19 votes
Accepted

Are there Jews not following the rabbinic laws?

The most famous instance of Jews choosing to follow only the written Torah without the oral rabbinic interpretations would be the Karaites who flourished from about 760 CE to 1100 CE. Today their ...
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  • 5,054
14 votes

Criteria to be considered a gentile for the purposes of selling chametz?

The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch in 114:7 states: אָסוּר לִמְכּוֹר אֶת הֶחָמֵץ לְמוּמָר אוֹ לְמוּמֶרֶת; וְלֹא לְבֶן מוּמֶרֶת, אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁיְלָדַתּוּ מֵאֵינוֹ יְהוּדִי לְאַחַר שֶׁהֵמִירָה, כִּי ...
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13 votes
Accepted

Why does the Reform Siddur cut out most of Krias Shema?

Rabbi Richard Sarason, a faculty member at Hebrew Union College (the Reform seminary), talks about the history of these passages in an article about the newest siddur, Mishkan T'filah. He writes (...
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11 votes

How does Orthodox Judaism view the Dead Sea Scrolls?

During the Second Temple Period, there were different sects with different interpretations of Judaism. The descendants of the Pharisees wrote the Talmud, which defined Orthodox Judaism as we know ...
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  • 127k
11 votes

Does Orthodox Judaism Recognize Reform Conversions?

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 ...
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  • 95.6k
10 votes
Accepted

According to Conservative Judaism, is one permitted to use an umbrella on Shabbat?

Yehuda Wiesen wrote a "Guide to Practical Halacha and Home Ritual for Conservative Jews" (available here), from which I quote (from the section concerning Shabbat): There are many and various so ...
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  • 28.2k
10 votes

what percentage of Reform Jews are halachically Jewish?

Non-halachic Reform Jews are those whose mother was not Jewish, yet they consider themselves Jewish because of either a heterodox conversion or patrilineal descent. We can mostly figure out the ...
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  • 444
10 votes
Accepted

May a halachically 'Jewish' Atheist work as a 'Shabbat goy'?

The atheist is still a Jew; his (non-)belief does not exempt him from the obligation not to violate Shabbat. This answer elsewhere by DoubleAA discusses benefitting from melacha done by a Jew. It ...
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10 votes

What does it mean for atheists to raise their children 'Jewish'?

Being "Raised Jewish" in this context means that, to the degree that there is any religious experience in the home, it is of Jewish origin. So if they go to a house of worship, it will be a synagogue. ...
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  • 31.4k
9 votes

How does Orthodox Judaism view the Dead Sea Scrolls?

The perspective of Orthodox Jews vis-a-vis the Dead sea scrolls varies from non recognition, ambivalence, to outright excitement. For those who do not view it as a life altering find see them as 1. ...
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8 votes

What sources did people use to support Shabbtai Tsvi's messianism after he died?

The main argument of the Shebbatai's disciples was that his apostasy, his conversion to islam, as well his death was supposed to happen. His Apostasy Sabbatai‘s followers were instructed to reject ...
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8 votes

What afterlife awaits a Tinoq Shenishba who studies Torah but fails to observe major halacha?

The Rambam apparently believes that the tinoq shenishba is defined by the attitude he/she was raised with toward Torah, not only their ignorance of it. And so even after learning Torah, as long as his ...
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  • 8,740
8 votes

Non-Orthodox converts and Olam Ha-Ba

We can't possibly know how God judges people after they die. We know that he is compassionate, and I think it's safe to assume that he isn't going out of his way to punish people for things they didn'...
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  • 24.4k
8 votes

What will happen to secular unafilliated Jews in the time of Mashiach?

According to Maimonides, who is the only major Halachic commentator to rule on these matters, the Moshiach (the Messiah) will teach all people and encourage them to serve G-d. They will be inspired by ...
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8 votes

What exactly is the Mussar movement and how does it differ from mainstream Judaism?

