What are some good arguments in defense of Orthodox Judaism against Reform and Conservative Jewish people that profess faith in Hashem and Judaism?

Like for the purpose kiruv, what are some reasons to give them why they should embrace Orthodoxy if they believe in Hashem? And this is with the intention we’re merely trying to have them accept Orthodox theology and be mildly more observant, full observance not being immediately expected.

Which points should generally be brought up, because often when I’ve been to Reform and Conservative synagogues they seem to not understand almost anything about what Orthodox Jews believe and think.

  • 3
    To every person a different argument works, and for some no argument. There isn't a one-size-fits-all argument.
    – Harel13
    Oct 22, 2023 at 4:58
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    Asking for the most effective is likely to be closed as it is nearly impossible to measure. You could possibly ask for some of the arguments, or since it is a complex topic, you could ask for resources discussing the topic. Entire books have been written on it
    – mbloch
    Oct 22, 2023 at 6:17
  • If you think there is THE THING that you say and poof! everyone's going to suddenly get onboard, well ... you don't know human nature that well.
    – Shalom
    Oct 22, 2023 at 10:29
  • I was considering answering based on comparing the kiruv philophy and methods of the inventors of kiruv: Chabad, vs the Litvish as a fact-based answer. If you would like to hear that, feel free to reword or reask the question in a way that would enable it
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Oct 22, 2023 at 11:15
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    Also worth asking what "effective" means. A Chabad shaliach recently told me that they have to be satisfied with a very little limited level of observance in the ones that they are successful with. When I was in school, it was basically accepted that to get people to be honestly frum, you needed to get them to go away to yeshiva.
    – MichoelR
    Oct 22, 2023 at 12:55

1 Answer 1


From my personal experience, discussion with others and much reading, I find that the crucial turning point is when a Jew realizes that "Torah is actually and entirely true", i.e., it comes from God, has an unbroken chain of transmission to us through generations of interpreters, contains instructions/commands for all Jews, and needs to be taken seriously. Many serious non-observant Jews don't really see it this way, they see the Torah as a wise text that needs to be modernized or can be picked from.

Once someone shifts towards "this is all true, I need to observe all of it, and even if I'm not there today, I need to work to learn and observe more", then the person starts on a journey towards observance.

But these journeys are highly personal and often the product of long reflection & learning. They don't occur as a flash following one discussion. As such, you need to moderate your hopes to "switch on" people in one go. The most one can do is plant a few good questions, suggest further reading or discussions with experienced outreach professionals and be an attentive ear and supportive friend on the journey.

You also need to realize that people are frightened of change, wary of giving up things they like, worried of how they will look towards family and friends. These are very high obstacles to conquer.

I find that suggesting or offering books is an effective non-threatening starter on a journey of tshuva. Here are a few suggestions. These books will also provide you with great content to share


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