Reform. Both movements are outside Judaism.

  • #755199

    Feif Un
    Member

    cynical, Conservative conversions are done via Conservative halacha. For example, Conservative Judaism allows driving to shul on Shabbos. If a person has in mind that driving on Shabbos is ok, the conversion isn’t valid. For Conservative purposes, it might be ok, but not by our values.

  • #755200

    myfriend
    Member

    Reform and Conservative have long left the halachic bandwagon. Gedolei Yisroel across the board have declared them both kefira.

  • #755201

    AinOhdMilvado
    Participant

    “Cynical” – “conservative” conversions are NOT k’halacha. First of all, most “conservative” “rabbis” (let alone laymen) do not even accept the 13 ikarim, do not accept Torah mi’Sinai. That goes double for Torah she’baal peh. The Torah, they will tell you, was written by a bunch of “very wise men”.

    Having THAT as a starting point… it goes down hill from there. Do you really think that any woman undergoing a “conservative conversion” accepts upon herself observance of mitzvos -observance of Shabbas, kashrus, taharas hamishpacha??? Most definitely not. Even the “rabbis” who convert them are not makpid about these things themselves.

    So, to answer the original question… Of course if they are Jewish through maternal lineage, then of course they are Jewish. But if they are Jewish through a “conservative” (or “reform”) “conversion” -or the child of a mother from such a “conversion” – then clearly they are NOT Jewish.

  • #755202

    I hope that everyone responding to this thread is doing EVERYTHING they can to help these neshamos. They have the same neshama as you, and it is through Yad Hashem alone that you are FFB (if you are). It is so heartbreaking to see what is going on with these kids- they know NOTHING and to think that only a few generations ago someone in their family was frum…

  • #755203

    apushatayid
    Participant

    This is a loaded topic sure to degenerate into nothing constructive and quite likely destructive. Leave it alone. If there is a Limaase question, take it to a Rav.

  • #755204

    Helpful
    Member

    With women “rabbis”, toeiva, abortion, and practically everything else, there is little practical difference beetween the reform and conservatives.

  • #755205

    Helpful
    Member

    I believe their intermarriage rate may now exceed 50%. So it well may be that the younger generations in these movements are mostly non-Jewish.

  • #755206

    cynical
    Member

    Bombmaniac

    My credentials are that I’m a Conservative rabbi, so yes, I know a little bit more than you about what goes into a COnservative conversion. I take exception to being lumped with Reform rabbis, not because I disrespect them, but because we have real differences when it comes to Jewish theology and law. I accept the Jewish law is binding, they do not.

    As for another comment someone mad about who we accept as Jews – No COnservative rabbi will tell you that the child of a Jewish father and a non-Jewish mother is Jewish. I have personally been involved with conversions of such children. It may be painful for the family, but we insist on it because it is Halacha.

    A response to all the rude comments – You should be careful before you toss another group of Jews into the “junkyard”, someday someone will do that to you and I can’t wait to see how you like it.

  • #755207

    WIY
    Member

    Apushatayid

    True. I don’t know why people start these types of threads.

  • #755208

    cynical:

    1: Do you believe all 613 Mitzvos are binding?

    2: Does your movement believe so as well?

    3: Do you believe in the Divine origins of the Torah, given to Moses by Hashem at Sinai?

    In addition, are you “traditional” or “conservative”?

    Thanks,

    G@W

  • #755209

    so right
    Member

    cynical:

    Do you believe a woman has the right to choose an abortion?

    Do you believe it is okay to be gay? (in act, not just orientation)

    Do you believe women can be rabbis?

  • #755211

    HaLeiVi
    Participant

    WIY, Is it a valid conversion if he thinks it’s fine to pass in front of someone Davening :?)

  • #755212

    tzippi
    Member

    Hey Cynical, I was going to write something about how the title of the thread was incendiary but I have to admit that the subject is a real one.

    Re conversions: I’m not gonna go there. I do wonder, not knowing the conservative community, is there any trend towards real scholarship among the laypeople? You may have been following the learning boy, shidduch threads and you can see how ongoing intense Torah study is valued. (Re the women, yeah, it’s a different curriculum but we’re not slackers either. We may leave formal education earlier and not commit as much time to ongoing learning but we have ample opportunity to leave as Jews with broad general knowledge of Tanach, philosophy, history, and practical halacha.) Do you see that kind of literacy? If not, what do you think can be done to achieve it?

  • #755213

    AinOhdMilvado
    Participant

    To: Cynical…

    You say that you are a “conservative rabbi” and that “No COnservative rabbi will tell you that the child of a Jewish father and a non-Jewish mother is Jewish”.

    Don’t you really mean they wont tell you that UNTIL your “Jewish law committee” or whatever name you call it by, with the passage of time, votes that the child of a Jewish father and a non-Jewish mother IS Jewish, – just in the same way that it was decided that is OK to have mixed seating in shul, that it is OK to ordain women as “rabbis”, that it is OK to drive to shul on Shabbas, and numerous other “decisions” made by your “movement” that are contrary to Torah law?

  • #755214

    cherrybim
    Participant

    “But considering the intermarriage rates in the reform and conservative communities, and the acceptance of paternal descent as “Jewish”, the question remains what percent of their communities are actual Jews.”

    You’re so right,and consider that conservative geyrus is worthless as well.

    By the way, the method of how Jewish population is tallied in the U.S.A. is that a sampling of people are called by phone and if the head of the household is claimed to be Jewish, the demographers consider and count the entire household as Jewish.

    So halachically, there are far less Jews in the United States as officially stated and this would bring the true Orthodox proportion of the actual total of American Jews much higher than the secularists state.

  • #755215

    Ben Torah
    Participant
  • #755216

    Darchei Noam
    Member

    No conservative or reform convert intends to accept the 613 mitzvos, thus they are all invalid. No conservative and reform convert intends to keep Shabbos (i.e. not drive, no making fires, opening electricity, etc.) or keep the full taharas hamishpacha.

    In any event, the great intermarriage rates in those religions (conservative and reform) are causing a high percentage of their children to be non-Jewish. While their Judaism was long ago discardrd, sooner rather than later there will not even be any Jews left in those religions.

  • #755217

    ronrsr
    Member

    they are still our brothers and sisters, and all are children of Hashem.

  • #755218

    Helpful
    Member

    …the ones that are Jewish, that is.

  • #755219

    WIY
    Member

    HaLeiVi

    Definitely not! 🙂

  • #755220

    Homeowner
    Member

    Hmm. If you daven three times a day and accept the Taryag Mitzvos BUT you (apparently) don’t believe in “dinei d’malchusa k’dina” since you get convicted of tax evasion and money laundering, are YOU still a Jew?

    Obviously I agree with ronsr.

  • #755221

    cynical
    Member

    That’s quite a lot of questions and comments directed at me. I’ll endeavor to answer some of them because I think talking and listening to different types of Jews is very important and I have a feeling that many of you have never met a Conservative rabbi.

    Gavra at Work:

    I am most definitely a Conservative rabbi. We believe that all the Mitzvoth of the Torah are binding. That said, try to find two sources that identify all 613 Mitzvoth and interpret them in the same way. I have a feeling you will not find it possible to do so. This is the position of the Conservative Movement. Do I believe in Revelation at Sinai? Yes, I do. God entered into a relationship with the Jewish people thousands of years ago. A relationship between man and God is just like a relationship between two people: it involves conversation and dialog, and it grows and changes because the participants do not remain the same. The nature of our relationship with God has changed because we have changed and we believe God has always been aware of this since He entered into that relationship. Jews have long had a metaphor that envisions God as a father or a parent. Just like a parents and children do not relate to each other in the same way from infancy through adulthood, God and the Jewish people continue to adapt to each other because we are committed to each other. I personally believe that this idea of relationship has existed in Jewish tradition for a long time. Don’t we say that it took seven weeks to get from Egypt to Sinai because the ragtag group of impure slaves needed the time to become a real nation worthy of receiving the Torah? There was a time before God would enter into a relationship with us and we needed to grow before we were ready. We didn’t stop growing at Sinai, but rather were just at the beginning. So GAW, the answers to your questions are a definite YES, but a nuanced YES as well.

    So Right,

    Your question about abortion is tricky because I’m not sure what you are asking or with what opinion on the subject you are asking it with. “Abortion on Demand” is not a Jewish idea, it’s an American one. Our Halachik sources make it very clear that abortion is not murder and forbidden to begin with. The Mishnah in Ohalot permits it in a case where the mother is in danger and Rambam justifies this by saying that the fetus is a Rodef. Given this position, I see no reason to say that abortion is Assur. If you’re asking if abortion should be used as birth control, I would say no. To do so is an act of extreme irresponsibility. I find it necessary to defend abortion in American law because the people who want to make it illegal want to do so in all cases. This would lead to the death of women; Jewish as well as non-Jewish ones. This isn’t an acceptable outcome.

    Is it ok to be gay? You mention orientation as opposed to act. I don’t know what it means to have a gay orientation because I don’t have one. I don’t know what people like that go through, but I do know that we are obligated to treat them with the same level of respect with which we treat other people. Many people say people say this, but few live it. Would I perform a gay marriage? I’ve never been asked and probably not. Would I fight for their rights under American law? I haven’t been involved with this, but if push came to shove I probably would because they deserve the same tax benefits, medical benefits, legal status, etc as a man and woman who have committed to each other in a permanent way.

    Can woman be rabbis? Yes. Even in the most recent events surrounding this topic in Orthodoxy, no rabbi came up with a valid Halachic reason why not. Is it the way Orthodoxy does things? No Although I disagree, I feel no need to ask you to conform to me. Then again, I’m not an Orthodox woman who deeply desires to be a Jewish religious leader.

    AinOhdMilvado,

    Given what I know of the Committee of Jewish Law and Standards, I do not see any way that it will change the definition of Jewishness to include paternal descent. Regarding how it does operate, it is no different from how Jewish religious leaders have made Halachic decisions in the past. The individual members make arguments based on their reading of traditional sources. Conservative Jews are under no obligation to accept everything the Committee says and you certainly do not have one. That is the same way Jewish law has always worked. An Ashkenazic Jew in the 1200’s had no obligation to accept the rulings of the Rashba in Barcelona. The idea of a universal Posek is unheard of in Jewish legal history. Our Teshuvot simply provide people with more than one way to read Jewish texts.

    Ben Torah,

    I clearly do not accept Rav Moshe’s psak on this issue and I find many of his writings about COnservative Jews to have been written in a mean-spirited way and without real knowledge of what goes on in our movement. This does not take away from his genius or his knowledge of Torah. It just means that, as I said above, I am not obligated to accept his rulings.

    I believe that answers most of the questions directed at me, I’m choosing to ignore the nasty gratuitous comments. I read this forum regularly because it gives me insight into a Jewish community of which I am not a part. I hope you will take the time to read what I have written.

  • #755222

    hudi
    Member

    To answer your first question. Generally speaking, I think that many conservative jews are indeed jewish, because they have stronger identity with Judaism that the reform movement. I don’t want to lump all conservative people together or all reform people together, or the two groups together because there are exceptions.

    I think that the conservative movement and the reform movement are both wrong. You can’t say that one is wronger than the other because this is black and white halacha (jewish law). You are either wrong or right. There is no in between state or justifications allowed.

    To cynical – I’m sure you can sense the frustration on this forum. Orthodox Jews just don’t understand how Jews in 19th century Germany could decide that the truest religion in the world that had been practiced the same way for 1500+ years could be considered wrong and irrelevant to being a Jew. These people wanted a Jewish culture, without a mention of God. And sadly, they succeeded to an extent by mere means of justification. They twisted our precious heritage and turned it into watered down soup. And people went after them – there was a tremendous urge to follow them. The conservative and reform today are innocent victims of their parent’s missteps on the wrong path. We call them “babies that were captured” – children that were taken during war and never knew their parent’s way of life. It is just so frustrating and saddening and maddening that something like this could happen.

  • #755223

    Midwest2
    Member

    There seem to be three questions here:

    1. To what extent can we lump Reform and Conservative together? Answer: no way. I used to be Conservative. Conservatives by and large respect halacha, just don’t keep it. Reform are another story entirely. The whole point of Reform was to reject halacha and being separate from mainstream society, i.e. radical assimilationists.

    @. Are most Jews in non-Orthodox circles halachically Jewish? Depends. Conservative, probably still the majority, but better check. Reform – iffy – the real assimilationists drop out after a generation or two, but there are plenty of intermarriages. So – better check for sure. Non-affiliated? Anything goes. Check back three generations.

    3. Conversions. By Orthodox standards Conservative conversions can’t be al pi halacha because if nothing else the witnesses aren’t shomer Shabbos and therefore aren’t kosher. Of course, the converts themselves are usually sincere, just ignorant. Conservative converts tend to be fairly well educated. Reform conversion classes seem to be a joke. BTW Conservative rabbis might get a little frustrated, because most serious Conservative converts eventually go on to convert and practice Orthodox. I know one person who went through four conversions – Reform, Conservative, Modern Orthodox and Hareidi. For those FFBs who think so highly of themselves, would YOU have had the mesiras nefesh to do this? I feel privileged to know this person.

    The bottom line: NEVER put ANYONE down. No one gets consigned to any junkyard here. You can’t be oiver ahavas Yisroel (including Reform and unaffiliated) and get away with it long-term. And for non-Jews you have to have kavod habrios. HaShem has plans for us all – Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, non-Jew. So let’s stop name-calling and start working on doing our job.

