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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 ...


11

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 ...


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 ...


9

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 ...


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

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 ...


8

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.


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 ...


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 ...


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

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, ...


6

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 ...


5

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.


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

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 ...


5

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 ...


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.


4

Orthodox: torah, both written and oral, was given by God at Sinai. This includes the rules to apply the law. Chain of authority is per Avot 1:1. We don't make/revisit law today because that requires the Sanhedrin. (Of course, we do continue to interpret law to account for new situations, but we don't overturn existing law.) Conservative: torah at Sinai ...


4

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 ...


4

You are basically asking 2 questions. To answer point 1: Historically, the Progressive forms of Judaism came about as a response to the emancipation of Jewish rights in Europe. For centuries, Jews in Europe were second or third class citizens, often residing in Ghettos and having direct laws against their integration with Christian society. Along with the ...


4

Progressive Judaism has typically held than certain, often times many, aspects of Jewish practice need to be updated--or frankly "fixed". Judaism as traditionally defined affirms that G-d gave the Torah to Israel and cannot be "fixed" in any essential way. Prior to the rise of "progressive" movements within the Jewish people the naturally conservative ...


4

I don't have a citation (if somebody else does maybe they could edit it in, otherwise I'll keep looking) but R' Moshe Feinstein z'l rules that kefira (heresy) is the same as avoda zara (idol worship) with regards to the halachos of entering a place of worship, and that since reform and conservative reject many if not most of the Rambam's 13 ikarim ...


4

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 ...


4

I've lived in four different countries, and in many different orthodox communities, and the dynamics were always different. First of all, in any orthodox community, social interaction between males and females will be limited to an extent not seen in non-orthodox communities. The communities I have seen, however, each had an established "nshei", which is a ...


4

Documentation of marriage by an Orthodox rabbi will generally be useful to prove that you are Jewish and married, e.g. if you move to Israel. Required? No. But it can make the paperwork process easier. Otherwise, our communal institutions tend not to have a hangup about "oh they're evil people and we must punish/shun them because they had a non-Orthodox ...


3

I would advise that a person consult their rabbi before taking such a job, but if you tell me that someone has done so, I'm not particularly shocked nor concerned. One issue is a prohibition not just on eating non-kosher, but on deriving tangible benefit from it. (Which would mean you couldn't sell it.) There are very few categories of non-kosher that fall ...


3

Some book ideas (I'll add more if I think of them): I've never read it, but The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Judaism is supposed to be good, and the author, Rabbi Benjamin Blech, is supposed to be a good guy (and Orthodox). This should serve as a useful survey. The novel With All My Heart, With All My Soul does a great job of portraying one ...


3

I don't know of one specific book or article, but reading these 4 articles would probably give you a good feel for the major religious differences. http://judaism.about.com/od/denominationsofjudaism/p/branches.htm http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/conservatives.html ...


3

Judaism maintains (a) that the Torah is God-given, (b) that the power great rabbis have to enact regulations and to interpret the Torah is also God-given, and (c) that others don't have those powers to the same extent. As I understand it (though I'm no expert on the subject), many Jews, who practice/believe what they call "Judaism", don't believe any of ...



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