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soc.culture.jewish FAQ: Reform Judaism (10/12)
Section - Question 18.4.18: Fallacy: Reform Jews ignore the laws of Kashrut

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                                  Answer:
   
   [The following is based on Kashrut: A Reform Point of View in Gates of
   Mitzvah]
   
   Gates of Mitzvah, a guide to mitzvot in a Reform context, states
   regarding Kashrut:
   
     Many Reform Jews observe certain traditional disciplines as part of
     their attempt to establish a Jewish home and life style. For some,
     traditional Kashrut will enhance the sanctity of the home and be
     observed as a mitzvah; for some, a degreee of kashrut (e.g., the
     avoidance of pork products and/or shellfish) may be meaningful; and
     sill others may find nothing of value in kashrut. However, the fact
     that kashrut was an essential feature of Jewish life for som any
     centuries should motivate the Jewish family to study it and to
     consider whether or not it may enhance the sanctity of their home.
     
   The basic Reform philosophy is that it is a Reform Jew's
   responsibility to study and consider kashrut so as to develop a valid
   personal position. For although "classic" Reform Judaism did reject
   kashrut (as noted in the [5]Pittsburgh Platform of 1885,
   [6]http://www.ccarnet.org/platforms/pittsburgh.html), it did not
   prevent Reform Jews and Reform congregations from adopting and
   observing the dietary laws. The reasons for observing the laws by
   Reform Jews varied, from a desire to allow a wide variety of Jews to
   share in celebrations, to deeper meanings.
   
   In attempting to evolve a position on Kashrut, a Reform Jew has
   several options, for example, abstention from pork/shellfish products,
   not mixing meat and milk, etc. They might observe the laws at home,
   but not when eating out, or they might observe them all the time. They
   might eat only Kosher meat, or might become vegetarians in consonance
   with the principle of tzaar baalei chayim--prevention of pain or
   cruelty to animals. The range of options is from full observance to
   total nonobservance.
   
   The Torah commands Jews to observe the dietary laws as a means of
   making it kadosh--holy. Holiness has the dual sense of inner hallowing
   and outer separateness. There are many reasons that Reform Jews adopt
   some form of Kashrut:
    1. Identification and solidarity with worldwide Judaism
    2. The ethical discipline of avoiding certain foods or limiting one's
       appetite because of the growing scarcity of food in parts of the
       world.
    3. The avoidance of certain foods traditionally obnoxious to Jews,
       providing a sense of identification with past generations and
       their struggle to remain Jews.
    4. The authority of ancient biblical and rabbinic injunctions.
    5. The desire to have a home in which any Jew can eat.
       
   One or more of these reasons (or perhaps another reason) might lead a
   Reform Jew to adopt some form of Kashrut. Others might still choose to
   not observe Kashrut. But given the central nature of Kashrut to
   traditional practice, Reform Jews are encouraged to study it and
   consider carefully whether it would add kedushah, sanctity, to their
   home and their lives.

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Top Document: soc.culture.jewish FAQ: Reform Judaism (10/12)
Previous Document: Question 18.4.17: Fallacy: Reform Jews do not observe Shabbat
Next Document: Question 18.4.19: Fallacy: Reform rejects most of Maimonides 13 Principles of Faith

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