  • #755224

    charliehall
    Member

    Many poskim disagree with this and would require the couple to go throught an Orthodox divorce prior to remarriage. Rov Soloveitchik z’tz’l even required a woman married by a Reform rabbi to a Reform convert to have him write a get before an Orthodox beit din.

  • #755225

    charliehall
    Member

    “No conservative or reform convert intends to accept the 613 mitzvos, thus they are all invalid. No conservative and reform convert intends to keep Shabbos (i.e. not drive, no making fires, opening electricity, etc.) or keep the full taharas hamishpacha.”

    This is absolutely not true. I know many heterodox converts who wanted to keep the 613 mitzvot and therefore later had orthodox convertions.

  • #755226

    Pashuteh Yid
    Member

    Those who are lumping together the woman Rabbi issue with halachic issues are not being honest with Cynical. Please show a siman and s’if in Shulchan Oruch where it says women can’t be Rabbis. Each thing they might do has its own halachos. If it involves visiting the sick in the hospital and getting the title of Chaplain, obviously this is fine. If it involves serving as an eid in a marriage, this is not fine. If it involves making speeches in shul and teaching Torah classes, that is probably fine, as well. There have been numerous educated women such as Beruriah, and Devora, etc. who achieved high levels of learning and even served as communal leaders.

  • #755227

    apushatayid
    Participant

    Who do you think the kiruv efforts of lev lachim, oorah, you name it, are aimed at, FFBs? Why do you think its called kiruv rechokim and not a geyrus drive? These are rhetorical questions.

  • #755228

    ronrsr
    Member

    Dear helpful, they are all my brothers and sisters, regardless of whether they are Jewish or not.

  • #755229

    Helpful
    Member

    Read what the Gedolim have to say regarding these two treif movements. They dismiss them both for the same apikorsus gamur. We are not even allowed to cooperate with either of them in any way that gives them the illusion of an iota of legitimacy.

  • #755230

    so right
    Member

    cynical:

    You deftly skirted answering my pretty straightforward questions.

    Do you believe a woman whose life is in NOT in danger may choose to have an abortion?

    Do you believe it is permissible (for a Jew) to engage in gay relations?

    From your vague responses it seems your answer to both is yes.

  • #755231

    bombmaniac
    Participant

    cynical: you talk of a “changing relationship”…but essentially that’s just how you justify your watered down version of judaism. that’s not even why conservative judaism was started….here’s the thing. you make allowances here and there to prevent the complete collapse of judaism…but that doesnt seem to be working because your numbers are dwindling. you look through the torah (shebichsav and ball peh) for loopholes that you can twist to suit your purposes and you completely disregard hashkafah in your interpretations. after all, how can you possibly allow for propoer hashkafah if your hashkafah is to disregard the mesorah of thousands of years from sinai.

    my rav was a talmid muvhak of rav moshe feinstien and has now been a posek for many years. i hold more store in him than i do in you.

    let me ask you a question cynical…do you believe that all jews should be conservative (or at least your flavour of conservative whatever that may be)? or do you acknowledge that orthodox judaism is the correct way of life and yours is just a poor attempt at compromise?

    when you perform conversions, are they required to accept all the mitzvos completely and unequivocally according to the orthodox tradition?

  • #755232

    cherrybim
    Participant

    Rabbi Saul Lieberman, who was a talmud of Slabodke and the top Talmud professor at JTS, had a six page serious t’shuva on why women rabbis were assur. JTS followed his ruling until his death; after which, their policy changed. As a result, there were many defections and a new movement and seminar was created by those who left, i.e., Halivne Weiss and Roth.

  • #755233

    Darchei Noam
    Member

    Why do you bother bomb? The leaders of Torah Jewry have long and consistently stated these clergymen of these two false religions are reshoyim. Period. End of discussion.

  • #755234

    cynical
    Member

    A lot more to answer, but not enough time before Shabbos.

    Just a few quick comments.

    bombmaniac,

    I do not believe that all Jews should be any flavor of Conservative or any one style of Judaism and I wouldn’t ask them to be. I acknowledge the Orthodox Judaism is A correct way to practice Judaism, not THE correct way (What do you mean by Orthodox Judaism anyway? You talk like there is only one type of person who falls under the umbrella of Orthodoxy). No, I do not ask my converts to follow law as understood by Orthodox Judaism. Why would I? I’m glad you have more store in your Rov than in me, that’s why he’s your Rov.

    CHerrybim,

    Rabbi Joel Roth is most certainly active in the Conservative Movement and is still doing a wonderful job teaching future rabbis and others.

    Darchei Noam,

    Clearly you disprove the idea of Keshmo Ken Hu. Comments like yours and the leaders you mention are a major reason why there is so much Sinat Chinam among the Jewish people. Look at this forum – You’re making comments like that, I’m not. Which one of us is keeping Mashiach away? Think that over.

    A Good Shabbos to all!

  • #755235

    apushatayid
    Participant

    Darchei Noam. whatever the gedolim may or may not say about the clergy, they dont call them separate religions. They also said these things about the clergy 50-60 years ago, because those clergy grew up as FFBs. Why do these very same gedolim endorse organizations such as Aish, Oorah, Lev Lachim and the myriad of “KIRUV” (not GIYUR) organizations? Why do yeshivos send bachurim out to the hinterlands of yiddishkeit every summer under Project SEED. To seek converts to judaism? Surely there are halachic problems with the “jewish status” of lots and lots of people who identify themselves as Jewish, at the same time, to simply write them off as Jews? Reshoim? Thats anything BUT Darchei Noam.

  • #755236

    so right
    Member

    cynical, After skirting in your answers to my previous inquiry above, it is telling that you chose to ignore my follow-up asking you to clarify your anti-Torah positions.

  • #755237

    Darchei Noam
    Member

    apushatayid:

    The Gedolim themselves refer to them as reshoyim. And they have also clearly and unequivocally stated that they are not practicing any form of Judaism. Don’t shoot the messenger here.

    There is no stira about the kiruv work. We should also try to be mekarev a Yid who became a Christian.

  • #755238

    cherrybim
    Participant

    cynical – My error concerning Roth; I haven’t looked at the t’shuva for many years so all names escape me now. I have the t’shuva buried in my files and I can get it if your interested. I have a feeling though that you could probably guess the names of the five or six JTS professors who asked the shaila of professor Lieberman.

  • #755239

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    Do you believe a woman whose life is in NOT in danger may choose to have an abortion?

    A friend was given a heter to have a late term abortion. Her child had some massive heart and valve problems that would not have allowed the child to live more than a few minutes. The Rabbi told her it was better for her to abort. It was not easy for her to listen to the psak, but she did. [this psak was from an Orthodox Rabbi and her life was not in danger]

  • #755240

    tzippi
    Member

    Hey Cynical, my hand’s still raised! 😉

    I will accept that there is a segment of Conservative clergy and laity committed to Jewish observance and learning. Regrettably, this is not as widespread as you may like. In fact, here in my out of town community, there’s a lot of blurring of the lines between Conservative and Reform, in youth groups, shared services, etc.

    Here’s also something for you to comment on, if you could:

    Many if not most non-Orthodox Jews are such because their (great)grandparents succumbed and stopped observing Shabbos. (And it is clear that it is impossible for us to judge them. There was widespread Jewish illiteracy, starvation, missionizing and much more that we can’t imagine.) These grandchildren now are conservative, reform, reconstructionist, etc. if still identifying Jewishly.

    (There is a population, probably boomer-age, who may have abandoned Orthodoxy, probably in college, probably because they didn’t have the strongest Jewish identity or had very uninspired and uninspiring teachers.)

    But AFAI can tell, this is where the non-Orthodox population comes from, not from any contemporary mass movement from the Orthodox.

    I see middle aged people whose parents were traditional and Conservative, they themselves will not mix meat and dairy and will only buy kosher meat, but their kids aren’t continuing. I’ll bet you see this all the time; I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. How can people maintain their own level of non-Orthodox and observance and see it carry over? Does it require a level of exclusivity, not eating in other people’s homes, etc.? You’re right, I don’t have too much interaction with non-Orthodox people, and I’m intrigued by the nuts and bolts of life.

    I could go on but I have to get ready for Shabbos myself. Gut Shabbos.

  • #755241

    so right
    Member

    So make the question, does he support a Jewish woman’s “right” to “choose” an abortion when the mother’s or babies life or health is not in danger.

    I don’t think it will change cynical’s answer (or lack thereof).

    (And lets not forget the homosexual activity permissibility question.)

  • #755242

    apushatayid
    Participant

    “We should also try to be mekarev a Yid who became a Christian.”

    Can we answer the question of the OP in the affirmative, based on your own words?

    I can shoot the messenger if he distorts the message he is bringing (which nobody asked you to bring, btw). The term Reshaim was applied to those who grew up frum, knew better, and STILL joined those movements. Hardly the same as referring to a 7 year old Conservative boy as a rasha, which you did, whether you meant to or not. When you (not you specifically) use a broad brush and talk in generalizations, you say things that you may not have intended.

  • #755243

    philosopher
    Participant

    cynical, I’d love to post a very long rebuttal to your comments, however, I don’t have the time. Suffice to say,that NOT ALL the Conservative “Rabbis” or laymen believe that the Torah is divine, that Hashem really gave it to us at Mt. Sinai. Nor do they pratcice true halacha. For example, in case you don’t know yet, a bunch of CONSERVATIVE Rabbis are giving sholom bayis classes for intermarried couples. There are numerous of such instances of blatant disregard for halacha, because as you described that our relationship with Hashem changes, so part of that belief is that some halachas can be disgarded, or changed, as time necessitates, because that is part of that changing relationship.

    Maybe your opinion of the Conservative belief of a changing relationship with Hashem does not mean that we disregard some halachas because the relationship doesn’t necessitate it. If so, then please define what your (your own)Conservative ideoligy belief regarding our relationship with Hashem in todays’ generation. What do you mean with “our relationship keeps on changing”?

    What is your opinion of Mesorah and minhugim? There’s where the slippery slope starts, btw, in case you didn’t realize, as Judaism becomes a PERSONAL interpretation of our own ideoligies and opinions (of course with those ideas changing in every generation).

    And cynical, disagreeing with you is NOT sinas and is NOT keeping Moshiach away.

  • #755244

    philosopher
    Participant

    There have been numerous instances of BT’s or their children finding out problems regarding if they are 100% halachic Jews or not. I have been saying for the longest time that it’s a big mistake to have this massive BT movement in America (as of today, the Israeli scene is totally different and the BT movement there should be encouraged). I say we should work on ourselves to be better Jews and be a light unto the nations through our behavior. Non religious Jews who want to become frum should know clearly how they are truly Jewish, not assume so.

    I am not saying this because I feel callous towards all our Jewish brethren who don’t have the Torah to guide them. I am saying this because I beleive that we CANNOT KNOW, in this 21st generation, who is truly a Jew or not, unless each case is totally investigated and you cannot do that by casting out a net (be it on campus or the streets of Manhattan) and catching every fish that swims through.

  • #755245

    cynical
    Member

    I promise that I will answer more comments after Shabbos, I’m not ignoring anyone.

    Philosopher – you are 100% right that disagreement is not Sinat Chinam. Take for example an American Jew who waits six hours between meat and milk. When he disagrees with a Dutch Jew who waits one hour, that is a difference of opinion and practice, not Sinat Chinam. When the American calls the Dutchman a Rasha or tells him that he is practicing a fake religion or anything like that – then it is Sinat Chinam.

  • #755246

    theprof1
    Participant

    We don’t have to argue with Cynical about which particular halocho he holds or doesn’t or which the Official Conservative poition holds what. Go into the Official Conservative website and go to their Halacho Council which “decides” what the halochos should be or how to change them. Sure they all believe in 613 mitzvos. Of course there is a mitzva of Zochor es yom hashabbos and an lav of Shomor es yom hashabbos. But if you’re going to a Yankees game at 6:30 Friday night in August, then it’s not so bad if you drive back home (shomor)or you don’t make kiddush (zochor) or your wife lights candles at 11:30 PM Friday night. Hey Cynical, please tell me I’m not right. But if you do, I will call you a liar because that is the official position of the Conservative movement. Maybe it’s not your official position but it is theirs. And I can always say, nesei sefer vo’nechse. Let’s go look it up in your Halocho Council’s announcements of “psak halocho”. Rough estimate please Rabbi Cynical, how many Conservative males above 13 wear tefilin every day, every day, not just sometimes. How many females practice taharas ha’mishpocho. And you say of course we believe in 613 mitzvos. I’m not getting into any discussions about abortion beliefs or conversion practices. My examples/questions are mainstream yiddishkeit issues. Can you honestly call yourself even Traditional if you don’t put on tefilin each and every day? Are you traditional if your wife never goes to the mikva? No sir, you are not traditional. And if you don’t keep these 2 mitzvos, nor are you “quite” shomer shabbos, then what are you? Being an avid fan of ahavas yisroel is really great but that alone doesn’t make you a traditional Jew.

  • #755247

    tzippi
    Member

    Cynical, re the waiting between meat and dairy: true, but THEY BOTH WAIT. There is no disagreement over the need to wait, based on the source.

    In most cases of difference in opinion it is a matter of nuance. We might say Baruch she’amar before Hodu, but we can still easily daven in a shul that does not follow our nusach.

