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soc.culture.jewish FAQ: Reform Judaism (10/12)

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	   Frequently Asked Questions on Reform/Progressive Judaism
         [Last Change: $Date: 1995/10/19 15:24:31 $ $Revision: 1.6 $]
                    [Last Post: Fri Feb  6 11:07:21 US/Pacific 2004]

   The FAQ is a collection of documents that is an attempt to answer
   questions that are continually asked on the soc.culture.jewish family
   of newsgroups. It was written by cooperating laypeople from the
   various Judaic movements. You should not make any assumption as to
   accuracy and/or authoritativeness of the answers provided herein. In
   all cases, it is always best to consult a competent authority--your
   local rabbi is a good place to start.
   [2][Got Questions?] Hopefully, the FAQ will provide the answer to your
   questions. If it doesn't, please drop Email to
   [3] The FAQ maintainer will endeavor to direct
   your query to an appropriate individual that can answer it. If you
   would like to be part of the group to which the maintainer directs
   questions, please drop a note to the FAQ maintainer at
   The deceased sages described within are of blessed memory, (assume a
   Z"L or ZT"L after their names) and the sages alive today should live
   to see long and good days (assume SHLITA). May Hashem grant complete
   recovery to the ill. Individual honorifics are omitted.
   The FAQ was produced by a committee and is a cooperative work. The
   contributors never standardized on transliteration scheme from Hebrew,
   Aramaic, Yiddish, or Ladino to English. As a result, the same original
   word might appear with a variety of spellings. This is complicated by
   the fact that there are regional variations in the pronunciation of
   Hebrew. In some places, the common spelling variations are mentioned;
   in others--not. We hope that this is not too confusing.
   In general, throughout this FAQ, North American (US/Canada) terms are
   used to refer to the movements of Judaism. Outside of North American,
   Reform is Progressive or Liberal Judaism; Conservative is Masorti or
   Neolog, and Orthodoxy is often just "Judaism". Even with this, there
   are differences in practice, position, and ritual between US/Canada
   Reform and other progressive/liberal movements (such as UK
   Progressive/ Liberal), and between US/Canada Conservative and the
   conservative/Masorti movement elsewhere. Where appropriate, these
   differences will be highlighted.
   The goal of the FAQ is to present a balanced view of Judaism; where a
   response is applicable to a particular movement only, this will be
   noted. Unless otherwise noted or implied by the text, all responses
   reflect the traditional viewpoint.
   This list should be used in conjunction with the Soc.Culture.Jewish
   [5]reading lists. Similar questions can be found in the books
   referenced in those lists.
   There are also numerous other Jewish FAQs available on the Internet
   that are not part of the SCJ FAQ/RL suite. An index to these may be
   found at [6]
   This FAQ is a volunteer effort. If you wish to support the maintenance
   of the FAQ, please see [7]Section 20, Question 99 for more

     Special Introduction to the Reform/Progressive Portion of the FAQ
   This portion of the FAQ is drawn primarily from published positions of
   the [2]Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) and the [3]Central Conference of
   American Rabbis (CCAR) -- the primary organizations for Reform Judaism
   in North American. As such, the positions represented here are
   collectively those of [4]the Reform movement, as canonized by its
   leadership. Individuals in the movement have personal positions that
   differ, some more traditional, some more liberal. Note: In November
   2003, the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (UAHC) voted to
   change its name to the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ): Serving Reform
   Judaism in North America. You will like be seeing references to UAHC
   for a long time; mentally translate them to URJ.
   The positions in this part of the FAQ primarily reflect those of North
   American Reform Jewry. Where appropriate and when it differs,
   clarifications about Reform/Progressive practice outside of North
   America is provided. Additional clarifications of this sort are always
   Again, as with any group, there are individuals who do not follow the
   recommendations of the movement, and yet associate themselves with the
   movement. This occurs in all aspects of Judaism. Remember to
   distinguish the individual from the movement, and strive to encourage
   those living with a less-than-serious commitment to their movement to
   strengthen that commitment. Throughout the remainder of this posting,
   unless otherwise qualified, the phrase "Reform Jew" refers to an
   individual committed to Reform Judaism and acting in accordance with
   the recommendations of Reform Judaism.
   This list should be used in conjunction with the Soc.Culture.Jewish
   [5]Reform Reading List. Similar questions can be found in the books
   referenced in those lists.

   Reproduction of this posting for commercial use is subject to
   restriction. See Part 1 for more details.

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