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12

Since it includes Reform and Conservative organizations in its roster. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agudath_Israel_of_America#Positions In 1956 for example, the moetzes issued a written ruling forbidding Orthodox rabbis to join with any Reform or Conservative rabbis in rabbinical communal professional organizations that then united the various ...


12

A large percentage of the families who are affiliated with groups with liberal Judaic practices, such as the Conservative and Reform movement, tends to become less affiliated after their children become bar/bat mitzva age. From my understanding, confirmation, although not a Jewish concept per se, seemed to be a great way of keeping the children and families ...


12

If someone is born to a Jewish mother, regardless of her affiliation or observance, that person is 100% Jewish and allowed to marry another Jew. There is no conversion involved. I guess that this rabbi, in this situation, wants documentation that demonstrates that your friend's mother, and therefore your friend, is indeed Jewish. There are various ways this ...


11

From the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA) conversion FAQ: The amount of time for a convert to be prepared for conversion varies from case to case, depending upon the level of knowledge and experience that preceded the quest for conversion and many other factors. A minimum of two years of study and experiential growth is generally recommended ...


11

Rav Moshe in his Igros Moshe EH 2:17 second paragraph he seems to make it clear that for davening it is for sure assur, and even when it is a wedding an Orthodox person should not go. This tshuva was regarding Conservative synagogues; I am guessing that all the more so this would apply to Reform.


11

I'm going to paint this in overly broad strokes, but here goes: Theologically, the official stance of the Conservative movement is that the Torah was "inspired by God, but written by man." Orthodox theology believes this to conflict with one of Maimonides' principles of faith, that the Torah was dictated by God word-by-word to Moses. An early practical ...


10

1 - Conservative and Mamzerut are two separate issues. If the boy is Jewish (his mother is Jewish) then he does not need to convert. He would be considered a Baal Teshuva, one who has repented. He does not require any specific training, although if he is serious about his orthodoxy should learn the Mitzvos in order to lead a proper orthodox life. 2 - If the ...


9

If you know the fellow publicly flouts shabbos-observance, then we have a problem. (And what does "publicly flout" mean in today's world is another question; Rabbi Joseph Soloveichik is quoted as saying that if he'd be embarrassed to be seen doing it while the rabbi walked by, that's still not "publicly flouting.") Rabbi Shternbuch was asked regarding a ...


8

It depends what you mean by semicha -- there is a basic level of "being a rabbi" that is summarized here: There is a new form of semicha which is circulating today, known as the "Rav Umanhig" semicha. This is essentially a semicha which does not necessarily vouch for the recipient's knowledge or competency in halacha, but rather, testifies that the ...


8

The issue here is essentially one of lowest common denominator. A conversion will only be accepted by Group X if they think that Group Y, who oversaw the conversion, did so appropriately and successfully, following all the relevant laws as understood by Group X. Otherwise, Group X will continue to view the potential convert as a gentile with all that ...


8

I'm going to more or less echo Kordovero and Double AA, but put it succinctly. Yes, there is a difference, and it will matter. Here's why: If a person converts by any standard that is not universally recognized, then that person will not be regarded as Jewish by those with stricter standards. Orthodox conversion requires more than Conservative or Reform ...


8

There is much discussion in Jewish literature about this subject, and there is also a difference between a woman wearing a tallit and tefillin. It is easy to show what the Gemara and the Rema say, but leaving out all of the rishonim and acharonim on the topic would prevent learning where the halakha stands. But here is a start. Regarding tefillin Mishna ...


8

Before I define the label "Orthodox", I want to spell out what kind of entity is being labeled. The Enlightenment and the fall of the ghetto walls created a religious crisis for Ashkenazic Jewry. First for those in Western Europe, but the development does reach Eastern Europe over the course of the next several decades. Until then, for most people Jewish ...


7

It's not surprising that if someone's lifestyle is being evaluated, that a higher standard is expected. This has been frustrating for many a convert (as well as born Jews who've affiliated with a more-observant lifestyle). In theory, conversion is instant and irreversible. One second before converting, the would-be convert could eat pork all s/he likes. One ...


7

As the reform movement "loosely" based this ceremony on the practice of another religion, it would in fact be explicitly prohibited as chukos hagoyim to engage in it.