    There are numerous, numerous such examples.

  • #755248

    theprof1
    Participant

    The “official” Conservative position on halocho is that we, meaning “rabbis” in the year 5771/2010, can change halocho because they allege that Rabbi Akiva and colleagues were able to. As they say in yiddish, sheine tzu shtel. The Rabbinical Assembly has a council of 25 voting rabbis who can change halocho, and they do. 5 non-voting lay members and 1 non-voting cantor. I have this strange feeling that if Chazzan Helfgott, arguably quite an outstanding cantor, an avowed Gerrer chosid (wears full Gerrer regalia always) would come to the rebbe and say that he thinks we should change the “minhag” (sic) of not watching TV on shabbos if it goes on with a clock, the rebbe may likely throw him out. But in the Rabbinical Assembly they listen to that cantor as a man of serious learning and knowledge. Hey, maybe he is. Rabbi Cynical keeps on saying that they uphold halocho. Yeah sure, but whose definition of halocho, Shulchan Orech authored by the Beis Yosef and annotated by Shach, Taz, Bach, Mogen Avrohom et al. Or the definition as promulgated by the Rabbinical Assembly.

  • #755249

    QuestionForYou
    Participant

    Here’s the bottom line:

    Conservative, Reform, and Reconstructionist “Judaism” are not Judaism. They violate the Torah. They are different religions.

    Therefore, their “Rabbis” are not Rabbis. Their “conversions” are not conversions and are invalid.

    Please see:

    http://truejews.org/Igud_Historic_Declaration.htm

    A Jew is defined only by one of the following:

    1) Someone descended matrilineally from our forefather Yaakov.

    2) Someone descended matrilineally from a female who has undergone a Kosher conversion to Judaism.

    3) Someone who has undergone a Kosher conversion to Judaism, which includes belief in the divine origin of the Torah and the performance of the 613 Mitzvos.

    If a Jew C”V performs a sin, he is a Jew who has given in to his Yetzer Hara and performed a sin. His status is that he is still a Jew.

    Judaism is defined as following the beliefs and rules of the Torah and performing the Mitzvos.

    Telling a Jew that he or she can eat Trayf, violate Shabbos, practice homosexuality, marry someone non-Jewish, not practice the Family Purity laws, and act and dress immodestly is not practicing Judaism.

    End of story.

  • #755250

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    I know this is *asking* for flaming, but I’ve always been a sucker for punishment.

    Many of us like to bash the Reform and Conservative movements for their lack of halachic observance. I’ll even grant that criticism for some of those people may indeed be deserved. But the vast majority of them did not grow up with (Orthodox) Torah values at all and cannot be expected to want to keep an Orthodox lifestyle. As such, I think that instead of bashing them, we should try to encourage them whenever possible.

    Example: The vast majority of my extended family is not frum. Nonetheless, they are “devout” Reform Jews. They attend their Temple every Saturday, they observe the holidays (even the “unpopular” ones like Succos & Shavuous) to some extent. They maintain *active* Jewish identities, including sending their kids (at their own expense) for Hebrew and Judaism lessons.

    Are they completely halachic in their observance? Sadly, no. Yes, they don’t keep Shabbos as you or I might. They eat non-kosher. They even go mixed dancing. I’m not saying that we should endorse or even condone such things. But we should acknowledge what they do keep and encourage them to continue doing so (and go further).

    We should be acknowledging that they maintain an active Jewish identity rather than give it up entirely and completely assimilate into the background.

    We should be acknowledging that they take the pains to sometimes eat kosher and keep at least some aspects of Shabbos and the holidays.

    We should be acknowledging that they give tzedaka to Jewish causes (even if they aren’t always Orthodox Jewish causes).

    And that’s what I do with my family. I don’t harangue them for driving to shul on Shabbos. I don’t yell at them for eating non-kosher. Instead, I tell them that it’s wonderful that they’re having a seder. I tell them that it’s fantastic that my cousin sends her kids off to Hebrew school twice a week after public school. I smile broadly when they tell me about the sukkah they built for their Temple and about their plans to use it.

    It’s easy to bash people because they aren’t as observant as you or I. And, again, I’m not saying that we have to accept or condone non-halachic acts. But I’ve always been a big believer in the concept of catching more flies with honey than with vinegar. I think that if we spent more time praising the positive rather than bashing the negative, we’d all be much better off.

    Flame away.

    The Wolf

  • #755251

    AinOhdMilvado
    Participant

    I will not engage “Cynical” in a back and forth, question and answer session. The reason? It really doesn’t matter what he thinks, and THAT is the ikar point.

    “Conservatives” THINK that THEY can make their own decisions about what halachos are important or relevant, or to what degree they are relevant. It is what we call “cafeteria Judaism”, i.e. take a stroll through the Shulchan Aruch (not that most “conservative Jews” even know what a Shulchan Aruch IS) and as you stroll through, you say “Oh, Chanukah candles, OOOH, I like that, I’ll put that on my tray, but taharas hamishpacha… THOSE are antiquate laws that don’t interest me, so I’ll just pass those by, and uhh… Shabbas? – hmm… well, yeah I like my rabbi’s sermons Saturday mornings, but I enjoy going to the movies on Saturday afternoons, so I’m NOT gonna get FANATIC about Shabbas.” –And so the stroll goes.

    “Conservative Judaism” is a diseased product of galus in general, and of American democracy in particular. American life teaches that every thing can be voted on, everything is up to YOU to decide.

    HaSh-m’s mitzvot are just THAT – MITZVOT, commandments, NOT suggestions. Yes, we have free will, but along with that free will, come CONSEQUENCES! Reward for observing the mitzvot and PUNISHMENT for NOT observing them. It is NOT that HaSh-m is saying “you have free will – keep the mitzvot, don’t keep the mitzvot, either way is fine with me, – whatever you guys wanna do, I’m OK with it.” That is NOT the way it works. But in the “conservative” world, where the opinion of “rabbi Cynical” is just as valid as that of Rav Moshe zatz”l, or even the opinion of the average (Jewishly) uneducated baal ha’bayis is as valid as that of Rav Moshe, that IS the way it works.

    And so, – we are on two completely different wavelengths, and debate is futile.

    Do I hate “conservative” Jews? NOT AT ALL. I am terribly sad and sick over this galus disease that has claimed so many of our brothers and sisters, and will continue, HaSh-m yirachaiym, to claim many more as their intermarriage rates continue to soar. The only answer (in our human hands) is kiruv, – not debate.

  • #755252

    QuestionForYou
    Participant

    Cynical writes:

    “Would I perform a gay marriage? I’ve never been asked and probably not. Would I fight for their rights under American law? I haven’t been involved with this, but if push came to shove, I probably would because they deserve the same tax benefits, medical benefits, legal status, etc as a man and woman who have committed to each other in a permanent way.”

    You “probably” wouldn’t perform a gay “marriage” ? Probably?! How are you going to decide whether or not you are going to perform a gay “marriage” ? Flip a coin?

    You would fight for the rights of gay “marriage” ?

    The practice of homosexuality is considered an abomination by the Torah.

    And then you wonder why Conservative “Judaism” is not considered Judaism and why its “Rabbis” are not considered Rabbis, and why it’s “lumped” together with Reform “Judaism” ?

  • #755253

    not I
    Member

    These days the reform, conservative marry anyone. Mamzer, eishes ish (due to lack of kosher get)

    How would their children be Jewish then. They make invalid conversions and basically hold by a few of the mitzvos..

  • #755254

    Jose
    Member

    SOmehow, I think the original intention of this thread got lost.

    the question is, can we be certain that people identifying as reform or conservative are actually jewish based on the level of intermarriage and non kosher conversions. Has the “rov” been lost.

    This has nothing to do with looking down on them or loving or hating them, it is trying to determine whather they are factually jewish based on the Torah. Loving them or not will not change the factual status.

  • #755255

    Without reading any responses to the original post first, I think it is a very sad question. It’s not up for debate. Being Jewish is a factual thing: You were either born Jewish (to a jewish mother) or converted halachacilly… If you live a Torah life – is up for questioning… You cannot “decide” to become unJewish. (Based on his actions a person may lose is chelek in Olam Haba, maybe even Olam Hazeh too…) but the fact that he is Jewish – how’s that a question?

  • #755256

    Darchei Noam
    Member

    apushatayid: “The term Reshaim was applied to those who grew up frum, knew better, and STILL joined those movements.”

    So I don’t see what we are arguing about. My actual comment was about their clergymen, not 7 year olds. And by your own words, you agree the movement itself is rishus, but its just a question whether the adherent knew that or was unaware.

  • #755257

    squeak
    Participant

    Wolf, I’ve got your back on this one.

    I personally know many non-Orthodox Jews, including Conservative, Reform, and unaffiliated. Many are married to non-Jews. None were raised in Orthodox homes. As far as I can tell, they are continuing to practice the same brand of Judaism that they were raised in.

    Are they shomer Torah u’mitzvos? Not a one. And with the exception of the Conservatives, they know it. One of the Reform jews I know introduced us once to a non jewish person and said, “We’re both Jewish, but ‘squeak’ is a real jew”. (Note: not that I agree with the implications of the words “real jew”; he’s as real and as jewish as I am, but what he meant was obvious to both of us.) The unaffiliated ones are comfortable with knowing (and asking) about any and everything, and doing nothing. Because that is how they were raised.

    OTOH, when I’m speaking to the Conservative, he speaks with the sense of being on the same plane, religiously, with me. Whether it’s about a Succah, Torah reading, Bar Mitzva, wedding (chupa)- his perspective is that our ceremonies may be different but not our level of observance. Again, this is no doubt how he was raised.

    If I were trying to bridge the gap, or at least keep the chasm from widening, I would not be focusing on the lack of observance of the people I am dealing with. Instead, I would focus on the inner strength they all show by stubbornly clinging to the beliefs and practices that were instilled in them by those they trusted most. Just as Orthodox jews stubbornly cling to theirs.

  • #755258

    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    Wolf:

    I don’t bash the people, the one’s I know are very nice people. I strongly would bash the leaders and the movement. I say “would”, because there I have no purpose in doing so.

  • #755259

    ulaynomar
    Member

    ??”? ????? ??? ???? ??? ??? ? ???? ??

    ??? ??”? ????? ???? ????? ???? ?”?, ???????? ??????????????? ????? ??? ????? ?? ??? ??? ?????? ???? ???? ??? ???? ?????? ????? ???? ?? ?? ??? ?????? ?????? ??? ???? ???? ?? ????? ?????? ??? ???? ??? ???? ?????. ??? ?? ?”? ?? ??????????????? ?? ?????? ??”? ??? ?????? ????? ????? ??? ??????? ?? ??? ?????. ???? ???”? ??’ ?’ ???’ ?’ ????? ??”? ??? ???”? ??? ????? ????? ???? ???? ??? ???? ?????. ??? ??? ????? ??????? ?? ??? ??????? ???????? ??? ??? ????? ???? ?????? ??? ???? ???? ??? ??? ??? ????? ????????????? ???? ??? ????? ????? ????? ??????? ??????? ????? ??????, ???? ????? ?????? ??? ?????? ?????? ???? ?? ??? ???? ???? ???? ?? ?????? ???? ???? ????? ???? ?????? ???. ???? ???? ???? ????? ???? ?????? ?? ??????????????? ????.

  • #755260

    Sacrilege
    Member

    I think its so much easier to condemn someone than to try and help them.

    Why arent Reform and Conservative on the same level as Unaffiliated, because they have some messed up sense of Religion?

  • #755261

    cynical
    Member

    Shavua Tov to one and all!

    Many of you seem to be confused about the nature of the Committee of Jewish Law and Standards (CJLS). It does not serve the function of a chief rabbi or rov that makes Psak Halacha. The CJLS debates Teshuvot written by its members on issues of Jewish law. After the discussion/debate, the Teshuva is put to a vote and if it garners the required number of votes it becomes an officially recognized position of the Conservative Movement. These positions are not forced on anyone and simply exist to provide Conservative rabbis with multiple ways to look at issues that are likely to arise. Rabbis who step outside the bounds of what the CJLS has deemed appropriate are disciplined and risk losing their membership in the Rabbinical Assembly. A cantor sits on the committee because he is more likely to be an expert in Jewish liturgy and synagogue practice; areas that are certainly important to Halakhic debate. The lay people sit on the committee because they can inform the rabbis of what the Jews in the pews are doing and how they feel. Lay input has always been important in Halakhic decision making because rabbis are not supposed to pass Takanot or interpret Halakha in a way that will be impossible for their followers to carry out. I suggest you take a look at some of the Teshuvot that the CJLS has approved: http://www.rabbinicalassembly.org/law/teshuvot_public.html

    You will not find many of the things people on this forum are saying on that site, instead you will find learned discourses on pertinent issues of Halakha that cite legal literature ranging from the Torah to modern day poskim (Orthodox ones!).

    The CJLS has never abrogated Shabbat, Kashrut, Taharat Mishpacha, or anything else. As rabbis, we are greatly saddened that greater numbers in our communities are not observant as we would like them to be and we take much responsibility for that situation. For example, the (misquoted above) Teshuva about driving on Shabbos was passed in the early 20th century and we know it is weak on Halakhic grounds. It is a reflection of the time when it was written, a time when it looked like people would live to far away from synagogues to attend and it condoned driving ONLY to the synagogue, but nowhere else. Orthodox rabbis from that time period were also known to turn a blind eye or condone many activities that today you would not approve of, because they were just as desperate to keep people Jewishly involved. I still have very little problem saying that someone who drives only to shul is Shomer Shabbos, but unfortunately people will justify all sorts of things by saying “The Conservative Movements permits driving on Shabbos.”

