Talk:Progressive Judaism

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Removed text[edit]

Progressive Judaism is an umbrella term for all strands of Judaism which do not view the oral law as binding. The terminology comes from seeing the Halakha ("Jewish law") as evolving through a progressive process of revelation, with some laws, as interpreted from scripture, being relevant for limited time periods. This is distinct from Halakhic Judaism (e.g. Orthodox Judaism), which believes that religious legislation was spontaneously revealed in its entirety, though written down and codified by Moses and others in later generations, making it binding for all time. In the U.K. Reform Judaism and Liberal Judaism together make up Progressive Judaism.

Definitions that have sources[edit]

In contrast, I have only heard of Progressive Judaism as being defined in the following way:

Progressive Judaism refers to any form of Judaism that rejects halakha, loosely translated as Jewish law and tradition, as having normative status, and instead holds that one's personal autonomy supercedes halakha.

  • Any form of non-halakhic Judaism, i.e. any form of Judaism which rejects the character of halakha as normative. This would include all of Reform Judaism in the USA, Progressive Judaism in the UK and in Israel, as well as Reconstructionist Judaism.

I have not come across any definitions of this term which center only on Judaism's oral law. In fact, that definition cannot be correct. As written, the article implies that Reform Judaism views the written law (The Torah) as binding, but only rejects the oral law. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. To the best of my knowledge, no form of progressive Judaism accepts any part of the written law (Bible) or oral law (rabbinic literature) as normative (i.e. to be accepted upon one's self as binding.) All forms of Progressive Judaism encourage the individual to reject any Jewish beliefs, laws or traditions that violates "contemporary conscience or consciousness", as shown below:

Progressive Judaism sees Judaism as a way of life and an overall perspective that includes, among others, mitzvot (commandments) between people and God; yet the fulfillment of these mitzvot is not necessarily the focal center of action. Progressive Judaism emphasizes the central importance of mitzvot between people, of personal morality and social justice - Tikkun Olam. Progressive Judaism rejects ideas and commandments that contradict the contemporary Jew's conscience or consciousness.
Progressive Judaism opposes any form of coercion on obeying mitzvot. The individual is expected - and obligated - to determine in a sovereign and intelligent manner his or her spiritual life. This means that Progressive Jews are not monolithic in their ways: some, for example, will emphasize the laws of kashrut (dietary laws) while others might see these as being outdated. Some Progressive Jews observe

Explanations of revisions as of October 7, 2007[edit]

I have revised this article extensively to provide a representation that uses less prejudicial language and is, I believe, more reflective of how Progressive Jews see themselves. The following changes have been made:

  1. The lead sentence has been revised to reflect the beliefs stated by the World Union for Progressive Judaism and supported in numerous regional FAQs and statements of belief. Each of these have been cited. I urge anyone wanting to revise the lead sentence to review these statements before doing so.
  2. The paragraphs attempting to enumerate Progressive beliefs has been replace with a section emphasizing the historic and regional variety of beliefs. Although there are common themes (as evidenced by the lead sentence), any brief uncited attempt to detail beliefs will inevitably run into problems of prejudice and oversimplification. The Judaism articles are riddled with such statements and I think it important that we not reinforce them in this article. Progressive belief and practice is intellectually and psychologically complex. It cannot be reduced to a few catch phrases any more than can Orthodox Jewish belief. It is far too easy to take potshots at each other when we allow ourselves such oversimplifications. Therefore I beg anyone wanting to expand this section to read sources carefully and make sure you are aware of complex issues (example of one such complex topic: how progressive Jews experience a sense of commandness and obligation without the need to resort to traditional beliefs about the authorship of the Torah).
  3. The two paragraphs under "Belief and Practice" have numerous uncited statements. At least one of these (the assertion that Progressive tradition has its roots in the earliest layers of Jewish tradition) is likely to be highly controversal and disturbing to some readers. I ask editors' patience. While this statement is vehemently disavowed by many, if not most, Orthodox Jews, the idea that Judaism has repeatedly integrated the beliefs of surrounding peoples is fundamental almost to the point of assumption in much of biblical scholarship and to many scholars of the Jewish historico-critical school. I will add appropriate citations (if someone hasn't done it already for me :-)) over the next week or so.
  4. I request that editors who feel strongly negative about statements in this revision, express those concern using appropriate cited statements in an "Orthodox criticism" section and let progressive Judaism speak in its own voice in the section on beliefs and practices. I have expressed my reservations elsewhere about the practice of including "Orthodox criticism" sections, but for now that seems to be the current practice. (I don't like the idea of war breaking out should some Progressive Jews decide to start adding "Progressive criticism" sections)
  5. I have also expanded the list of progressive organizations to give a better feel for the global reach and organizational complexity of the progressive movement. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Egfrank (talkcontribs) 11:52, 7 October 2007 (UTC)

