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< Sect. 17 Sect. 19 >

Section 18:
Reform/Progressive Judaism

Introduction to the Reform/Progressive FAQ

18.1 General Questions

  1. What is Reform Judaism?
  2. What, if any, are the fundamental principles of Reform?
  3. Is a Jew affiliated with Reform Judaism less "religious" than one affiliated with another movement?
  4. How is Reform Judaism structured in the North America?
  5. How is Reform Judaism structured in the rest of the world?
  6. How big is Reform Judaism?

18.2 History

  1. How did Reform Judaism start?
  2. Why did Reform Judaism start?
  3. I've heard reference to "Classic German Reform". What is it?
  4. What is Reform Judaism today?

18.3 What is Reform Judaism's position on...

  1. The authority of Torah?
  2. The authority of Talmud?
  3. What is acceptable practice?
  4. What is unacceptable practice?
  5. The necessity of belief in G-d?
  6. The role of Israel?
  7. Other Jewish movements?
  8. Homosexuality
  9. Intermarriage
  10. Abortion
  11. Mixed (Interfaith) Marriages
  12. The role of women
  13. Outreach
  14. How an individual's Jewish status is determined
  15. The Messiah

18.4 Stereotypes: The fallacy verses reality

  1. Fallacy: Reform Jews choose practice based solely on convenience
  2. Fallacy: Either patrilineal or matrilineal descent is accepted
  3. Fallacy: Reform Conversions take no study, and are for convenience only
  4. Fallacy: Reform Judaism encourages intermarriage
  5. Fallacy: Intermarried couples have exactly the same rights as non-intermarried couples in Reform Congregations
  6. Fallacy: Reform Judaism has Rabbis and congregations that don't believe in G-d
  7. Fallacy: There are no 3rd or 4th generation Reform Jews.
  8. Fallacy: An atheist could be considered a "good" Reform Jew
  9. Fallacy: Reform Jews don't have Bar Mitzvahs
  10. Fallacy: Reform totally ignores "Jewish" divorce (i.e., gets)
  11. Fallacy: All Reform Congregations Are Rich
  12. Fallacy: Reform Rabbis do not study Halacha
  13. Fallacy: Reform Jews don't care about Jewish ideals and principles.
  14. Fallacy: Reform Jews don't need to attend synagogue.
  15. Fallacy: Reform Jews don't believe in Zionism and don't support Israel.
  16. Fallacy: Reform Jews have no concept of the Messiah.
  17. Fallacy: Reform Jews do not observe Shabbat
  18. Fallacy: Reform Jews ignore the laws of Kashrut
  19. Fallacy: Reform rejects most of Maimonides 13 Principles of Faith

18.5 Differences from Traditional Judaism

  1. Why does Reform liturgy say "m'chayey hakol" [who gives life to all] instead of m'chayey meytim" [who gives life to the dead] ?
  2. What other changes to liturgy reflect Reform ideals?
  3. Why does Reform generally celebrate Rosh Hashanah for one day?
  4. How does a Reform conversion differ from an Orthodox conversion?

18.6 The Rabbinate

  1. How does one become a Reform Rabbi?
  2. What is the course of study for the Rabbinate?
  3. How does one become a Reform Cantor?
  4. What is the course of study for cantors?
  5. What other courses of study are available?
  6. Can Reform Rabbis be sanctioned for their beliefs

18.7 For Further Information

  1. How do I contact the main organizations in Reform Judaism?
  2. How do I find a Reform congregation?
  3. Are there any Reform Rabbis on the network who will answer questions?
  4. How do I start the conversion process?
  5. I'd like to do some further reading. Where do I start?

Special Credits for the Reform/Progressive FAQ

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© (c) 1993-2002 Daniel P. Faigin <maintainer@scjfaq.org>