    A “galus disease”? I don’t remember which of you wrote that. I really do hate using the “Sinat Chinam card” but do you really listen to what you are saying? Come on.

    Gays and gay marriage? Are homosexual acts permitted by the Torah and rabbinic Judaism? Clearly not. Would I stand up on a soapbox and lecture people? No, not only would I look like a fool, but people wouldn’t listen and I would turn them off to Judaism even more. Would I perform Kiddushin for a homosexual couple? No, I don’t think that’s what Jewish law defines as a marriage. I might be able to be convinced to perform some kind of Jewishly influenced commitment ceremony without the word marriage attached.

    I have no interest in any of you becoming Conservative Jews. What I am very interested in respect and friendship between different kinds of Jews. I want to work with the Orthodox shul a block away from mine on joint Kiddushes after services. I want to have joint Bet Midrash learning programs. I’d like our kids to play together in the same Shomer Shabbat sports leagues. I’d like to stand together with all the local rabbis, not just the Reform ones when it comes to Jewish issues like Israel or days off for our holidays in public school. Does that sound so bad to you? From the tenor of your comments, I would guess it does.

    If I’ve left anything unanswered, please remind me.

    Kol Tuv!

  • #755262

    rebdoniel
    Member

    The Conservative Movement is one of the great fallacies of our time. The CLJS is a body which decides halacha according to majority rule, and many policies are determined by the popular opinion of the laity. I am not duped by their overtures and flimsy justifications. That being said, however, CLJS resppnsa on non-controversial areas are generally well-written and reach conclusions we would not find objectionable. However, on anything politicized, such as those involving women’s issues, gays, driving on shabbos, etc., you will see that there is little solid evidence. For instance, the driving on shabbos teshuva is 2 pages long and includes no references whatsoever, IIRC. On issues in Orach Chaim, and similar matters, there is little objectionable material, and indeed, these reponsa can serve as a valuable wealth of English source material.

  • #755263

    nmelss
    Member

    cynical:

    1. Do YOU put on tefilin 6 days a week? Maintain full taharas hamishpacha (i.e. separation)? You have no justification to make a same gender “commitment ceremony”, when they are “committing” to violating Jewish law!

    2. Furthermore, how can you justify the abrogation of halacha (i.e. driving on Shabbos, etc.) in the name of maintaining halacha? Even if a majority of the laity will abrogate the law, that is no license to nullify it (even partially)! And surely you do not seriously expect us to provide even a modicum of recognition or respect to clergy in your movement that officially sanctions in their “responsa” violation of Jewish law (i.e. the CJLS’ accepted responsum permitted Conservative rabbis to allow homosexual union ceremonies and allowing practicing homosexuals to become rabbis). And the responsum itself being made by rabbis who openly violate Jewish law daily!

    How can you expect “joint programs” with Orthodoxy, when your movement engages in what Orthodoxy clearly holds to be outright biblical violations of Jewish law? Meaning, Orthodoxy holds you are not practicing Judaism. Are we not entitled to maintain this theological belief? And if we are, how can you expect anymore theological recognition or respect than we have for foreign religions?

    3. Lastly, considering your comments here (i.e. “greatly saddened that greater numbers in our communities are not observant”) do you believe it is “better” to be Orthodox than Conservative?

  • #755264

    so right
    Member

    cynic, by your own admission, you are converting people who do not accept Judaism as demanded under Jewish law, per Orthodox standards. That being the case, your movement has many members that are considered to be gentiles under Jewish law, per Orthodoxy. (And others are considered to be mamzeirim under Jewish law, per Orthodoxy, for their birth in a remarriage following a non-kosher divorce.) Thus, you must understand the utter incompatibility and irreconcilableness between your practices and Orthodoxy.

  • #755265

    tzippi
    Member

    Not sure if my post went through, sorry.

    Cyncical, you say that you “have very little problem saying that someone who drives to shul is still Shomer Shabbos.” Do you understand why to many them’s still fightin words, as it still falls under the rubric of melacha (Dayan Grunfeld’s magnificent short work, The Sabbath, is likely not as popular as Heschel’s but important to read.) and as such should be reserved for circumstances of pikuach nefesh? Also, you may just type fast so it’s easy for you to dash off all those “I think”s or “I don’t think”s. For most of us, it’s not up to debate or our consciences.

    And to those who indict the leaders: sometime ago I read an article by a reform rabbi who became fully observant. While IN THE RABBINATE he had never heard of the concept of carrying on Shabbos. There are not many left who have any serious level of scholarship, and of those who do, the hashkafa gap is profound.

    The joint Bet medrash idea won’t work if we can’t approach the text with some basic shared fundamental premises. AND, back to an original question of mine: are the laity prepped enough with basic general knowledge and skills for it to be a mutual give and take? Because if not, and it’s a matter of the more learned teaching the other, there are already programs in place. I know of a Partners in Torah program that regularly has dozens and dozens of pairs learning together, and PiT isn’t the only such program.

    As for the baseball, I’m all for it. My kids have done that already 😉 (It’s publicized in the local Orthodox community but I don’t believe anyone’s been turned away.)

  • #755266

    minyan gal
    Member

    “people would live too far away from synagogues to attend and it condoned driving ONLY to the synagogue, but nowhere else”

    I once had a discussion with the Rabbi(Chabad) at my daughter’s shul. He told that he never asks his congregants how they get to shul on Shabbat and that he would prefer them to come, no matter how they get there. He also told me that the municipality where the shul is located received a letter from a neighbor of the shul complaining about too many cars parked on the surrounding streets on Saturdays and Jewish holidays (BTW the complainants name was Abdul) but they would never consider having the parking lot open on Shabbat. So, as far as I can see the main difference between this Chabad shul’s viewpoint and that of my Conservative shul, is the fact that the Conservative parking lot is always open.

  • #755267

    QuestionForYou
    Participant

    Cynical writes:

    “For example, the (misquoted above) Teshuva about driving on Shabbos was passed in the early 20th century, and we know it is weak on Halakhic grounds. It is a reflection of the time when it was written, a time when it looked like people would live too far away from synagogues to attend, and it condoned driving ONLY to the synagogue, but nowhere else.”

    “I still have very little problem saying that someone who drives only to shul is Shomer Shabbos.”

    So if it was a reflection of the time when it was written, and if it is no longer relevant, and if the CJLS knows that it is weak on Halakhic grounds, why doesn’t the CJLS revoke the Teshuva of allowing someone to drive to “shul” on Shabbos? How can someone who is being Mechalel Shabbos be Shomer Shabbos ?!

    “Gays and gay marriage? Are homosexual acts permitted by the Torah and rabbinic Judaism? Clearly not. Would I stand up on a soapbox and lecture people? No, not only would I look like a fool, but people wouldn’t listen, and I would turn them off to Judaism even more. Would I perform Kiddushin for a homosexual couple? No, I don’t think that’s what Jewish law defines as a marriage. I might be able to be convinced to perform some kind of Jewishly-influenced commitment ceremony without the word marriage attached.”

    You don’t want to look like a fool in front of people. You only want to look like a fool in front of G-d, who has proclaimed the practice of homosexuality as an abomination.

    How can even a “commitment ceremony” between 2 gay people be “Jewishly-influenced,” whatever that means, if Judaism prohibits the practice of homosexuality ?!

  • #755268

    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    cynical:

    I’m fascinated that you are posting here. I will refrain from commenting on your screen-name.

    I’m sorry you feel that there is not friendship and respect among the different types of Jews. However, it is clear that you will continue to think so as long as you define such friendship as us doing things which are not permitted.

    I do respect you as people and am friends with some of you.

    We do not respect or recognize your movement, organizations, temples, “rabbis”, and institutions.

    We cannot make joint kiddush with your shul, we do not recognize it as a shul and do not want to give that impression.

    We will not make joint learning programs; any of your members are welcome to join ours, though.

    There are many places in America where your kids and ours do play on the same leagues, but you cannot really expect us to allow our kids exposure to the things your kids are doing.

    Our rabbis cannot stand together with your “rabbis”, in any rabbinical function.

    I’d like to throw the disrespect question back to you. If you cannot respect our following halacha, inasmuch as it calls for a non-recognizing of your institutions, in what way do you respect us. I’m not asking you to respect our halacha, all I ask is you respect our need to follow it.

  • #755269

    tzippi
    Member

    Minyangal, the difference is that your rabbi will not consider them fully shomer Shabbos.

  • #755270

    oomis
    Member

    The question was are the Reform and Conservative, Jewish. The answer is Yes, if they are born Jews of an unquestionably Jewish mother. If the mom is not Jewish or was converted by other than Orthodox means, then the answer is no. As to the issue of whether when she was converted she lived as a frum Jew, and how that impacts her “Jewishness,” I am not a rov obviously, but I will relate what I learned. One of the things a rov is supposed to tell a prospective Ger Tzedek, to discourgae him from converting, is the following: “You can live your life as a wonderful non-Jew, and be a person worthy of Olam Haba, by following the 7 Mitzvos Bnei Noach. If you are mechallel Shabbos now, you have no aveira from it. If you eat a burger at McDonald’s, you have no aveira, NOW. But once you become a Jew al pi halacha, and do those same things that are permitted to you today, you will be considered a sinner and be liable for an onesh. So why change your status?” This thought leads me to believe that if the person would become liable after the conversion, for doing what then would be considered an aveira for him, that the conversion is absolutely valid, EVEN IF HE DOES NOT LIVE IN A FRUM WAY, otherwise, his status would revert to being a Goy, and he would therefore NOT be chayav. Am I making any sense here? And what is the actual determination? Because one could argue that ANY ger tzedek might be oveir on SOME halacha as we all might be nichshal, so would that render him a non-valid convert?

  • #755271

    cherrybim
    Participant

    minyan gal – “…the main difference between this Chabad shul’s viewpoint and that of my Conservative shul, is the fact that the Conservative parking lot is always open.”

    You are correct, considering this viewpoint and many other Chabad beliefs of today, Chabad has moved outside mainstream Orthodox halachik and hashkafic consensus.

  • #755272

    Ben Torah
    Participant

    While there are issues with Lubavitch, in fairness I think that rabbi’s attitude was not officially sanctioned by Chabad, but rather his own two cents worth.

  • #755273

    minyan gal
    Member

    Poppa bar Abba: You are very lucky to live in a community with an enormous Jewish population so that you may live your life only associating with people who are as frum as you are.

    I live in a much smaller Jewish community where on many occasions all of the Rabbis do stand together as a united front. They all sit together in a group called the Council of Rabbis. They occasionally attend each other shul’s for lectures, etc. In the city that I live in the only 2 kosher bakeries in town (certified by the OU) are open on Shabbat, the only certified kosher fishmarket also carries shellfish. In NY these things would never happen but in the “outposts” people adapt. In fact, most of the shuls in this city are located in the area where most of the Jews used to live. In the area that they live in now there are only 2 shuls – one conservative and one orthodox. The ortho shul does not have a daily minyan, so all types of Jews attend my shul for yahrzeiten. I don’t know how you might live your life if you lived in a community like I do – do you? Don’t tell me that I don’t respect your halacha or your lifestyle – I do and I admire you for it. I just ask that you respect the way that I choose to live my life, as well. After all, if there were no conservative shuls a great number of those people would choose no Judaism at all rather than a frum lifestyle – then they would be lost forever. My personal view is (as a religious conservative Jew) that my daily attendance at shul and ongoing Torah study makes me as good a Jew as many orthodox and better than a lot because, after all, a good number who identify themselves as orthodox are what we call “3 day a year Jews”. So, is it better to go 3 times a year and call yourself orthodox or be there every Shabbat and Yomtov and call yourself conservative? It is a rhetorical question because people will do what is most comfortable for them.

  • #755274

    apushatayid
    Participant

    Darchei, we disagree on a lot more than we agree on. I’ll leave it at that. My original comment to this thread stands.

  • #755275

    cherrybim
    Participant

    Ben Torah, I wish you were right but I’m not no sure. Enough said ’cause anymore will be censored.

  • #755276

    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    minyan gal:

    It is prohibited for any rabbi to serve on a council of rabbis where conservative rabbis are included.

    This is accepted throughout Orthodoxy, and agreed to by Rav JB Soloveichik, so it is accepted by YU as well.

    If I lived in a community with only a conservative shul, I would not attend. My Judaism is about what G-d wants, not about what is comfortable to me. I believe that G-d would rather me stay home.

    I don’t think you are a bad person. I’m sorry if you think I do. I think you have been misled. I do disrespect those who mislead you.

    Again, all I ask is you to understand the rules which bind me, and how I cannot recognize your movement.

  • #755277

    Helpful
    Member

    The fact is, the Conservative movement is simply an offshoot of the Reform movement, begining with Zecharias Frankel and Sabato Morais, both Conservative founders originally from the Reform.

