Thursday, December 08, 2005

'Halacha irrelevant' says Conservative 'Rabbi'

Following the convention of the Conservative Movement (-it moves from left to more left).

One Conservative "Rabbi", Neil Gilman, summed it all up perfectly:


In Mondays keynote speech, Rabbi Neil Gillman, a philosophy professor at the movements Jewish Theology Seminary, urged Conservative Judaism to abandon its claim that we are a halachic movement, which he called irrelevant to the vast majority of our lay people.
Gillman proposed a new definition for the movement based on living with ambiguity, which he said more precisely describes a movement that may be guided by halacha, or Jewish law, but evolves according to aggada, or changing social and cultural norms.
Our approach to halacha is a sublime example of living with tension, said Gillman, positing that Conservative Judaism continually re-evaluates its concept of the God-human relationship. The hallmarks of our belief are relativity, uncertainty and tension.
Gillmans examination of the movements theological wrestling act resonated with many conference participants, but some said they did indeed see their movement as based in halacha, and most laypeople interviewed said the constant struggle with tradition gave Conservative Judaism an intellectual honesty they liked...
Rabbi Amy Eilberg, the first woman ordained by the Conservative movement 20 years ago, agreed with Gillmans proposal, but admitted, its a message many in the movement do not want to hear.
She suggested that what we need is a unifying aggadic vision, a narrative. I would prefer we think of ourselves as God-wrestlers, standing with God face-to-face, arguing, protesting, loving, embracing. That understanding, she said, would be a radical change from the positivist claim of being a halachic movement...

Warning that a closer embrace of liberal values will cost the movement congregations, Rabbi Philip Scheim of Toronto said that without halacha we are lost. If we want to be sustained by ambiguity, we have no future.
Judy Gatchell of Portland, Maine, was one of several women laying tefillin during morning prayers. She said shed like to see the movement focus on turning congregations into warm communities..
One elderly Louisiana woman who declined to give her name said she didnt understand all the fuss about trying to come up with a new definition of Conservative Judaism: Its just where she feels right....

posted by Yeshiva Orthodoxy
at 2:37 PM


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