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The fundamental principles of today's Reform movement are captured in the Statement of Principles (http://www.ccarnet.org/platforms/principles.html) adopted by the CCAR in May 1999. The following are some excepts from that statement, modified slightly for FAQ presentation (e.g., "We" was changed to "Reform Jews", etc.). Note that the principles of Reform have changed over time, from the 1855 Pittsburgh Platform (http://www.ccarnet.org/platforms/pittsburgh.html) to the 1937 Columbus Platform (http://www.ccarnet.org/platforms/columbus.html), to the 1976 Centenary Perspective (http://www.ccarnet.org/platforms/centenary.html), to the 1999 Statement of Principles.
Reform Jews affirm the reality and oneness of G-d, even as we may differ in our understanding of the Divine presence.
Reform Jews affirm that the Jewish people is bound to G-d by an eternal b'rit, covenant, as reflected in our varied understandings of Creation, Revelation and Redemption.
Reform Jews affirm that every human being is created b'tzelem Elohim, in the image of G-d, and that therefore every human life is sacred.
Reform Jews regard with reverence all of G-d's creation and recognize our human responsibility for its preservation and protection.
Reform Jews encounter G-d's presence in moments of awe and wonder, in acts of justice and compassion, in loving relationships and in the experiences of everyday life.
Reform Jews respond to G-d daily: through public and private prayer, through study and through the performance of other mitzvot, sacred obligations -- bein adam la Makom, to G-d, and bein adam la-chaveiro, to other human beings.
Reform Jews strive for a faith that fortifies us through the vicissitudes of our lives -- illness and healing, transgression and repentance, bereavement and consolation, despair and hope.
Reform Jews continue to have faith that, in spite of the unspeakable evils committed against our people and the sufferings endured by others, the partnership of G-d and humanity will ultimately prevail.
Reform Jews trust in our tradition's promise that, although G-d created us as finite beings, the spirit within us is eternal.
Reform Jews affirm that Torah is the foundation of Jewish life.
Reform Jews cherish the truths revealed in Torah, G-d's ongoing revelation to our people and the record of our people's ongoing relationship with G-d.
Reform Jews affirm that Torah is a manifestation of ahavat olam, G-d's eternal love for the Jewish people and for all humanity.
Reform Jews affirm the importance of studying Hebrew, the language of Torah and Jewish liturgy, that we may draw closer to our people's sacred texts.
Reform Jews are called by Torah to lifelong study in the home, in the synagogue and in every place where Jews gather to learn and teach. Through Torah study Reform Jews are called to mitzvot, the means by which we make our lives holy.
Reform Jews are committed to the ongoing study of the whole array of mitzvot and to the fulfillment of those that address us as individuals and as a community. Some of these mitzvot, sacred obligations, have long been observed by Reform Jews; others, both ancient and modern, demand renewed attention as the result of the unique context of our own times.
Reform Jews bring Torah into the world when we seek to sanctify the times and places of our lives through regular home and congregational observance. Shabbat calls us to bring the highest moral values to our daily labor and to culminate the workweek with kedushah, holiness, menuchah, rest and oneg, joy. The High Holy Days call us to account for our deeds. The Festivals enable us to celebrate with joy our people's religious journey in the context of the changing seasons. The days of remembrance remind us of the tragedies and the triumphs that have shaped our people's historical experience both in ancient and modern times. And we mark the milestones of our personal journeys with traditional and creative rites that reveal the holiness in each stage of life.
Reform Jews bring Torah into the world when we strive to fulfill the highest ethical mandates in our relationships with others and with all of G-d's creation. Partners with G-d in tikkun olam, repairing the world, we are called to help bring nearer the messianic age. We seek dialogue and joint action with people of other faiths in the hope that together we can bring peace, freedom and justice to our world. We are obligated to pursue tzedek, justice and righteousness, and to narrow the gap between the affluent and the poor, to act against discrimination and oppression, to pursue peace, to welcome the stranger, to protect the earth's biodiversity and natural resources, and to redeem those in physical, economic and spiritual bondage. In so doing, we reaffirm social action and social justice as a central prophetic focus of traditional Reform Jewish belief and practice. We affirm the mitzvah of tzedakah, setting aside portions of our earnings and our time to provide for those in need. These acts bring us closer to fulfilling the prophetic call to translate the words of Torah into the works of our hands.
Reform Jews are Israel, a people aspiring to holiness, singled out through our ancient covenant and our unique history among the nations to be witnesses to G-d's presence. We are linked by that covenant and that history to all Jews in every age and place.
Reform Jews are committed to the mitzvah of ahavat Yisrael, love for the Jewish people, and to k'lal Yisrael, the entirety of the community of Israel. Recognizing that kol Yisrael arevim zeh ba-zeh, all Jews are responsible for one another, we reach out to all Jews across ideological and geographical boundaries.
Reform Jews embrace religious and cultural pluralism as an expression of the vitality of Jewish communal life in Israel and the Diaspora.
Reform Jews pledge to fulfill Reform Judaism's historic commitment to the complete equality of women and men in Jewish life.
Reform Jews are an inclusive community, opening doors to Jewish life to people of all ages, to varied kinds of families, to all regardless of their sexual orientation, to gerim, those who have converted to Judaism, and to all individuals and families, including the intermarried, who strive to create a Jewish home.
Reform Jews believe that we must not only open doors for those ready to enter our faith, but also to actively encourage those who are seeking a spiritual home to find it in Judaism.
Reform Jews are committed to strengthening the people Israel by supporting individuals and families in the creation of homes rich in Jewish learning and observance.
Reform Jews are committed to strengthening the people Israel by making the synagogue central to Jewish communal life, so that it may elevate the spiritual, intellectual and cultural quality of our lives.
Reform Jews are committed to Medinat Yisrael, the State of Israel, and rejoice in its accomplishments. We affirm the unique qualities of living in Eretz Yisrael, the land of Israel, and encourage aliyah, immigration to Israel.
Reform Jews are committed to a vision of the State of Israel that promotes full civil, human and religious rights for all its inhabitants and that strives for a lasting peace between Israel and its neighbors.
Reform Jews are committed to promoting and strengthening Progressive Judaism in Israel, which will enrich the spiritual life of the Jewish state and its people.
Reform Jews affirm that both Israeli and Diaspora Jewry should remain vibrant and interdependent communities. As we urge Jews who reside outside Israel to learn Hebrew as a living language and to make periodic visits to Israel in order to study and to deepen their relationship to the Land and its people, so do we affirm that Israeli Jews have much to learn from the religious life of Diaspora Jewish communities.
Reform Jews are committed to furthering Progressive Judaism throughout the world as a meaningful religious way of life for the Jewish people.
The FAQ is a collection of documents that is an attempt to answer questions that are continually asked on the soc.culture.jewish family of newsgroups. It was written by cooperating laypeople from the various Judaic movements. You should not make any assumption as to accuracy and/or authoritativeness of the answers provided herein. In all cases, it is always best to consult a competent authority--your local rabbi is a good place to start.
Hopefully, the FAQ will provide the answer to your questions. If it doesn't, please drop Email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The FAQ maintainer will endeavor to direct your query to an appropriate individual that can answer it. If you would like to be part of the group to which the maintainer directs questions, please drop a note to the FAQ maintainer at email@example.com.
© (c) 1993-2002
Daniel P. Faigin <firstname.lastname@example.org>