  • #755278

    twisted
    Member

    cyincal: you are the proof to kishmo ken hu. There is a great logical distance between the Ashkenazic Jew 1200 vs the Rashba, and you not accepting the psak of Rav Moshe ztk’l. The Jew in Ashkenaz may have had no access to the Rashba, or he may have been under the achrayut of Chachmei ashkenaz. YOU presumably knew of Rav Moshe, has access to his teshuva, could have contacted him, and had NO OTHER HIGHER AUTHORITY. And you are a very little fish in a very big pond to be casting aspersion (“mean spirited”) on the quality of his psak. Do you mean to say the tshuva was contaminated by personal emotion?!!! See Rambam Hilchot Teshuva 3;8 regarding those who have no olam haba. Or is the Ramban too mean spirited to be relevant to you and yours.

    yours truly,

    koma/amok/twisted,

    nicely recovering from a

    conservative youth.

  • #755279

    twisted
    Member

    “The CLJS has never abrogated Shabbos Kashruth, Taharat Hamishpacha …. As Rabbis we are greatly saddened…” and we take resposibility. Indeed, your responsibility is frightening. Did you ever attempt to introduce the adherence to Shabat Kashrut an Taharat Mishpacha? And if not, why not. Is your sole function to validate the secular lifestyle and assimilation of your flock? Is Judaism limited to what goes on in the confines of the synagogue? That would explain the parking lot, but little else. You and your colleagues are guilty of mesit umediah by ommission. I will now go wretch.

  • #755280

    QuestionForYou
    Participant

    Here’s are some examples of some of the Teshuvos of Conservative “Judaism:”

    “May Women Tie Tzitzis Knots?” by “Rabbi” Shoshana Gelfand.

    “Regarding the Inclusion of the Names of the Matriarchs in the First Blessing of the Amidah.”

    That’s right. Let’s take the Shmoneh Esray, which was composed by the divine inspiration of the Anshay Knesses HaGedolah, and let’s change it.

    “May an avowed Atheist serve as a Shliach Tzibur?”

    “A member of the congregation, who is somewhat observant of the Shabbat and Festivals, but who is an avowed atheist, enjoys leading the congregation in prayer. May an avowed atheist serve as a Shliach Tzibur?”

    Is anyone laughing (or crying) yet?

    Ok, folks. Let’s vote on this one.

    “Should Nesias Kapayim include Bnos Kohanim?”

    “The Status of Daughters of Kohanim and Leviyim for Aliyos.”

    “Aliyos for Couples.”

    “Placing Homosexual Rabbis in Congregations.”

    “An avowed homosexual who is a member of the Rabbinical Assembly has asked that his name be sent by the Joint Placement Commission for rabbinic placement to congregations. May the Joint Placement Commission place such a rabbi in a congregation?”

    Ok, folks. Let’s vote on this one, too!

    “The Committee on Jewish Law and Standards (CJLS) of the Rabbinical Assembly provides guidance in matters of halakhah for the Conservative movement. The individual rabbi, however, is the authority for the interpretation and application for all matters of halakhah.”

    So the CJLS decides halakhah by vote. But if the individual rabbi disagrees with the CJLS, he can interpret as he pleases!

    So, Conservative “Judaism” follows Halachah? Whose Halachah does it follow?

  • #755281

    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    Well, since we seem to like the Conservative “teshuvos”, I’ll tell over a good one.

    The question was: Do the Conservative recognize Reform conversion?

    This was a loaded question. If the answer is no, they would lose their complaint against the Orthodox for not recognizing them. If the answer is yes, they are admitting that they do not follow halacha, since the Reform do not even claim to be following halacha.

    They answered: Reform conversion is meaningless, but, Reform converts are Jewish.

    They addressed the contradiction by pointing to the gemara in Yevamos, Perek 2, where Beis Hillel and Beis Shamai argue about the status of a tzara erva. It came out according to Beis Hillel, that some of Beis shamai’s families were mamzerim, and accoridng to Beis shamai, some of Beis Hillel’s families were “pagum”. Nevertheless, the gemara says that they used to marry from each other’s families.

    The conservative “poskim” pointed to this as proof that even if someone else has an invalid belief, we still accept the results of their action.

    They then noted that Rashi states that Beis Hillel and Shamai would tell the others which families were forbidden to them, and they would marry accordingly. However, the conservative stated that the gemara could also be read not like Rashi.

    Actually, it is the gemara which says that they would warn each other which families not to marry.

    Isn’t that interesting?

  • #755282

    cynical
    Member

    I read and post on this forum because I have a great deal of respect and admiration for Orthodoxy and what it has accomplished in America. I attended Orthodox Yeshiva high school and have spent plenty of time in that world. In addition, my grandfather A”H was an Orthodox rabbi who was one of the most devout Jews I have ever known. While he would never take an ALiyah in a Conservative synagogue, he treated all Jews the same way and would have an intelligent and serious conversation with anyone. He knew Gemara inside and out, but could also talk authoritatively on modern biblical studies and American history (in which he had a doctorate). It was a beautiful form of Orthodoxy and one which is harder and harder to find. He was one of my inspirations for becoming a rabbi and I am saddened that his Judaism is disappearing.

    For those of you who felt the need to knock the CJLS teshuvot, I would suggest you actually read them. Out of curiosity, why exactly would you say a woman can’t tie tzitzit knots?

    Regarding serving with other rabbis – You will not find this universally accepted in Orthodoxy. In fact, Rav Soloveitchik who you mentioned, famously worked with Rabbi Saul Lieberman on forming a joint Beit Din for issuing Gittin. Sadly, their efforts fell through, but the effort was there.

    I’ve decided that I will no longer be posting on this thread. I am happy that I maintained a civil discourse while many of you foamed at the mouth at the mere thought of a COnservative rabbi. As with any forum, there are usually a few people who post, but many more who read. I can only hope that they were happy to see that there are other Jews out there to talk to.

    Kol Tuv

  • #755283

    question: (may not be related) but someone just told me how a chabad rabbi did a ‘conversion’ on someone that a mainstream orthodox rabbi refused to do. (She married a Jew, converted conservative or reform (not sure which) and now went to the chabad rabbi.Her husband is not frum (shomer shabbos) and neither is she. I was very surprised by this. Apparently chabad is more lenient? is this true? (

  • #755284

    charliehall
    Member

    “It is prohibited for any rabbi to serve on a council of rabbis where conservative rabbis are included.

    This is accepted throughout Orthodoxy, and agreed to by Rav JB Soloveichik, so it is accepted by YU as well.”

    This not true. The Rav *permitted* participatation in such councils as long as halachic matters were not discussed.

    My own rav, received semicha from Rav Soloveitchik, once took me to a New York Board of Rabbis event where he was being honored. On the way home, he ragged on all the things they were doing that he disagreed with!

    Rabbi Henry Pereira Mendes helped found the New York Board of Rabbis in the 1880s — before The Rov or any of the rabbis who opposed him on this issue were born. (He helped found the Orthodox Union in the 1890s.) At least two orthodox rabbis currently serve as officers of the New York Board of Rabbis; at least a half dozen have served as Presidents.

    “The fact is, the Conservative movement is simply an offshoot of the Reform movement, begining with Zecharias Frankel and Sabato Morais, both Conservative founders originally from the Reform.”

    Not true regarding Morais. He was solidly orthodox and the congregation he led for almost half a century remains orthodox — it is 270 years old this year.

    “Let’s take the Shmoneh Esray, which was composed by the divine inspiration of the Anshay Knesses HaGedolah, and let’s change it.”

    Bad example. Every Jew who davens “Nusach Sfard” or “Nusach Ari” is praying a “changed” Shemoneh Esrei.

    “they would never consider having the parking lot open on Shabbat”

    There is a Young Israel shul in my neighborhood that has an open parking lot on Shabat. Doctors on call and hatzalah volunteers use it.

  • #755285

    oomis
    Member

    An avowed homosexual who is a member of the Rabbinical Assembly has asked that his name be sent by the Joint Placement Commission for rabbinic placement to congregations. May the Joint Placement Commission place such a rabbi in a congregation?”

    Is the homosexual an Orthodox Jew and is he totally celibate? If so, I fail to see a bona fide problem. If he is NOT Orthodox and/or commits the aveira of mishkav zachar, that is a different story. But if he is celibate, then he is no more immoral than a heterosexual who remains celibate. It is the ACT, not the person, that is the sin.

  • #755286

    Ben Torah
    Participant

    cynical: A) What is the intermarriage rate in your community and in the Conservative society in general? B) Why do you propose it is deep in the double-digits, yet it is around 1% (or less) in Orthodoxy?

  • #755287

    Darchei Noam
    Member

    cynical

    Being that you & your colleagues convert people who have no intention of properly maintaining the Shabbos even once (or practice homosexuality) in contradiction of Jewish law, why should you be surprised that your conversions are considered null and void under Orthodox Jewish law?

  • #755288

    Helpful
    Member

    Cynical got stumped.

    That was pretty quick I might add.

  • #755289

    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    There is a Young Israel shul in my neighborhood that has an open parking lot on Shabat. Doctors on call and hatzalah volunteers use it.

    What are you trying to say?

  • #755290

    basmelech
    Participant

    I can’t be bothered to read all the different comments on Conservatism vs. Orthodox, but, bottom line is Orthodox includes Yeshivishe, Heimishe, Litvish, Chasidish, Modern Orthodox etc because they don’t deny any of the 613 mitzvos and consider them all binding but, Conservative is mechallel Shabbos and doesn’t keep a lot of other mitzvos, like tsnius and proper kashrus and many other mitzvos so how can they consider themselves Torah true Jews. The whole basis of Yiddishkeit is Shabbos. The Torah has never changed and may not be changed just to suit the times. It always suits the times, one just has to follow the Torah and not follow his whims.

  • #755291

    QuestionForYou
    Participant

    To Cynical:

    You’re missing the point on the Teshuva on Tzitzis knots. It was put forward by “Rabbi” Shoshana Gelfand? A female Rabbi?

    The CJLS votes on issues which a Torah-observant Jew wouldn’t even consider as needing a vote. Example:

    Teshuva:

    “A member of the congregation, who is somewhat observant of the Shabbat and Festivals, but who is an avowed atheist, enjoys leading the congregation in prayer. May an avowed atheist serve as a Shliach Tzibur?”

    The laws of Shabbat and Festivals were given by G-d. The praying that one does is to G-d. The person is somewhat observant (what does that mean?) of the Shabbat and Festivals, and enjoys leading the congregation in prayer — but doesn’t believe in G-d’s existence, which is one of the 13 foundations of Judaism! The CJLS has to even discuss and take a vote on whether or not such a person may serve as Shliach Tzibur?!

    Teshuva:

    “Solemnizing the Marriage between a Kohen and a Divorcee.”

    The Torah forbids this. Yet, the CJLS takes a vote on this issue, and in the end, it votes that this is allowed, because one rabbi observes that “finding of a suitable mate is difficult, and we must accept the fact that an unequivocal condemnation of such a marriage and an unwillingness to officiate may present Judaism as arbitrary and indifferent to personal happiness and as placing legal formalisms above human values, with the result that such

    people would feel driven to leave the Synagogue and Jewish observances generally.”

    “The high intermarriage rate is of deep concern. In an instance when two Jews express their desire to marry one another, are we not beholden to remove barriers to their relationship? The high divorce rate is a reality.”

    “When a Grushah is prepared to marry a Jew, albeit a Kohen, is it appropriate for us, in this day and age, to refuse to solemnize the marriage?”

    “We, therefore, support the decision of two Jews to marry even when he is a Kohen and she is a Grushah, and a member of the Rabbinical Assembly may solemnize such marriage.”

    Yes, let’s take what the Torah says about forbidding this type of marriage, and vote to throw it away. But Cynical writes above: “The CJLS has never abrogated Shabbat, Kashrut, Taharat Mishpacha, or anything else (evidently, the ‘anything else’ doesn’t include forbidding a Kohen to marry a divorcee) . . . I still have very little problem saying that someone who drives only to shul is Shomer Shabbos.”

    Cynical also writes above:

    “The CJLS does not serve the function of a chief rabbi or rov that makes Psak Halacha. The CJLS debates Teshuvot written by its members on issues of Jewish law. After the discussion/debate, the Teshuva is put to a vote, and if it garners the required number of votes, it becomes an officially-recognized position of the Conservative Movement.”

    “The lay people sit on the committee because they can inform the rabbis of what the Jews in the pews are doing and how they feel. Lay input has always been important in Halakhic decision-making because rabbis are not supposed to pass Takanot or interpret Halakha in a way that will be impossible for their followers to carry out.”

    Yes, let’s make sure that the “rabbis” interpret halakhah only in a way that the lay people like the interpretation that the “rabbis” come up with — not necessarily in line with what is believed in the Torah. Otherwise, heaven forbid, the lay people may not want to carry it out! But wait – I thought Cynical just wrote that the CJLS does not pasken halakhah!

    From one of the Teshuvos pages:

    “The Committee on Jewish Law and Standards (CJLS) of the Rabbinical Assembly provides guidance in matters of halakhah for the Conservative movement. The individual rabbi, however, is the authority for the interpretation and application for all matters of halakhah.”

    Cynical writes:

    “These positions are not forced on anyone and simply exist to provide Conservative rabbis with multiple ways to look at issues that are likely to arise. Rabbis who step outside the bounds of what the CJLS has deemed appropriate are disciplined and risk losing their membership in the Rabbinical Assembly.”

    But if “the individual rabbi, however, is the authority for the interpretation and application for all matters of halakhah,” then how does the CJLS decide how a rabbi steps outside the bounds of what the CJLS has deemed appropriate, if the CJLS does not pasken halakhah and merely provides “guidance” ?

