Thursday, November 24, 2005

Reform urge conversions

More on Reform Judaism's convention:

JTA:

The movement that was the first to welcome intermarried families into its synagogues nearly three decades ago now will focus on actively inviting non-Jews to convert to Judaism...
Addressing a Shabbat breakfast meeting of Reform rabbis, cantors and educators, sociologist Steven Cohen, a research professor at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, said the Reform movement is the institution best placed to lead the American Jewish community.
“The federation system has abdicated,” he said, “the Conservative movement doesn’t have the wherewithal or the confidence” and the “Orthodox have become sectarian,” Cohen said.
No one in the room disagreed with his analysis.
Neither did Rabbi David Ellenson, president of the Hebrew Union College.
“There is an affinity between the ideals marking Reform Judaism — inclusion, pluralism, the individual search for meaning — and the sensibilities that mark most non-Orthodox Jews in the United States,” he said.
Referring to the 20 percent of American Jews who have never affiliated with a synagogue, he said, “if any movement is going to address these people and bring them into the synagogue, it’s the Reform movement.”
That confidence was evident in Yoffie’s Shabbat sermon, in which he urged Reform congregations to find tangible ways to honor non-Jewish members who are raising Jewish children, while not shying away from suggesting that these non-Jews convert...

Some Reform Jews would prefer fewer limits. Debbie Kujovich of Congregation Kol Ami in Vancouver, Wash., said most of her congregation is intermarried, yet her non-Jewish husband is not per
Several options were offered at the biennial for daily shacharit morning and ma’ariv evening services, including a yoga minyan each morning and services conducted entirely in Hebrew, a novelty in the Reform movement.
A new addition was a beit midrash, or study hall, held at the same time as each worship service. Participants studied Torah in chevruta, the traditional partnering method used in yeshiva.
mitted to hold the Torah during services...

posted by Yeshiva Orthodoxy
at 4:34 PM

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