Two events in the last 48 hours bring to the forefront once again the sad battle over pluralism. The Supreme Court of Israel ruled that persons converted in Reform and Conservative ceremonies outside of Israel, must be granted Jewish status under the Law of Return. The second is an attack upon Rabbi Berel Lazar one of Russia’s Chief Rabbis by the Reform Movement for an article that he wrote.
While I have not read Rabbi Lazar’s words published in Russian, the JTA (Jewish Telegraphic Agency) story on this battle CLEARLY outlines an article which while not politically correct discusses the facts that there is very little similarity between Reform and the Torah that was given to us at Sinai.
The Reform Movement has removed itself from the umbrella of halacha from the day they were founded.
Today in America their inter-marriage rate is close to 50%.THEY HAVE EMBRACED SAME SEX MARRIAGES AND THE WORST OF ALL PATRILINEAL DESCENT
Their observance of mitzvoth is celebrated by their non–observance
SHABBAT,TFILLIN,FAMILY PURITY AND MIKVEH, KASHRUT are part of the laws and traditions they have thrown in the garbage.
Are they socially conscious people-who give charity-I assume many are. But every world religion deals with being a “good person”
How many of Maimonides ‘s 13 principles of our faith do they believe in?
Rabbi Lazar is correct in that the history of the earliest Reform Jews and their Temples is the sad tale of assimilation, inter-marriage and failure to reproduce Jews.
The very founding of the Orthodox Union in 1898 by Rabbi Dr Henry Pereira Mendes was to counter the then dominant Reform movement .He spoke with fervor against the Reform movement which he contended was trampling the central tenets of torah Judaism He also attacked the Conservative movement, and noted that the latter was following the footsteps of Reform in defiling the core beliefs of the Jewish faith, albeit in a more gradual and less open way
This has remained our position today .However, the attacks by Reform which were then limited to America, now include Russia and other areas of the world including Israel .Remember that until well after 1948 the Reform movement was anti-Zionist
I personally believe that their major push in Israel is to gain a political foothold aiming for governmental recognition, on par with the Chief Rabbinate.This would be followed by the introduction of same sex marriages and patrilineal descent (currently taboo in Israel for fear of upsetting Israelis) in order to show Americans that despite their American inter-marriage rate and strange customs the Israeli government has recognized them as a legitimate and equeal stream of Judiasm
In fact the court decision will not allow even one of the so called “converts” by the Reform clergy to be married halachically.Moreover it transfers to Israel the terrible dilemma that for many years we have suffered with in America, namely two separate nations and people who cannot marry each other-halachically In Israel they will be the Supreme Court mandated non-halachic Jews and here in the U.S. the products of patrileneal descent or the intermarriage with a gentile non- halachically converted e .
How tragic will be the results when the progeny of one of these non-halachic individuals will desire in 20 or 30 years to unsuccessfully marry a HALACHIC JEW according to the laws of Moses and Israel –IT WON’T BE ALLOWED- Shame on the perpetrators of these acts!
On June 17 1997 in testifying on these issues before a Knesset committee I emphasized that we never accused reform or conservative of not being Jews. Nevertheless they have made tragic mistakes
I pointed out that after four generations 200 Reform Jews approximately 50 remain Jewish. I begged the Knesset not to bring to Israel the great tragedies that plague America SECONDARY to our following Reform doctrine
The Israel Supreme Court has done just that
One final thought regarding political correctness. Jews in America are a minority and despite our deep theological differences must remain civil and as united as possible to fight for Israel, against Islamic fundamentalism, anti-Semitism and Jewish poverty. Therefore these battles that occur in Russia or Israel should remain there. Here in America we should admit that these are issues we can never agree on and concentrate on common problems that we can perhaps solve.