7

A Conservative kesuba can be suspect. As noted in Rabbi Emanuel Feldman's book, "Tales Out of Shul," as a young Orthodox rabbi in Atlanta in the 1960s, he was under tremendous pressure by wealthy members to do a quicky conversion to the member's child's non-Jewish fiancee. He would refuse, and those members would leave the shul and join a Conservative shul, ...


7

The question mistakenly assumes that every Orthodox synagogue is either Modern Orthodox or not. This is not the case. The MO and charedim mix to a large extent. There are shuls with a charedi rabbi but a mainly MO congregation, and there are many shuls with a mix of charedi and MO congregants. Many people are in between MO and charedi. They might describe ...


7

Many of the people who daven at the Hillel Minyan at Northwestern University (where I davened in college) associate with the Open Orthodox movement. Most of them daven with the Koren Sacks siddur. Some others use the Artscroll Siddur edition that includes the prayers for Israel, TzaHa"L, the United States, etc. Since they use mainstream siddurim, their ...


6

There are vast differences just among the modern Orthodox. If you want "official", you'd have to define some authority to whom everyone subscribes, which is impossible. The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism issues rulings that are supposed to be binding, but aren't, on all member synagogues. Much less are they followed by individuals. Orthodox ...


6

I believe R' Moshe Feinstein has a responsum regarding an Orthodox rabbi performing a wedding at a heterodox synagogue, in which he says "your job as rabbi is to perform weddings, regardless of location", but I don't recall if he addresses the sanctuary-vs-social-hall aspect. Hopefully I'll find it later?


6

Generally, Orthodox families do not make a huge fuss with Bnot Mitzvah ("B'not being the plural of "Bat") - at least not on the same level as a Bar Mitzvah. That means, that there is usually no festivity done in a synagogue. (Within the past decade or so, that has been changing very slightly, as some Modern Orthodox have started doing at least some small ...


6

Depends what you mean by "true". For millennia, Judaism believed roughly in the same things as what we now call Orthodox Judaism, and abided by roughly the same rules. So in that sense, yes, Orthodox Judaism is the only true way to convert: other conversions are not to Judaism. However, if you want to convert to them, then by all means do so. There's ...


5

Without knowing what this ceremony is I would say that orthodox Judaism is averse to instituting any type of ceremony unless there is a valid, orthodox source that can be seen as a precedent (usually the older the better). If for no other reason than to adopt one ceremony would open the floodgates and dilute any meaning (this is a pet peeve I have with ...


5

Horeb, by Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch, is definitely directed to a Jewish audience, but is, I suspect, largely comprehensible by others. Herman Wouk's This Is My God is directed mostly to an irreligious Jewish audience, but was interesting to me (a religious Jew) also and is certainly comprehensible by non-Jews.


5

It is important to understand that the Semicha of today is not "Traditional Semicha" which was only given in an unbroken chain from Moshe Rabbeinu down, from each teacher to their (worthy) students. That Semicha was lost long ago. (Although it is possible to bring back according to the Rambam, and was attempted by Rav Yaakov Beirav in 1538). What, then, is ...


5

Echoing others, the answer to this question is elusive and is likely to remain so: We are beset by many problems. And our thorniest and perhaps most disabling problem is, curiously, an "identity crisis"--perhaps a sign of our youthfulness as an ideological movement. Objectively examined, what binds us together as a separate entity is our full ...


5

One big one that I know of and have experienced is that when assessing if the children of this marriage are Jewish later in life, many times the parents' Kesuba will be taken as important evidence of that - if it was an orthodox one.


5

The issue here is essentially one of lowest common denominator. A conversion will only be accepted by Group X if they think that Group Y, who oversaw the conversion, did so appropriately and successfully, following all the relevant laws as understood by Group X. Otherwise, Group X will continue to view the potential convert as a gentile with all that ...


5

Jews do not believe there's anything special about the Christian scriptures because they make claims counter to torah (like that God would abandon the covenant he made with Jews and impose new surprise requirements later). God's torah is true, and any other document that contradicts it therefore doesn't reflect God's truth. For why one of their most ...


5

The Parameters of Kol Isha by Rabbi Howard Jachter addresses this. See the full article for the details, but here are some excerpts: The Gemara (Berachot 24a) states, “The voice of a woman is Ervah, as the Pasuk [in Shir Hashirim 2:14] states ‘let me hear your voice because your voice is pleasant and appearance attractive.’” Rashi explains that the ...



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