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soc.culture.jewish FAQ: Who We Are (2/12)
Section - Question 2.14: But Reform Judaism isn't Judaism? Why don't they see that?

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                                  Answer:
   
   One of the great temptations facing Orthodox (and some Conservative)
   Jews on SCJ is the opportunity for bashing the Reform movement.
   
   It is easy to understand the temptation; Non-Reform Jews clearly
   disagree with some very significant aspects of the Reform movement.
   They feel that doctrines of the Reform movement are wrong, and that
   many of their strategies (e.g., the best way to deal with such
   problems as intermarriage and non-observance) are ill-advised.
   Furthermore, because they have a strong sense of community with all
   Jews, Orthodox Jews are often pained by some aspects of the Reform
   movement.
   
   As tempting as Reform-bashing is, it should be avoided for several
   reasons.
   
   First, distressingly large number of R-bashing posts are simply "I
   hate Reform" statements without any further information or
   justification or rationale. They add little to any discussion.
   
   Second, far too many R-bashing posts are based on misinformation.
   Sometimes the R-bashing statements are absolutely contrary to
   O-halakha; how often have you read "R Jews are NOT Jews." In other
   instances, statements are posted such as "Reform rabbis are in favor
   of intermarriage" or "Reform rabbis co-officiate with non-Jewish
   clergy at interfaith weddings." The former is not true (although some
   Reform rabbis will officiate at intermarriages, they do not favor
   them), and the latter is rarely true. "There are no fourth-generation
   Reform Jews" or "Fourth-generation Reform Jews are all Unitarians" are
   both simply untrue. To learn the truth about Reform/Progressive
   Judaism, interested readers should look at the [5]Reform/Progressive
   Section of the FAQ.
   
   Third, irrelevant and usually unsubstantiated arguments are often
   made. Whether there will be many or few Reform Jews in 50 years is
   heavily conjectural, rarely backed by data, and irrelevant to the
   question of the correctness of the Reform movement. Think: 50 years
   ago, who would have predicted the present apparent resurgence of
   Orthodoxy?
   
   Fourth, these rather crude forms of R-bashing do not simply reflect
   poorly on the poster; far more significantly (from an Orthodox
   perspective), they reflect poorly on Orthodoxy. Remember that there
   are many more lurkers than there are posters. One of the great
   tragedies of SCJ is that too many people will read some of the crude
   R-bashing messages and conclude that "If this is what Orthodoxy is all
   about, I want nothing of it."
   
   Finally (closely related to the fourth issue), R-bashing is a
   spectacularly poor way to present Orthodoxy to non-Orthodox readers.
   R-bashing gives the impression that the central feature of Orthodoxy
   is the rejection of Reform. In doing so, R-bashing blinds readers from
   seeing the beauty, the joy, the compassion, the love of Judaism and
   the sanctity that Orthodox Jews find in Orthodoxy.
   
   SCJ provides great temptations for R-bashing. But such R-bashing
   inevitably degenerates to a major hilul haShem, a desecration of G-d's
   name, because it inevitably offends non-Orthodox readers, and turns
   them off on Orthodoxy.
   
   SCJ also offers great opportunities for kiddush haShem, for the
   sanctification of G-d's name. Many SCJ readers have never before
   interacted with Orthodox Jews, and have heard only negative
   stereotypes (just as many O Jews have heard only stereotypes about
   non-O Jews).
   
   By providing thoughtful, caring, compassionate, considerate, answers,
   it is possible to show the positive side of Orthodoxy. By making
   reasoned and reasonable comments, others can be convinced that the
   Orthodox positions are reasoned and reasonable.
   
   There are, in fact, several SCJ readers whose increased levels of
   observance has been fostered by such posts in the past. And there are
   other SCJ readers who were once rabidly anti-Orthodox, and whose
   opposition has been somewhat softened by such posts. There is no
   evidence of non-observant SCJ readers whose level of observance has
   increased based on inflammatory R-bashing.
   
   Orthodox Jews should not gloss over OCR differences, or that accept
   the O-halakhic legitimacy of Reform practices. But Orthodox rejection
   of Reform practices must be presented with a rationale, must be
   justified, and must be polite. Orthodoxy rejects Reform practice
   because Orthodoxy believe they (the practices) are wrong, not because
   Reform Jews are terrible.

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Top Document: soc.culture.jewish FAQ: Who We Are (2/12)
Previous Document: Question 2.13: What are OCR (O-C-R) wars? Why all the flames?
Next Document: Question 2.15: But Orthodox Judaism isn't Judaism? Why don't they see that?

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Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:11 PM