    Cynical wrote: “I maintained a civil discourse while many of you foamed at the mouth at the mere thought of a Conservative rabbi.”

    Whatever you wrote was “civil,” but whoever wrote objections to this non-Judaism was “foaming at the mouth.”

  • #755292

    minyan gal
    Member

    I believe that the question of the OP was are Conservative and Reform Jews considered Jewish. Somehow the response to the question has mainly been overlooked in this somewhat, heated discussion. Perhaps we can get back to the original question. Isn’t it true that a person born of a Jewish mother is Jewish regardless of their religious practice – or lack of?

  • #755293

    Helpful
    Member

    The OP specifically said that. The question is, considering all the intermarriage and invalid conversions in the Reform and Conservative movements, what percent of their membership are halachicly gentiles.

  • #755294

    so right
    Member

    Both the Reform and Conservative’s have been losing members for the last 20+ years, as a result of inter-marrieds (who are 50+% of Jews and much higher within these movements) who no longer consider themselves Jewish or at least participate in Jewish life. And even of what’s left, only a small minority of Conservative Jews are even “religious” by the little remaining definition of what constitutes being religious by their own standards.

    This is from Daniel J. Elazar of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs writing in 1991 already:

    Take the Conservative movement, until recently recognized as the largest of the non-Orthodox movements in the United States, and, as a result, probably in the world. Charles Liebman and I have calculated that there are no more than forty to fifty thousand Conservative Jews in the world who live up to the standards of observance set by the Conservative movement. This means that when the Conservative mass is left out, the movement is only the equivalent of a fair sized Hassidic sect. It may be hard to believe, but it is important to note that at the late 1984 wedding of two scions of the Satmar dynasty, the number of Jews packed into a single Long Island stadium for the nuptials equalled the whole body of authentic Conservative Jews. There are seriously committed Conservative Jews who do no live up to those standards, but who are seriously religious in some way. It is hard to estimate how many, but a generous figure would be 36 percent of the movement’s membership. Thus, at most there are 400,000 Conservative Jews in the world…

    Moreover, demographics are working for the Orthodox, since their birthrate is almost uniformly high. It has been estimated that in Israel ultra-Orthodox families are producing 5 to 10 children each, while modern Orthodox families are producing 3 to 5 each. It is likely that the same situation prevails in the Diaspora – at a time when non-Orthodox families are producing children at less than replacement level. It is said that the order of the day among ultra-Orthodox is to gain control of the Jewish community through reproduction, which is given added force by the extent of assimilation among the non-Orthodox.

    Worldwide, one finds approximately 2.5 million affiliated Conservative and Reform Jews; another 1.5 million who identify with non-Orthodox Judaism but do little or nothing in an active way to express that identity; another million-plus traditional Jews who are actively connected with Orthodox congregations but not with any movement; plus two million or more who are consciously affiliated with Orthodox institutions. Thus, there are as many affiliated Orthodox as there are movement affiliated non-Orthodox, while at least half of the group in between have not really broken with Orthodoxy, but simply do not particularly identify with it as a movement…

    Even in the United States there has been a radical shift in the situation. In raw demographics, the Orthodox may represent a mere 10 percent, more or less, of the American Jewish community. The fact remains, however, that no more than 50 percent of American Jews are affiliated at any given time with any of the institutions of Jewish life, while the Orthodox are affiliated all the time. Therefore, at the very least they represent 20 percent of the affiliated. If one goes beyond affiliation to activism, it becomes clear that Orthodox Jews represent about a third of the total of Jewish activists within the American Jewish community, a community in which they are demographically the weakest.

    These figures suggest that, as opposed to the popular image of a tiny embattled minority seeking to impose its will on the vast majority of world Jewry (the usual figures given are 15 percent versus 85 percent), Orthodox Judaism commands the allegiance of between 33 to 45 percent of all the Jews in the world and 50 to 70 percent of those who identify as religious in some way. Conversely, the non-Orthodox religious movements account for no more than one third of world Jewry and possibly as little as 25 percent. Hence, if Orthodox claims are strong, it is not only because they control all of the religious establishment outside of the United States by law or weight of tradition, but because they have the numerical strength to retain that control. It is no wonder, then, that Orthodoxy remains the dominant voice on the “Who is a Jew?” and other such issues and claims the lion’s share of Jewish public money devoted to religious purposes.

    And from another study he wrote (also in 1991):

    590,000 Ex-Jews

    Now the bad news: The survey also found that there were 590,000 people who were born or raised as Jews who now are either nothing or have another religion. About 210,000 of these told the interviewers that they had converted to another religion. This is a shocking statistic for American Jewry and for world Jewry as well. We had assumed some Jews were assimilating but not that people would say that literally they do not see themselves as Jews or that they see themselves as something else religiously.

    One possibility is that many of these people are women who have intermarried. The survey confirmed what we know from other studies, that in intermarriages Jewish women are more likely to convert to another religion than Jewish men. Apparently in many cases, the husband still sets the religious pattern for the family. If the husband is not Jewish and wants one religion in the family, then he gets his wife to convert.

    The other 380,000 of Jewish parentage or background with another religion may be examples of Milton Himmelfarb’s famous dictum which he posed as a question: “What do you call the grandchildren of intermarried Jews?” His answer: “Christians.” In American society, as a matter of course, if children are born into an intermarried family in which there is no conversion, and who are raised in neither religion, then in all likelihood they are going to marry somebody of the majority population. That person is probably going to be a member of some church and the grandchild of the Jewish partner will probably join that church. That is what happens when there is a small minority living among a large majority. It is not a deliberate act of abjuring Judaism.

    Adding the 590,000 to the 5.5 million self-defined Jews brings a total of 6.1 million Jews and ex-Jews. The parallel figure for 1970 was 5.4 million, including 200,000 ex-Jews. The number of ex-Jews has just about tripled in the last 20 years from 200,000 to 590,000, the result of the second and third generations of intermarriage.

    In addition, the survey found 2.1 million non-Jews living in households with Jews. We have already encountered this phenomenon in local community surveys. In Kansas City, for example, a survey done in the early 1980s showed that more than 1 out of 5 Jewish households included non-Jews. These may have been intermarried households in which there was no conversion. Some may have been households in which there had been an intermarriage with conversion but where the originally non-Jewish spouse brought in parents to live, or had non-Jewish children from a previous marriage.

    Some more bad news; one-third of that 2.1 million, or 700,000, are children under 18 of Jewish descent being raised in another religion.

    The Disappearance of the Traditional Jewish Family

    In looking at the present state of the American Jewish family, we see the almost total disappearance of the so-called traditional family — a married couple, both first marriages, with children — the basis upon which most Jewish institutions, especially congregations, were built. Only 14 percent of American Jews fit into that model today. There are another 15 percent who do not have children at home. Some of those are probably empty nests where the children have grown and left, and some are couples who do not yet have or are not having children. Even if we put those two figures together, less than a third of the Jewish families in the United States fit the traditional model.

    This has tremendous implications. In a Jerusalem Center study done a few years ago for the Conservative movement on the occasion of their centennial, one of the first things that we pointed out was that the Conservative movement was built on the premise of the nuclear Jewish family. Yet there were probably only two generations in the whole history of the Jewish people (or of the world, for that matter) where a nuclear family of that kind was the norm. Those happened to be the generations when the American non-Orthodox religious movements took form and built themselves around that reality. That base does not exist any more, as these figures show. The Reform movement has adjusted to it because it does not mind accepting all kinds of different family configurations, including mixed marriages or even homosexuals and lesbians. The Reform movement has been able to accommodate them within their ideological and structural framework. The Conservative movement is having a harder time, which is why the Reform movement now claims to have moved ahead of the Conservative movement in registered membership.

    That claim is not reflected in the survey. On the contrary, 41 percent of those who claim to be synagogue members indicate that they are affiliated with Conservative congregations as against 36 percent claiming Reform. It must be remembered, however, that this, too, is a subjective response, and that not all who claim to be members actually are enrolled as such.

    Intermarriage Now 50 Percent

    Over 50 percent of the Jews in the United States who have married within the last decade have intermarried. In some cases the non-Jewish partner has converted, but, as we see, in many cases they have not. Of course, since the adoption of patrilineal descent by the Reform movement there is less incentive for a non-Jewish partner in a mixed marriage to convert. Prior to that decision many would go through a Reform conversion for the sake of the Jewish side. Now many people say, why convert? They will raise their children in the Reform Temple, claim patrilineal descent, and there is no reason for conversion. Again, since males tend to determine the direction of a family’s religious affiliation, this has had a substantial impact.

    The number of Reform converts has dropped steadily since the adoption of patrilineal descent by the Reform movement. In essence, the Reform movement shot itself in the foot. This has led to some very strange situations such as the carefully worded constitution adopted by at least one Reform congregation in the Northeast which specifies that certain offices can be held by non-Jews, certain offices are reserved to Jews, and that the rabbi of the congregation must keep a register as to who is Jewish and who is not, the way the Ministry of Interior does in Israel, only using a different definition.

  • #755295

    Yitzhakb
    Member

    I do not think we will need to deal with this question in the next generation? Reform Jews will be a curiosity and conservative Jews a sect.

    Look up Google:

    Will you grandchild be Jewish?

    or go to

    http://www.simpletoremember.com/vitals/will-your-grandchild-be-jewish-chart-graph.htm

  • #755296

    charliehall
    Member

    so right,

    While the Conservative movement has been hemorraging members, the Reform movement has grown in the US over the past generation. When I used to attend a Reform synagogue, a lot of the people who showed up every Friday night were people who had grown up Orthodox; very few were non-halachic converts. The Reform movement now has hundreds more synagogues today than it did 30 years ago and many hundreds of thousands more dues paying members than do all Orthodox shuls combined. (And dues for Reform synagogues are substantially higher than for Orthodox synagogues.) Those of us in the New York area don’t see this, but in most counties in the US, if there is one synagogue, it is a Reform synagogue.

    Our triumphalism is premature.

  • #755297

    cherrybim
    Participant
  • #755298

    QuestionForYou
    Participant

    There is the definition of a Jew,

    and there is the definition of Judaism.

    Conservative, Reform, and Reconstructionist “Judaism” are not Judaism. They violate the Torah. They are different religions.

    Therefore, their “rabbis” are not Rabbis. Their “conversions” are not conversions and are invalid.

    Please see:

    http://truejews.org/Igud_Historic_Declaration.htm

    A Jew is defined only by one of the following:

    1) Someone descended matrilineally from our forefather Yaakov.

    2) Someone descended matrilineally from a female who has undergone a Kosher conversion to Judaism.

    3) Someone who has undergone a Kosher conversion to Judaism, which includes belief in G-d, belief in the divine origin of the Torah and in its Mesora down the generations, belief in the 13 fundamental principles of Judaism, belief in ALL of the Torah – both the Written and the Oral, and the belief in every single one of the 613 Mitzvos and their performance.

    If a Jew C”V performs a sin, he is a Jew who has given in to his Yetzer Hara and performed a sin. His status is that he is still a Jew. However, the performance of certain sins (which the Jew continues doing and which he does not repent of) may cause him to lose the privileges of a Jew (e.g. being counted in a Minyan), while he still retains the responsibilities of a Jew.

    Judaism is defined as following the beliefs and rules of the Torah and performing the Mitzvos.

    Telling a Jew that he or she can eat Trayf, violate Shabbos, practice homosexuality, marry someone non-Jewish, not practice the Family Purity laws, and act and dress immodestly is not practicing Judaism.

  • #755299

    Helpful
    Member

    cherrybim: Can you clarify that? I thought Lieberman was the head of the Conservative JTS.

  • #755300

    tzippi
    Member

    charliehall, how many of those filling the seats are halachic Jews? I don’t discount the well intent of many people there but the numbers don’t necessarily mean much.

  • #755302

    cherrybim
    Participant

    From Wikipedia on Saul Lieberman:

    Personal Paradox – Although deeply involved in the Seminary, Lieberman often seemed to be on the very right wing of Conservative Judaism. Personally fully observant of Halacha, he would not pray in a synagogue which did not have separate seating for men and women. Lieberman insisted that all services at the Seminary have a mechitzah even though the great majority of Conservative synagogues did not. He also frowned upon egalitarian participation by women in the Seminary synagogue services even though the Conservative movement at large was moving towards that goal.

    Biography – Born in Motal, near Pinsk, Belarus (then Russian empire), he studied at the Orthodox Yeshivot of Malch and Slobodka. While studying at the Slobodka Yeshiva, he befriended Rabbi Yitzchak Ruderman and Rabbi Yitzchak Hutner, both of whom would become leaders of great Rabbinical seminaries in America. In the 1920s he attended the University of Kiev, and, following a short stay in Palestine, continued his studies in France. In 1928 he settled in Jerusalem. He studied talmudic philology and Greek language and literature at the Hebrew University, where he was appointed lecturer in Talmud in 1931. He also taught at the Mizrachi Teachers Seminary and from 1935 was dean of the Harry Fischel Institute for Talmudic Research in Jerusalem.

    See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saul_Lieberman for the rest of an interesting bio on Saul Lieberman.

  • #755303

    hudi
    Member

    “For those of you who felt the need to knock the CJLS teshuvot, I would suggest you actually read them. Out of curiosity, why exactly would you say a woman can’t tie tzitzit knots?”

    Read them?! The suggestion!

