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soc.culture.jewish FAQ: Reform Judaism (10/12)
Section - Question 18.2.3: History: I've heard reference to "Classic German Reform". What is it?

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                                  Answer:
   
   When Reform started, many of its leaders took a very "rejectionist"
   view of practice. Many traditional practices were decried as
   "barbaric", and many other practices were discarded. This "early form"
   of Reform had some of the following characteristics:
     * Circumcision was not practiced, and was decried as barbaric.
     * The Hebrew language was removed from the liturgy and replaced with
       German.
     * The hope for a restoration of the Jews in Israel was officially
       renounced, and it was officially stated that Germany was to be the
       new Zion.
     * The ceremony in which a child celebrated becoming Bar Mitzvah was
       removed, and replaced with a "confirmation" ceremony.
     * The laws of Kashrut and family purity were officially declared
       "repugnant" to modern thinking people, and were not observed.
     * Shabbat was observed on Sunday.
     * Traditional restrictions on Shabbat behavior were not followed.
       
   (Note that almost all of the items in the above list are not
   reflective of Reform thought today.)
   
   In 1885 the Reform movement held its Pittsburg Conference, which
   produced the original platform of Reform Judaism. This platform,
   called the [5]1855 Pittsburgh Platform
   ([6]http://www.ccarnet.org/platforms/pittsburgh.html), is still
   followed by a few congregations today. This platform dismisses "such
   Mosaic and rabbinical laws as regulate diet, priestly purity and
   dress" as anachronisms that only obstruct spirituality in the modern
   age, and stressed that Reform Jews must only be accepting of laws that
   they feel "elevate and sanctify our lives" and must reject those
   customs and laws that "not adapted to the views and habits of modern
   civilization." In the decades following these events, a reevaluation
   took place in which many members of the Reform movement began to
   question the "reforms" that were made. This is indicative how the
   movement operates, and why it is called "Reform" and not
   "Reformed"--because the process of reform is a continual one. Starting
   with the [7]Columbus Platform
   ([8]http://www.ccarnet.org/platforms/columbus.html), many of the
   discarded practices were reincorporated into Reform, and consistute
   what is now called "Modern" Reform Judaism, or more succinctly, Reform
   Judaism.

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Top Document: soc.culture.jewish FAQ: Reform Judaism (10/12)
Previous Document: Question 18.2.2: History: Why did Reform Judaism start?
Next Document: Question 18.2.4: History: What is Reform Judaism today?

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