Teshuvot, or responsa, are the way much halacha has been settled since the Talmudic era. When the Reform movement started, did it continue this tradition of leading rabbis writing teshuvot, or did it stop the practice? If Reform rabbis do indeed write teshuvot, have any been accepted by Traditional Judaism?

This is similar to my Sadducee question but only here I am asking about the reform movement.

  • 1
    Jonathan, there is a whole corpus of Reform teshuvot spanning back to 1840's Germany. We can debate the legitimacy thereof, but Reform rabbis write up statements they call responsa on a pretty regular basis Commented Oct 28, 2019 at 0:49
  • If you wish to know about Reform responsa, look up the Central Conference of American Rabbis. On their site is a link “Rabbi’s voice” which then has a list of Reform responsa with some on line. Many are not consistent with Orthodoxy as has been mentioned. I suppose you should ask your Rav if you are allowed to go that far or if it would be forbidden.
    – Damila
    Commented Oct 28, 2019 at 5:29
  • 1
    @Damila - Why not make that an answer? Commented Oct 28, 2019 at 9:48
  • 1
    @Danny Schoemann Thank you. My comment does not really answer the OP question. It was a response to Jonathan saying he found the concept fascinating. Anyway, if looks like a lot of the comments have been deleted. So I will give it a go.
    – Damila
    Commented Oct 28, 2019 at 14:25
  • I think the question is good (+1) but it is phrased badly: do you mean do they do responsa or whether something from their responsa made its way to our Halachah?
    – Al Berko
    Commented Oct 28, 2019 at 15:13

1 Answer 1


Reform Judaism has responsa which are intended to address practical issues within the framework of Reform Judaism. (As noted by JoshK in comment.)

As for something “new”, one example is the question of whether a transgender female (with objectively male external genetalia) who converts need a milah gerim. I am not sure that is addressed specifically elsewhere.

A ruling that is considerably different involves “who is a Jew?” A person with a Jewish father and non-Jewish mother, who also does public acts of Jewish identity, is Jewish. (Note: As I understand it, contrary to popular belief, it is not simply “either parent Jewish = child is Jewish,” it is just that they do not require conversion anymore.)

I am not aware of anything that started with Reform and was adopted by Orthodox Rabbonim.

To see the Reform responsa, including some that have since been superseded, look up the Central Conference of American Rabbis. On their page is “Rabbinic Voice” which leads to “Reform responsa.”

The CCAR applies Jewish scholarship and transition to contemporary issues through the creation of Reform Responsa, based on the historic Jewish system of providing answers to questions about Judaism and Jewish living.

I will add the link if it is allowed on this site.


  1. I am not Reform and do not claim to represent their position.

  2. It is possible that you should ask your Rav if you are permitted to read the responsa.

  • this answer is very good but is already flirting with lifnei ever, a link would probably be even more problematic in that regard Commented Oct 28, 2019 at 15:37
  • 2
    Yeah, I originally put it as a comment (in a response to a response to your more general comment.) I guess leading readers to the site could be l”i but for the answer as is, everyone is aware that Reform exists. Anyway, I will leave the link out.
    – Damila
    Commented Oct 28, 2019 at 15:46
  • 1
    @JoshK Thank you for editing my question. It prompted for a good answer.
    – Jonathan
    Commented Oct 28, 2019 at 22:00
  • 1
    I don't see a problem with a properly-labeled link. I think I've linked to a Reform responsum somewhere in the past. So long as it's clear to the reader what's beyond the link, why would that be lifnei ever? Commented Oct 29, 2019 at 2:20
  • 1
    Thanks @Monica Cellio. I’ve been a lurker on this site a couple years, I am pretty sure it is what got me into SE in the first place. I just did not want to step on any toes. I know all are welcome here but it seems most (not all!) of the regular posters are pretty frum. I don’t personally think it is lifnei iver and I gave the name of the org. Anyone who’s heard of a search engine can easily find it.
    – Damila
    Commented Oct 29, 2019 at 2:34

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .