The Sceptic Blog

Random thoughts of a random chappy

Reform Judaism – The Penny Drops

with one comment

1.  A certain Jewish school is being taken to court for refusing admission to a child who is not halachically Jewish, although the child is Jewish according to the Reform movement.  So one might expect them to be enthusiastic about the litigation: but they are not at all, because they have realised that once the courts intervene in matters of who is and is not Jewish there is no guarantee that they will adopt precisely the Reform’s criteria – they might substitute their own entirely.

2.  The Talmud noticed something similar a few centuries ago.  At the end of the tractate Avodah Zarah two rabbis are eating in the palace of a non-Jewish king.  He insists that one of them is offered all kosher facilities.  The other says “What about me?”  To which the answer is that the King has been watching this second rabbi’s behaviour, and has come to the conclusion that he does not consistently follow one set of rules but makes them up as he goes along to suit his convenience.

3.  We can ask the non-Jewish world to respect our religious practices when they are consistent and sincere, based on adherence to the Code of Jewish Law redacted centuries ago in codification of still earlier authority, based on time-honoured majority practice where opinions originally differed.  Once we adopt a do-it-yourself free-for-all attitude where we make the rules up ourselves, they are not worthy of respect and will not receive it.


Written by Daniel Greenberg

February 3, 2008 at 6:18 pm

One Response

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  1. Notwithstanding what the Reform movement may be concerned about in the outcome of this case, we must be careful when we “wash our dirty linen in public”. We have been successful in blocking any attempt to have non jewish children admitted to jewish schools even with the numbers are low and do not meet the required quota (see JC 8 Feb), we may have to admit children whose father is jewish and mother not, (and therefore are not halachically jewish) if the case goes against the JFS.

    Mr Secretary

    February 17, 2008 at 7:03 pm

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