14

Quite aside from any issues of appearance (which I understand to be quite serious, among the Orthodox, with respect to non-Orthodox services), you will not be yotzei because they will not do the prayers fully and in the manner you expect. Customs vary, but I've been going to Reform services for years and have visited a few different synagogues, and here's ...


13

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 (emphasis mine): The earliest Reform congregational prayer book (Hamburg, 1819) includes all three paragraphs of the Sh'ma. [...] The deletion of the second and ...


10

This is a pretty broad question. If you want to drill into any of these issues I recommend splitting off a separate question about just that topic. Would this limit me to only marrying someone who is also Jewish? According to halacha (Jewish law), we are to marry other Jews and marriages with non-Jews are not recognized as valid. Intermarried couples ...


10

I'm a layperson (not a rabbi) who's spoken with and helped teach Reform conversion candidates. This answer is based on that experience; see also the CCAR's guidelines for conversion. The beit din will, nearly universally, require successful completion of an introduction-to-Judaism class early in the process (~3 hours/week for 6 months or so). This class ...


9

When I was shopping for a synagogue and a rabbi I was pretty methodical about it. I didn't want to judge just based on what I'd heard people say about different communities. After I'd visited a bunch and started to narrow things down, I met individually with local rabbis from the Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox movements. (We didn't have any local ...


8

The current policy of Hebrew Union College - the primary Reform seminary in the United States (and thus I presume the world) - is not to admit rabbinic candidates with non-Jewish "significant others." This policy is currently being questioned in the blogosphere. From their website: Current policy states that applicants who are married to or in committed ...


6

The SAT seems somewhat analagous to voting: Voting is a civic duty and how we contribute to governance; taking the SAT is required to get into most colleges. Both elections and the SAT are administered by some other organization; the location used is just a location, not a sponsor. Choices are very limited. For voting you have to either use your assigned ...


6

There is room to discuss the validity of most aspects of a Reform conversion - if the Mikvah was a kosher Mikvah, then that would be fine. If the person had in mind to be responsible and accountable for mitzvos, even if they did not intend to keep them, then it would be a matter of dispute if that is valid, but it is possible. The main problem is the ...


6

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 that even if their intent to be married is not necessarily through Kiddushin, and even if they don't know that consumation of marriage can create Kiddushin, ...


6

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 by far the biggest. In theory the Talmud talks about situations where a couple would have in mind that if the wedding ceremony itself isn't valid, they would ...


6

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 thought at different key moments in our history". In general they don't affirm a specific perspective on God, His omnipotence and benevolence and seem to accept ...


5

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 thought at different key moments in our history". In terms of the origin of the Torah, the original “Pittsburgh Platform” from 1885 avoids the issue of the origin ...


5

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 kohen and would be prohibited to him from an actual get, she may marry the kohen. Even though a rabbinic prohibition exists after giving an invalid get, this ...


5

Quick Note: I am a Jew of Orthodox affiliation. I will try to steer clear of stating my own thoughts, ideas, etc. I will, however, tell you where Orthodox and Reform Judaism diverge on various issues. I advise you to look through all of your options before undertaking such a large lifestyle change. Conversion to Judaism is more than just changing your ...


5

Yes, a Reform Jew can absolutely transgress a mitzvah. That Reform doesn't say up front "here are all the mitzvot you must accept" does not mean that no Reform Jew accepts any. Reform (as taught today; I can't speak to early history) isn't about rejecting mitzvot. A Reform Jew reaches an understanding of halacha through a different path than others, and ...


5

The logic of the description in The Tenets of Reform Judaism cited by @ARK96 would seem to imply that it is not a valid source for Noachides. The reason would be that Reform Judaism differs from the other major movements in that it views both the Oral and Written laws as a product of human hands Reform Judaism demands that Jews confront the claims ...


5

The Economist had a good report on Judaism and the Jews - alive and well. They used the following illustration to describe some key denominations of Judaism.


5

As in any group of Jews, there is variation in what people believe. The blog posts (which are not official positions of the Reform movement) bear this out, as do the survey results you reported. The Reform movement rejected a membership application from a congregation that billed itself as "secular humanist". At the individual level, a responsum ...


5

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 ...


5

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, converts who did not undergo specific tevilah for the sake of conversion, unless it can be shown that they are strictly observant Jews, particularly ...


4

It is possible for a Reform Jew to break Shabbos. From the perspective of traditional Judaism, it doesn't matter whether they believe in the laws. If they don't follow them, they are transgressing. From a Reform perspective, your description of Reform Judaism is inaccurate. The fact that hilchot Shabbos exist is indisputable. They're written in the Torah, ...


4

If there's a Torah reading, give her an aliyah, and afterwards do a Mi SheBerach prayer. The usual one blesses the person "for coming up for the honor of the Torah", but add in "and for saving lives with her blood." Or if she doesn't want an aliyah, have someone else do the aliyah, and include in their Mi Sheberach a blessing for Ms. So-and-so in honor of ...


4

I've found that I get the most engagement at a "mixed levels of religious interest" seder when there are lots of questions. Less-engaged people don't necessarily want to hear prepared divrei torah, at which they will feel like bystanders -- the cousins who have only Sunday-school education compared to the older teens, in your case. Next time, try this: ...


3

I once was asked to speak to a conservative bar/bat mitzvah class to introduce Orthodox Judaism. The other 3 rabbis had already spoken in previous meetings. Shavuot was approaching. After I finished, the Chazan (conservative) got up and made a fascinating comment, before opening the floor to Q&A. "isn't it interesting that the Conservative, Reform and ...


3

To me, I don't think you can really quantify "Reform Jewish theology". It's really dependent on the individual Reform Jew. Unlike in traditional Judaism, there really isn't a "creed" per se (I'm thinking of the Rambam's principles), people just think whatever seems best to them. You will find Reform Jews who are atheist and believe the entire Torah was ...


3

The reform movement accepts all modern critical scholarship about the Bible at face value. As such, they do not feel halacha is binding but have only two imperatives: monotheism and morality. There are reform traditionalists who like ritual but don't consider it obligatory and classical (I like to call them High Church because that's what their services feel ...


3

If her mother's conversion was valid, then she is Jewish. If her mother's conversion was invalid, then she is not Jewish. That's all there is to it. She can proceed from there however she wants.


3

The Talmud in Kidushin says that 'Ein adam oseh be'ilato be'ilat znut'. Which means that a man living with a woman does not have the intention for an act of prostitution, rather means to make her his wife. Whether this applies today is questionable, but here they did intend to get married, so I would assume it applies. The main problem is when they split up ...


3

This is a broad group of questions. Please permit me a focused answer. By the time you read to the end, I hope you will understand why I think there's no need to address each part individually. You seem like a serious, sincere and intelligent person. That, and the questions you ask, suggest to me that you are a terrible candidate for a Reform conversion. ...


3

All contemporary Orthodox poskim are in view that the reform movement, since denying commitment to the Tora is in fact like "raising it's hand against the Tora" (Meirim Yad Be-Toras Israel), hence it is forbidden to attend. The Gmara (Shabes, page 116) states that you are not allowed to enter their synagogue even when they are not davenning. Most poiskim ...


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