    Women can’t tie tzizis knots because women are not supposed to participate is preparation for a mitzvos that they are not obligated in. Similarly, women cannot tie the knots for a lulav.

    Now the question is why all this supposed “discrimination” against women that they aren’t obligated to fulfill the mitzvos of tzitzis, tefillin, torah learning etc.

    The answer is simply that women have different roles than men, and require different mitzvos in order to come close to G-d. Women have the laws of ritual purity, and the mitzvah of challah, and the mitzvah of lighting candles for shabbos and festivals. Men have their mitzvos. Each mitzvah has a different affect on a person’s soul that changes the person, eventually transforming a person to greatness. Men and women are different creations, so they need different mitzvos to achieve greatness. Another answer is that the mitzvos of tefillin and tzitzis remind a person of G-d’s greatness, oneness, and rulership of the world. Women are naturally more spiritual and closer to G-d, so they don’t need these mitzvos. This is shown by the fact that adam was created from dust – a very physical thing, and given a breath of G-d in order to come alive. But Chava (eve) she was created from the side of Adam – a thing G-d made of dust that was elevated because it had the breath of G-d making it alive. Then Chava was given her own soul. Chava was created from 2 spiritual things, but Adam was only created from one.

  • #755304

    AinOhdMilvado
    Participant

    IT’S ENOUGH ALREADY with this thread!!!

    WE have Torah min HASHAMAYIM.

    They have “Torah” from a committee.

    There’s really nothing to discuss, – except how we MIGHT best possibly do kiruv for the children raised in this warped americanized “movement”.

  • #755305

    oomis
    Member

    “Women can’t tie tzizis knots because women are not supposed to participate is preparation for a mitzvos that they are not obligated in. Similarly, women cannot tie the knots for a lulav.”

    we are not obligated in Succah, either, so why am I getting stuck with the decorating every year????????? 🙂

  • #755306

    rebdoniel
    Member

    My belief is that he Reform are growing leaps and bounds in America, as charliehall says, due to their acceptance of someone with a Jewish father and shiksa mother as a Yid. What Orthodoxy needs to do to help ameliorate this trend is to adapt the kiruv/geirus approach seen in different organizations, such as EJF, which follows the shita of R’ Benzion Uziel and R’ Azriel Hildesheimer, the Melamed Le Hoil, who both encourage a streamlined approach in geirus for patrilineals. These rabbonim, along with R’ Tzvi Hirsch Kalischer, argue that patrilineals fall under the category of Zera Yisroel, the seed of Israel, and should actually be encouraged to convert. Indeed, R’ Chaim Amsallem has come out with a sefer documenting the relevant mekoros, which I mentioned here in part, on the inyan of zera yisroel. If we adapted the positions of R’ Uziel and R’ Hildesheimer on Zera Yisroel, than the crisis of patrilineals can be averted ansd these individuals can be more easily welcomed into klal yisroel. Note, however, that I am not advocating geirus without malchus ol shem shamayim; this would mean that a patrilineal who observes mitzvos, etc., in the Reform movement or who has come through kiruv, etc., but who wants to become a full-fledged member of klal yisroel, would be converted in a more streamlined manner than others. I am not advocating wholesale geirus l’kula, and bringing frei individuals into klal yisroel, which would only give us non-observant Jews with mevatel conversions. This proposal of mine only applies to shomrei mitzvos who are zera yisroel and who want to become full members of the mishpacha.

  • #755308

    minyan gal
    Member

    The discussion about women tying the knots on tzitzit reminded me that I wanted to post an excerpt of an article that is on the website, Chabad.org. It concerns women wearing tallesim and I found it by accident recently. While there are many article on line about this topic, the fact that this one is from Chabad surprised me.

    “So what is a woman who wishes to wear a tallit to do?

    Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, eminent 20th century halachic authority, writes1 that a woman who desires to wear a tallit may do so, provided that she wears a distinctively feminine tallit, to avoid the problem mentioned above. He cautions, however, that this applies only to women whose desire to wear a tallit stems from a yearning to fulfill this mitzvah, though recognizing that they are not required to do so, and not to individuals who don a tallit as a “protest,” a means of challenging what they perceive to be a gender bias in Jewish law. Such an individual is not fulfilling a mitzvah, and to the contrary.”

    I also wish to mention that as a Conservative woman who attends an egalitarian shul (BTW not all Conservative shuls are egalitarian – each board decides for itself) I have taken on the mitzvah of wearing a tallit. I don’t know what it is, but when I put on my tallit, I find that I am far more focused on the service and on my prayers. I don’t know if I feel more spiritual -I cannot describe the feeling, but I know that I daven with more kavenah. There is something about being wrapped in the tallit that brings a feeling of being closer to Hashem.

  • #755309

    myfriend
    Member

    Is it a distinctively feminine tallit, per the ruling?

  • #755310

    tzippi
    Member

    Minyan gal, I’m not sure if this is the same feeling, but sometimes I feel like davening in a dark, quiet room. Maybe we women sometimes need a measure of solitude.

    I know that the inner compulsion to daven with a tallis is not even on the radar for me. To me, a tallis is to be worn by someone with a commitment to daven in shul, with a minyan (yes, it’s worn by those who daven b’yechidus for whatever reason but still), and that’s not a direction I have any desire to go in.

  • #755311

    Ben Torah
    Participant

    Igros Moshe, Orach Chaim 4:49:

    “In regard to the women who participate in the battle [feminism] with other women of the world. These women who are Torah observant wish to bring this battle to the arena of Torah law and therefore some pray with Talis and Tefillin and the like. They wish that I state my opinion on the matter. However, it is obvious if her soul desires to fulfill commandments which she has not been commanded. However, since this is not the motivation, but rather due to her complaint against G-d and His Torah, this is not a Mitvza, on the contrary, it is a sin.”

  • #755312

    hudi
    Member

    rabbiofberlin – I believe that the shulchan aruch is speaking about women actually making the tzitzis – i.e. weaving the thread and material. It says that is ok

    However, the remah says that it’s preferable for women not to tie tzitzis.

    About the lulav – I must have been remembering incorrectly. women are allowed to tie the knots, but they are advised not to bind the hadassim and aravos to the lulav. This is in sync with what rabbiofberlin said about the knots not having to do anything with the mitzvah.

  • #755316

    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    we are not obligated in Succah, either, so why am I getting stuck with the decorating every year????????? 🙂

    You are stuck with the decorating because your husband doesn’t care if he lives in a barn.

  • #755317

    Helpful
    Member

    charliehall: Considering that the reformers recruit and welcome bona fide gentiles as full fledged members, it is little wonder that their membership rolls have increased. Discount their so-called converts and children of non-Jewish mothers, and get back to us.

  • #755318

    Helpful
    Member

    rob: How can you say mitzvah bo baveira should not be a concern? That’s like saying a yeshiva shouldn’t turn away a donation made with stolen money! Of course a shul should make sure someone isn’t being mechallel Shabbos to come to shul.

  • #755319

    Helpful
    Member

    That should’ve read Mitzvah Haba’ah B’Aveira.

  • #755320

    AinOhdMilvado
    Participant

    To “Helpful”—

    You are so RIGHT!!!

    Not only does “reform” perform bogus conversions (poof – you’re a Jew!) but even beyond that…

    Total goyim (even by “reform” standards) become “members” of “reform temples” in order to be able to make use of their facilities (i.e. gym, swimming pool, etc.)and then these goyim, as “temple” members go into the cheshbon of a “growing number of “reform Jews”!!!

  • #755321

    apushatayid
    Participant

    Hashta Dasinan Lihachi.

    Moving foward. Instead of whining about what the reform movement has become, get up and help out groups like Oorah, Lev Lachim and the myriad smaller local kiruv groups who reach out to those non affiliated or non orthodox affiliated and show them and teach them about the beauty of yiddishkeit from a frum (orthodox) perspective. Telling someone they are no good is easy. Showing them how to be better is very difficult, but THAT is how you reach someone, not insulting their conversion process, halachic committees and observances. It only makes someone dig in their heels and prepare for a battle.

  • #755324

    charliehall
    Member

    Helpful,

    I am not aware of any study that applies our standards for defining a halachic Jew to the members of Reform congregations. Anything we say here is anecdote or speculation. I was mainly judging by the dues-paying membership and especially by the fact that the number of Reform synagogues in America has increased substantially over the past 30 years.

    The 2001 National Jewish Population survey showed a decline of 13% in the number of persons identifying as Reform Jews since a similar survey thirty years earlier, and the same 13% decline in self-identified Orthodox Jews. Conservative declined 50% during the same period. I think that much of the Orthodox decline may be explained by the total destruction of the once huge Jewish community in most of the Bronx, much of which was at least nominally Orthodox.

  • #755325

    charliehall
    Member

    AinOhdMilvado,

    Reform “conversions” are not “poof” — they typically require six months to a year of study. They absolutely do not require acceptance of the mitzvot, though, and may not even require immersion in a mikveh (although that is commonly done whenever they can get access to a mikveh).

    I personally know of Orthodox batei dinim that convert people much faster (and I’m not talking about modern Orthodox batei dinim associated with the IDF, the RCA, or the IRF).

  • #755326

    oomis
    Member

    “You are stuck with the decorating because your husband doesn’t care if he lives in a barn. “

    OY VEY – you SO do not know my husband! Between the two of us, HE is the one who enjoys shopping, window shopping, looking at different types of window treatments, etc. If he lived in a barn, it would be done in Country French. (I wouldn’t trade him for anyone!)

  • #755329

    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    you SO do not know my husband!

    I do. I’m his chavrusa. He said he only pretends to like it to make you happy.

  • #755330

    AinOhdMilvado
    Participant

    To: CharlieHall—

    The time involved may not be “poof’, but the content and the value of this “study” is less than “poof”.

    As they say… “the proof of the pudding is in the eating” or in this case, “the proof of the value of the study is in the (lack of) Torah observance.

  • #755331

    oomis
    Member

    I do. I’m his chavrusa. He said he only pretends to like it to make you happy.”

    Pops, if he wanted to make me HAPPIER, he would forget about decorating – it’s like toiten bahnkes! LOL

  • #755332

    philosopher
    Participant

    Are the Reform and Conservative still Jewish? This needs to be assesed individually, if an individual belonging to this group wants to become a BT.

    Not just Reform and Conservative need to be assesed on a case to case basis, but every person who is not frum and thinks of himself as a Jew, needs to know if they are halachically Jewish or not.

  • #755333

    bombmaniac
    Participant

    by the way just so were clear teh rav i asked about conservative conversions was rabbi moshe snow SHLIT”A who was a talkid muvhak of Rav Moshe Feinstien ZT”L. He said that they are invalid.

  • #755334

    howard
    Member

    sorry guys i didn’t read the blogs (just thought that if their on the internet there not worth wasting my time on). however g-d says as follows; Conservative and gayrus are an inherent oxymoron. you can’t BECOME a Jew without becoming Jewish. becoming Conservative is not becoming Jewish, as Judaism is singularly the complete submission to the endeavor of fulfilling the Toruh. nothing more nothing less. it should also be unequivocally stated that this actually applies to any Shabbos desecrator, namely that they are not Jews (except with regards to a few certain laws)this see tshovos chacham tzvi #38 and collected writings of Rabbi Hirsh vol. 8 last article.

  • #755336

    Darchei Noam
    Member

    That’s fine, rob, except for the fact that these Conservative (and Reform and many Zionist) converts never accept the ol mitzvos, they never intend to keep even one Shabbos k’halacha.

  • #755337

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    and many Zionist

    Are you saying that otherwise Orthodox converts who are Zionist are not mekabel ol mitzvos?

    If not, please explain.

    Or am I misunderstanding you?

    The Wolf

  • #755338

    howard
    Member

    Hey Berliner Rabbiner; as you can’t understand it the nice way let me put it this way; if BECOMING conservative is becoming Jewish since the conservatives tout and title their religion under the religion of the Jews, if so then someone who converts to Jews for jay is Jewish too, for whats the difference if you add or you subtract. Please confirm.

  • #755339

    Darchei Noam
    Member

    No, I qualified it with many (as opposed to all.) There is no legal significance to the term Orthodox. The IDF converts, many – perhaps most – who do not accept ol mitzvos and have no intention of keeping even one Shabbos k’halacha, are invalid. Just because the guy who did the voodoo, eh conversion, is or calls himself an Orthodox rabbi does not automatically lend authority to his witchcraft, eh conversion ceremony.

  • #755340

    bombmaniac
    Participant

    there is a difference between accepting the responsibility ro keep all mitzvos to the best of your knowledge, and accepting the responsibility to keep the mitzvos to the best of your convenience

  • #755343

    minyan gal
    Member

    ROB: As a Conservative Jew I want to thank you for your above comments. You always provide a logical, well thought out response and have stated your point far more eloquently than I could have. I was raised in a Conservative home and for me, to follow any other pathway be as foreign as taking on a different religion. In the past couple of years I have become extremely “shul” oriented – attending daily minyan and many classes (not just Conservative ones). I have enjoyed learning many aspects of Judaism that I was not at all familiar with before. I have great admiration (and it grows daily) for those that are frum but it is not my lifestyle and to me it would be a great burden – my feelings at this time. My opinion (and I am entitled to it) is that I would much rather be a religious and learning Conservative Jew than an unhappy and non-observant Orthodox one.

    To you and your family – Shabbat Shalom and Shavuah Tov.