Change to Judaism assessment[edit]

  • Importance: changed to top - this is one of three major streams of contemporary Judaism
  • Class: changed to stub - there is a *huge* amount of material missing on Progressive beliefs.

Egfrank 13:03, 7 October 2007 (UTC)

History of belief[edit]

HG, This is a good try - however it is actually not consistent with the literature. The history doesn't really work like that. Hegel and Kant's impact was somewhat indirect for example. A very good survey of their impact can be found in Borowitz's Renewing the Covenant. The first third of the book is a very dense review of secular universalism and its impact on the German and American reforming movements.

The terms "liberal" and "reform" developed later and exist in many countries (German, Netherlands, even the US!) with many meanings. I disagree with your edits but it is my personal policy to only change existing edits (especially well meaning one's like yours) when I'm ready to add cited material.

In the meantime, I encourage you to read further and revise your comments. A very good source is Michael Meyer's Response to Modernity. This is probably considered as standard a work as any. However, I would not rely on only one source. It is a good idea to check the literature for historians who have clarified, debated, extended or disagreed with him.

You might also want to take a look at some of the discussions between User:Wolf2191 and myself at Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject Progressive Judaism#Abraham Geiger and Leopold Zunz. It discusses in some detail problems relating to beliefs and organization names. Kol tuv, Egfrank 14:56, 28 October 2007 (UTC)

Please, go Bold here. I'm not planning to work on this article much, sorry, or defend my edits. Just a little nudge to try to inspire you and others to build this section. L'hit, HG | Talk 15:11, 28 October 2007 (UTC)
As stated below, my suggestion here was imprecise. Sorry. HG | Talk 01:54, 4 November 2007 (UTC)
Fair enough - its not the first time I've been accused of getting stuck in the planning stage. :-) Thanks. Egfrank 15:20, 28 October 2007 (UTC)
PS Not sure if you noticed that my edits just condensed the main articles' texts. Except for the throwaway line on Kant, who is surely a factor, but maybe not mentioned in the main article. HG | Talk 15:35, 28 October 2007 (UTC)
I did notice. :-) Egfrank 15:45, 28 October 2007 (UTC)

Serious discussions about using the names Reform vs. Progressive Judaism[edit]

Please see the present discussions at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Countering systemic bias/open tasks#WikiProject Judaism needs help - geographical bias concerns. Your input would be greatly appreciated. (They are the result of discussions that unfolded at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Judaism#Concern about duplicating Reform and Progressive labels.) Thank you, IZAK 09:19, 30 October 2007 (UTC)

Section on Relationship between Progressive, Liberal, and Reform[edit]

Has anyone has seen an article dedicated to this topic?

The historical, regional and present day relationship between the three terms seems to cause so much confusion to some, that I think a section on this has to be included. However, the only way I could write such a section was to summarize relevant portions of histories focused on other topics (e.g. history of ideas). This isn't my ideal way of sources - not quite OR or SYNTH, but pretty darn close. A source specifically focused on terminology within the progressive movement would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks, Egfrank 06:38, 2 November 2007 (UTC)

I appreciate your raising this question. I believe that the summary in the article reads somewhat like an essay or opinion piece. If you don't mind my saying so, it also seems to be rather leaning to the views that you've expressed in the ongoing dispute over the names (esp Progressive, Reform) and their relationship. Therefore, I've deleted the summary from the article and moving it here, for further discussion. Thanks. HG | Talk 16:02, 2 November 2007 (UTC)

This is the disputed section:

Today, only the term "Progressive Judaism" has a consistent world-wide meaning. "Reform Judaism" may refer to either US or UK Reform. UK Reform is considerably more conservative about changes to tradition than is US Reform and there are significant historical and practical differences between the two movements, despite their common Progressive beliefs. Similarly both the UK and Netherlands have "Liberal" movements. However, UK Liberal is considerably less conservative than is Dutch Liberal. Reform Judaism is also used in historical contexts to refer to the 19th century German religious reform movement triggered by the Haskalah.
In some regions of the world, most notably the US and Germany, the terms "Liberal", "Reform", and "Progressive Judaism" are used interchangably.[1] In other places, such as the UK, the terms "liberal" and "reform" Judaism have strong historical and regional associations and cannot be used interchangably with Progressive Judaism. For example, the progressive movement in the UK is divided into a Liberal and Reform faction. Both organizations share the beliefs and philosophical commitments of Progressive Judaism. Both are active members in the WUPJ and other progressive institutions. None-the-less they function as separate organizations and have different policies on patrilineal descent, intermarriage, homosexuality, and the role of tradition. "Progressive judaism" is the only term available when discussing their commonalities rather than their differences.

I could try to underline or strikethrough what I would consider unreferenced or non-neutral, I'm not sure what would work best. Thanks. HG | Talk 16:02, 2 November 2007 (UTC)

Actually, I think Egfrank gives a very accurate summary of what is actually the situation in each locality. But I think the article may flow better without this at the top, so for the moment at least maybe we can leave it here until more of the article is developed. Jheald 17:54, 2 November 2007 (UTC)
A few comments. 1st sentence seems geared to our dispute, otherwise why "only" here? 2nd sentence again for our dispute or just inaccurate, since "Reform" is used more broadly by numerous scholars (don't make me rehash our whole dispute here). 3rd sentence is an evaluative generalization about Liberal and Reform, plus arguably not about the relationship of Prog to either one (which is the section heading). 5th sentence contrasts with the 2nd. Next para, 1st sentence seems to contradict claim of 1st sentence of 1st para. The UK analysis is also not the section topic. Instead of generalized opinion/conjecture, I would stick to the technical nomenclature and formal relationships, or use some balanced scholarly comparative text(s). As noted below, I also might move this section to Reform Judaism pending resolution of the dispute. HG | Talk 18:13, 2 November 2007 (UTC)

HG - I respect the effort you have put into this, but "more broadly" is a semantic statement. To make a semantic claim, you must study the usage context and answer the following questions: (a) based on context, is the statement intended broadly or is it descriptive of a particular period of time and/or location. (b) if the passage does not explicitly state the scope of usage or is intended broadly, you need to consider the author's point of view - authors are more likely to use the local lingo so the choice of word may be affected by the author's sitz-in-leban - i.e. time period and geographical perspective. Your conclusion that "Reform" is used more broadly by scholars is based on comparing usage counts without regard to context. I'm not sure you have ever adequately addressed this issue. If you have, please feel free to cut and paste the comments here rather than rewrite your arguments.

Before you spend further time pushing this argument, I'd like you to consider the following citation from here:

In general, throughout the reading lists, North American (US/Canada) terms are used to refer to the movements of Judaism. Outside of North American, Reform is Progressive or Liberal Judaism; Conservative is Masorti or Neolog, and Orthodoxy is often just "Judaism". Even with this, there are differences in practice, position, and ritual between US/Canada Reform and other progressive/liberal movements (such as UK Progressive/ Liberal), and between US/Canada Conservative and the conservative/Masorti movement elsewhere. Where appropriate, these differences will be highlighted.
One of the four major movements within Judaism, the Reform or Liberal Movement (the term "Reform" seems to be more prevalent in the U.S.A., "Liberal" or "Progressive" elsewhere) began in the 1800's in Germany during the enlightenment.

The above demonstrates that the editors of the Shamash FAQ (a) believe that usage is dependent on author's geographical point of view (b) usages varies by Geographical region (c) that the terms Reform/Liberal/Progressive point to a movement with a common core but regional variations. In other words, context matters.

