Wednesday, May 13, 2009

excellent follow up question to R' Lamm's comments

Avakesh asks the question that no one else (at least from what I have read) has asked in response to the statements by Norman Lamm that Conservative and Reform Judaism is dying: Is this a good thing? Excellent point worth thinking about. What would happen to those thousands of American Jews who show up at a Reform temple to at least associate with some vague watered down concept of "Jewish" if those institutions all ceased to exist?


  1. I actually asked the same question in my head upon reading Rabbi Lamm's comments, i.e. is this a good thing?

    I can't come to the same conclusion as Avakesk, despite my criticisms of the reform and conservative movements.

  2. Tal Benschar7:31 PM

    One can ask a question on the question: l'mai nafka minah?

    The decline of C&R will lead to both good (less ziuf ha Torah and confusion about what "Judaism" is) and bad (more assimilation and alienation from Jewish identity).

    The real challenge is to see what is coming and act accordingly. Probably means more Jewish outreach.

  3. Anonymous12:56 AM

    Maybe if there is no Fake option more ppl will be lead to the real thing Just hopefully the Real thing does not become more fake (e.x.coca-cola Judaism)

  4. great unknown6:10 AM

    Eliyahu answered that question on Har HaCarmel: "Ad mosai atem pos'chim al shtei ha'seipim?" Watered-down choices may be appropriate as short-term rehabilitative processes; as long-term establishments, they lead to destructive consequences.

  5. great unknown8:53 AM

    Follow up to previous comment:
    The most successful example of a "compromise" reformed Judaism is now known as the Catholic Church.

  6. >>>l'mai nafka minah?

    Simple -- Should we stand by idly allow those institutions to fail?

    Let me give you an example: in the neighborhood in which I live there is an elementary school under non-Orthodox auspices. Assume for the sake of argument that that school was in financial hot water and needed $. If it folds, some of the students would enroll in the most LW Orthodox school; however, some would undoubtedly enroll in public school or prep schools with no Jewish affiliation. There would be no ziyuf hatorah because there would be no Torah identification these people would associate with. You make the call -- should the Orthodox community participate in the bailout of this institution or just watch it fold?

  7. >>>Eliyahu answered that question on Har HaCarmel: "Ad mosai atem pos'chim al shtei ha'seipim?"

    Are you equating Reform Judaism with the avodah worship of Ba'al?

  8. Anonymous12:48 PM

    I have mixed feelings about the demise of the Reform movement, but we definitely shouldn't bail them out.Al Tosesh Yodech Im Rosha.Chazal expound that to say 'afilo l'Torah' and 'afilo l'karvo l'Torah'Although most contemporary Reform Jews are Tinokos S'Nisbah and therefore not Resoyim, their movement is one of Resoyim that we can never support or help.

  9. The demise of the Reform movement is a symptom of an inexorable trend, not the cause of anything. While their claims of legitimacy may have enticed a few people away from Classical Judaism, their demographci was mostly people who were absolutely opposed to Orthodoxy and were on their way out anyway. I don't believe the end of Reform will speed assimilation; those that will, will, and those that have that spark of conscience won't. Their Temple wasn't a bulwark anyway. Maybe some will, for lack of alternative, come to the more modern places on Yamim Nora'im, just like the early Shabbos minyanim in the forties and fiftes.