  • #755344

    so right
    Member

    “I was raised in a Conservative home and for me, to follow any other pathway be as foreign as taking on a different religion.”

    Your feelings are very accurate. It is another religion.

  • #755345

    QuestionForYou
    Participant

    rabbiofberlin writes:

    Then what exactly is the point of wanting to become a Jew, if you’re not going to fulfill the Mitzvos?

    Until when are you going to leave the practice of the Mitzvos? Tomorrow? Next week? Next month? Next year? When?

  • #755346

    AinOhdMilvado
    Participant

    To: Minyan gal…

    Respectfully… to say, as you did, that “I would much rather be a religious…Conservative Jew than a…non-observant Orthodox one” is to say really that “conservative Judaism” and orthodox Judaism are TWO different religions.

    Why? Because you said you are “religious”. What does “religious” mean? Yes, of course you are “entitled to” your opinions, but IF we are talking about ONE religion, i.e. Judaism, then there is only ONE barometer for what “religious” means. G-d did NOT give the Jewish Nation an Orthodox Torah, a “conservative” Torah and a “reform” Torah. He gave us only ONE Torah, ONE tradition, ONE body of law. The reform and conservative “movements” were clearly break away movements (less than 2 hundred years old) from a Jewish tradition of THOUSANDS of years that began at Mount Sinai, given by an eternal G-d for whom 2010 was as much the “present” as 1500 B.C.E. was.

    Therefore, “religious” can have ONLY ONE defintion IF we are talking about (the same religion) Judaism, and that is strict adherence to the Mitzvot HaSh-m gave us.

    Having come from the “conservative movement” myself, many, many years ago, I can understand that from your viewpoint, acceptance of the obligation of mitzva observance SEEMS like “it would be a great burden”. Be assured, that feeling is only because of a lack of understanding of what a religiously observant life is. Having “been there” myself, I am well aware of how the “conservative movement” likes to paint “orthodoxy” (-another word I dislike, because it too would seem to make it appear that there is more than one form of Judaism) – as a fanatic, restrictive, antiquated, close-minded form of Judaism. Trust me, – that is a VERY biased and VERY inaccurate spin on the joyous tradition which has sustained us for the last 3,700 years.

    I would urge you to not only immerse yourself in the Aish.com website, but to contact and speak to the wonderful people at Aish.

    May HaSh-m guide you to the joy of a true Torah life for yourself and your family.

  • #755347

    tzippi
    Member

    Minyan gal, do you have a chevra of like-minded women and families? Anyone who’s grown with you similarly since you were a kid? I have to admit not personally knowing too many non O people; one family I know of, middle aged, granparents already, had traditional parents, kosher in the home, davened in a (close to nominally, but kosher) Orthodox shul, and had 10 hours a week of Talmud Torah staffed by top notch educators peddling authenticity. They themselves (the ones who didn’t stay with NCSY and become frum) only buy from kosher butchers, don’t mix meat and milk. I don’t know what they offered their kids, definitely not a full time immersion like a day school, and I include Solomon Schecthter, but I don’t think they even had options like they grew up. Their kids, now parents of their own, are nowhere near as observant, knowledgeable, or affiliated.

    In the Orthodox community, good parents know their kids won’t be clones, and will find what and who animates them, but the Judaism they practice will be fully compatible with what they grew up. This is sustainability, and I have to wonder if you see it on your end.

    OK, enough rambling. Back to Shabbos (for both of us 😉

  • #755348

    QuestionForYou
    Participant

    rabbiofberlin writes:

    Kashrus? Tznius? Shabbos & Yom Tov? Bris Mila? Taharas HaMishpacha? Shmiras HaLoshon?

  • #755349

    QuestionForYou
    Participant

  • #755350

    Avram in MD
    Participant

    I read through the posts in this thread with interest, as I grew up Conservative and B”H am now frum. Due to my experience in both worlds, I can understand the sentiments both of the frum posters to this topic and of the Conservative posters. I have a few things I’d like to add to this discussion, if possible:

    1.) Unfortunately, Orthodox Judaism is denigrated by Conservative Jews, who view it as, G-d forbid, backwards, strict, anti-women, antiquated, whatever else you could throw at it. These misconceptions form a real barrier for those Conservatives who are yearning for a closer relationship to Hashem. I was pulled towards frum Judaism for as long as I can remember. I had frum relatives, and when I was a child, we would visit them on Pesach for the second seder at a hotel in Miami. While there, I had a strong sense that I was in the right place, and when we left, I felt a strong sense of loss. At the same time, I felt terrified of the Orthodox Jews there, that they were staring at me, that I was doing everything wrong, that they looked down on me. Now that I am one of “those” Orthodox Jews, thank G-d I can look back and realize that it wasn’t the seder participants who were making me uncomfortable as much as my own soul. We rightfully have strong feelings about the Conservative and Reform movements. Instead of advocating an elevation towards the Torah’s ideals, they tear the Torah down to their congregants’ comfort level, or reject it entirely in the case of Reform. At the same time, we must be sure to interact sensitively with our non Orthodox brethren, because they really do not understand us or what true Torah observance is all about, and if we can do even a small thing to change their misconceptions about Orthodoxy, they might come closer to Hashem.

    2.) By far the biggest stumbling block that Conservatives and Reform have towards Orthodoxy is the perceived inequality of women. A big part of the reason they have this perception is a lack of understanding of a true Torah observant lifestyle. In the Conservative movement, everything was centered on the synagogue. Coming to synagogue = good Jew, not coming to synagogue = bad Jew. Most of my friends growing up did next to nothing Jewishly at home. The kippa came off right after services, and it was off to the mall, movies, restaurant, whatever. So basically, to remove access to anything involving the synagogue to a non-Orthodox Jewish woman is equivalent to removing their Judaism, because there’s nothing going on outside of the synagogue. The best way to remove this stumbling block is to reveal the truth, that authentic Torah observance envelops every aspect of your life at all times. Getting an aliya at shul is very nice, but davening is the ikar, as well as Torah study, Shabbos, hosting guests, giving tzedaka, improving our middos, and everything else that we do as frum Jews. As a Conservative teenager, I was very interested in reading from the Torah, reading the haftarah, leading services. Since I have become frum, I have yet to do that (I am a man), but I feel no loss of connection because my everyday “routine” is so filled with the Yiddishkeit I was trying to express by reading the haftarah in the Conservative synagogue. If I do read haftarah at shul in the future, it would be like extra icing on the cake, not the essential main course.

  • #755351

    tzippi
    Member

    Avram, a few years ago I heard Warren Kozak (author of The Rabbi of 84th St.) speak. He said that the frum women he met were funny, strong, and ruling the world, that the Orthodox were doing a lot to reach out and the non-Orthodox needed to do more work in positive interaction to counteract perpetuated stereotypes and misinformation.

  • #755353

    mandy
    Member

    I don’t understand why you people can’t be more respectful.

  • #755354

    minyan gal
    Member

    Mandy – the people are very respectful. This is a discussion not a war.

    Tzippi – I do have a community of like minded women and we all enjoy prayer and learning. I had a Hebrew day school education – not Solomon Shechter – it was more orthodox than that and it was all that was available where I grew up, aside from after school classes at the shul. Unfortunately the school only went to the 6th grade in those days and then it was on to public school.

    Avram in MD – I am far more observant in my home than the home I was raised in. I believe the reason that I was given the Hebrew school education is because my parents (particularly my father) were ardent Zionists and because of the times – early 1950’s. I know that the role of the woman in the frum community is extremely important, but very different than the woman’s role in the Conservative community – where it is also very important. Having had little to nothing to do with any organized religous activities (aside from celebrating the chagim in the home) for many years, I really jumped into shul life about two and a half years ago. I have found great joy and comfort from relearning how to daven and attending daily services. The difference is that while I have never been what you could call a feminist, I love the role of the woman at my shul – I have done many of the activities that you speak of. Last year I read from the Torah for the first time and found it to be a very moving experience. I frequently am given aliyot as I am considered to be a Kohen at my shul. Coming from the place I was at a few years ago to the place I am at today is almost a religious rebirth. I have also attended many classes during this period at a variety of places – my shul, JCC and Chabad and have enjoyed each and every one of them. I shall continue to learn and to daven and to grow. I cannot predict which direction my life or my level of observance will take but it will not stagnate. For me this has been a spiritual awakening. Considering that until a couple of years ago I rarely even lit Shabbat candles and now I race home in the winter to make sure that I am on time to bench licht. For the time being, at least, Conservative Judaism suits me just fine. My respect for the frum community grows daily, but it is not for me – at least at this time in my life. What I do appreciate is all that I have learned from YWN and the posters here and the opportunity to question and dialogue with everyone. Todah Rabbah.

  • #755355

    tb
    Member

    Qutoe from Oomis “This thought leads me to believe that if the person would become liable after the conversion, for doing what then would be considered an aveira for him, that the conversion is absolutely valid, EVEN IF HE DOES NOT LIVE IN A FRUM WAY, otherwise, his status would revert to being a Goy, and he would therefore NOT be chayav. Am I making any sense here? And what is the actual determination? Because one could argue that ANY ger tzedek might be oveir on SOME halacha as we all might be nichshal, so would that render him a non-valid convert?”

    I know this was a month ago but no one answered it…I believe it has to do with the intent at the time of convertion. If at the time of conversion the ger intended to keep all the mitzvos then he is jewish and any avieros he does are aveiros – of a yid. If however he never intended to keep mitzvos then he has never a yid to begin with and his aveiros are not aveiros.

  • #755356

    tzippi
    Member

    Minyan gal, a few years ago I heard the author of..can’t remember the name of the book, something like The Modern Jewish Mom’s Guide to Making Shabbat. It was a sweet book, and heartening, though skimpy on the Shabbat day. I asked her about it and she said, she and her family are a work in progress and hope to get there some day.

    I’m bringing this up because just as there’s a whole dimension to Shabbos – the day – that is neglected in the non observant world (though there is attention paid to Friday night and havdalah) there is, similarly, so much to Jewish life (and a Jewish woman’s life) besides what you detail.

    I’ll tell you a great story I just heard at a national women’s program from the Tiferes division of the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation (possibly still showing again in your area) about a group of merchants who met with the Chofetz Chaim. He told them, You’re coming to me for inspiration and are probably expecting me to tell you to take on something extra, an extra learning seder, etc. I won’t. My advice to you won’t involved any extra action on your part. But think: right now you spend most of your day at work, which is honorable, but not a mitzvah. There are so many holes in your life, the hours in which you’re not involved in active growth. Imagine if you could turn that into a mitzvah. If you start your day thinking, I am engaging in the honorable mitzvah of taking care of a child of the Creator [myself], or my family, or being able to help my community and Torah scholars. Then, everything becomes a mitzvah.

    I’m not doing justice to the speaker’s delivery; she was awesome. But the point is, living Jewishly can be so enriching and I hope you get equal satisfaction from your life outside shul too.

  • #755357

    Greetings – I’m here only because I am a non-Jew (practicing Christian) who just married a Conservative Jew. We are both in our 40’s. I do go to his temple sometimes and feel welcomed even though they know I am not Jewish. I read somewhere that Jews respect other religions if the person follows that own religion, and follow the 7 laws of Noah (I both follow my own religion – Presbyterian, and the 7 laws of Noah). I like that acceptance of my religion by Jews. And I absolutely believe Jews are God’s chosen people and are assured of a place in Heaven.

    Since we married, I have been cooking and preparing food with no dairy mixed with meat which frankly is not easy, especially since I have never done this in my life. I wondered if it was disrespectful to his religion if he did not follow this, like the Reform or some Conservatives. I was going to have him ask his Rabbi tonight at services. I googled the topic to research it and your website came up. oy vey, after reading the comments on this site I feel horrible now for even considering asking him to not observe the meat and dairy rule! I will keep cooking that way! Such a small thing, I am ashamed I was feeling restricted by it.

    As for my husband, he is a wonderful man and does his best to follow his temple’s rules. We have Hebrew prayers before eating at home, and his temple has services mostly in Hebrew, which I find beautiful. I cried when I first saw the Torah come out from the Ark of the Covenant, it was like witnessing the beginning of time. I guess you all don’t consider him Jewish, but I do. He is proud of being Jewish, and I respect him immensely, and his heart and mind are in the right places. I think Jews are the most wonderful people on earth, with a beautiful religion, and the smartest, no doubt. I am proud to be married to one.

  • #755358

    hudi
    Member

    Just hovering – Unless your husband had a nontraditional conversion, he is considered Jewish if his mother is Jewish.

  • #755359

    DaasYochid
    Participant

    Just Hovering,

    Your respect for Judaism is beautiful.

    To clarify, the title of this discussion is misleading. A Jew is a Jew regardless of affiliation and observance.

    The title refers to the unfortunate phenomenon of “conversions” taking place outside of the parameters of Jewish law (halacha). Unfortunately, as well, some “branches of Judaism” have corrupted the definition of halacha. As hudi stated, though, someone who was born Jewish remains a Jew.

    Good luck!

  • #755360

    msseeker
    Member

    Just Hovering, you sound like a wonderful person. You’re trying to do the right thing, but you really need to know more. Why don’t you do some more research on Orthodox Judaism (Aish.com may be very helpful) or speak to an Orthodox rabbi. Lots of luck, G-d bless you.

Viewing 156 reply threads
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

Comments are closed.

Subscribe to RSS Feed For This Article