The musar movement is mostly associated with Rabbi Yisra'el Salanter and his students. There is a lot that could be said about it, but I will write mostly about the more controversial aspects and ...
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  • 23.8k
7 votes

The Orthodox approach to R. Benamozegh's theology?

While R. Elijah Benamozegh was apparently somewhat controversial in his day, he is hardly a "unquotable" figure: R. David Zvi Hoffmann and R. Mendel Kasher quote him in their work repeatedly, his work ...
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  • 13.8k
7 votes

Are the Conservatives and all who practice it considered non-Jews in the eyes of Orthodoxy

This is totally incorrect. Even if a Jew sins sufficiently to merit being punished with karet, he is still a Jew. An example would be those who succumbed to the Spanish in 1492 and converted to ...
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  • 41.9k
6 votes

Seder advice when with people who aren't interested?

You may want to consider using Hagada - Mi Yodeya? Our companion to the Passover Hagada, featuring questions practice, lore, and thought spanning the Seder, from preparations to closing. That ...
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  • 18.7k
6 votes

Are non-Orthodox marriages recognized by Orthodox rabbis?

One of the biggest deal-breakers in the ceremony -- more than the language of the ketubah -- is if the witnesses were shabbat-observant. There are other issues in non-Orthodox ceremonies, but that's ...
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  • 127k
6 votes
Accepted

Are non-Orthodox marriages recognized by Orthodox rabbis?

R' Yosef Eliyahu Henkin (פירושי אירבא סימן ד) held that it does not actually matter if the wedding was valid, as they are living together with intent to be married. Rav Henkin adopted the novel view ...
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6 votes

Witnesses and the Ketubah

The ketubah, like any Jewish legal document, requires the signature of two witnesses. Besides being Jewish men who are unrelated to each other (or to the bride or groom), there are other ...
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  • 10.7k
5 votes

What is the religious significance of the existence of many denominations and sects?

There have been several different sects of Judaism almost since the beginning of the religion. The oldest movements were Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes and Zealots Medieval movements included ...
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5 votes
Accepted

Is kosher food cooked by an irreligious Jew Bishul Akum?

Halachically Speaking (7:2) has a great overview of this question: There is a discussion in the poskim regarding the status of a Jew who is not observant. The Rambam states that a Jew who is mechalel ...
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  • 365
5 votes

Are non-Orthodox marriages recognized by Orthodox rabbis?

I heard from R. Nota Greenblatt that although we are are stringent in accordance with R. Henkin's view that the marriage is valid, and we would require a get, even in the event that she is dating a ...
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  • 34.9k
5 votes

What is the Reform view of the origin of the Torah?

The Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) is the Reform Rabbinic leadership organization. They came up with a number of "platforms" that are "documents capturing the state of Reform Jewish ...
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  • 43.6k
5 votes

Mother was adopted into Jewish family and raised Jewish, and she raised me as a Jew... Will my children be Jewish?

The Reform movement believes in patrilineal descent (at least of 1983, when it was a radical departure from thousands of years of traditional Judaism). So if your father is Jewish, then you would be ...
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  • 4,131
5 votes

Conservative procedures for avoiding intermarriage?

I can offer you one anecdotal piece of evidence. My wife and I were married by a Conservative rabbi in a town we had lived in for only a few years. He was satisfied of my wife's status by her ...
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5 votes
Accepted

Is Reform conversion recognized by the Conservative movement?

See this teshuvah by R. David Novak, adopted by the Rabbinical Assembly in 1982. To quote from its conclusion (emphases mine): I find no cogent basis in halakhah for accepting, even ex post facto, ...
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  • 38.5k
4 votes

Sadducees and Karaites - same beliefs?

Well, it depends who you ask. Rabbi Avraham de Cologna wrote a kuntress about Karaites, called "Kara Ha'gever". In it, he explains about the history and beliefs of the Karaites. According to ...
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  • 20.8k

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