The belief that these three movements represent a single entity is also echoed by Meyer, Response to modernity who begins his preface thusly:

Well over a million Jews in the world today identify themselves religiously as Reform, Liberal, or Progressive...They represent that branch of Judaism which has been most hospitable to the modern critical termper while still endeavoring to maintain continuity of faith and practice with Jewish religious tradition. p. vii

As for his use of "Reform Judaism" (as opposed to a Reform movement) he says:

Clearly another term than "Reform Judaism" is therefore preferable, one which broadly encompasses the modern effort to bring about Jewish religious reform and is not limited by self-designation or instituational boundaries....It therefore seems most adequate to speak of a "Reform movement" which eventually produced Reform Judaism. The capital "R" in this case does not at the beginning represent insitutional identity, but simply a unity of purpose."

Given the above I find it quite difficult to understand your conviction that Meyer supports the idea that "Reform Judaism" is the proper term for all of the regional and historical movements that variously call themselves "Reform", "Liberal" or "Progressive". In fact he explicitly disagrees with this point. It would appear here, that his own choice of a "broad term" is a "Reform movement" and if we were to title a "main" article based on Meyer's point of view it would be called "Reform movement (Judaism)" not "Reform Judaism".

When Meyer actually talks about "Judaism"s rather than movements, he is quite careful of both historical and geographic context. Meyers only uses the term "Reform Judaism" in connection with the USA and UK. "Liberal Judaism" is used only in connection with pre-WWII Europe and post-WWII UK. "Progressive Judaism" covers everything except the USA:

  • Judaism (no qualifier): pp. 3-205 covering the Reform movement in Europe up until 1883 and various places thereafter
  • Liberal Judaism:
    • pp. 205-224,335-339,344 covering Europe (UK and continental) from 1883-1939.
    • pp. 347 UK (1940-1977)
  • Reform Judaism:
    • pp. 227-334, 353-384 covering the USA from 1823-1970's when the history stops
    • pp. 347 UK (1940-1977)
  • Progressive Judaism: pp.339-352 referring to both the WUPJ and to congregations and movements in the following countries from 1926 and beyond: UK, Europe, South Africa, Australia, South America, Israel

Thus Meyer's use of terms in order number of countries included (geographic breath):

  1. Progressive Judaism (all countries world wide except USA)
  2. Liberal Judaism (all countries in Europe)
  3. Reform Judaism (USA, UK only)

Best, Egfrank 01:22, 4 November 2007 (UTC)

Egfrank, as I said above, I'm not sure it's fruitful to rehash (or extend) the dispute here. If you want this article to cover the beliefs, practices and history of this branch of Judaism (i.e., using the progressive name), then you need to first propose a change to the Reform Judaism article. You can propose to AfD, rename or merge it. We can then discuss your proposal and get it a decision on it. That's the proper way to handle what you want. I certainly won't mind if the decision goes your way. Otherwise, as described below, the overlap with Reform Judaism will be seen (by me and likely others) as a POV fork and unnecessarily disruptive. If you advocate your approach in a proper way, I think it will get a fair reception and may be accepted. Thanks. HG | Talk 02:09, 4 November 2007 (UTC)
Lest you think me unfriendly, let me suggest a specific idea you might find acceptable, though presumably not your first choice. Based on your view of Meyer, you might propose: (1) an article named "Reform movement (Judaism)" to cover the intellectual and social history, core beliefs and practices (generalized), summary style overview of its entities, based on current Reform Judaism; (2) a reworked Reform Judaism for American version, with a disambiguating "See..." to much smaller UK version; (3) Progressive Judaism as the internationalizing initiative of the "Reform movement (Judaism)," (4) UK Liberal, Israeli Prog, WUPJ, etc articles. Again, the proper way to proceed would be to propose the Rename/split of the Reform Judaism article on its page. HG | Talk 02:35, 4 November 2007 (UTC)

HG, as User:Jheald has pointed out, the current article is hardly a content fork and a merge would be inappropriate:

  • The Reform Judaism article explicitly says it covers only US, UK, Isreali portions of the movement - that is only 3 out of 42 countries. It contains a scant paragraph discussing commonalities and differences amongst only those countries. As it currently stands it can hardly be called an overview article of the thing that Meyer calls the "Reform movement".
  • By contrast the material in Progressive Judaism covers commonalities amongst all 42 countries. In doing so it is the very opposite of a content or POV fork - rather it is developing a carefully documented core set of material that can be linked to by each regional movement article, discussions of differences between current day movements, and so on. Without it, we would have to repeat much of this material on each and every non-orthodox movement moniker that had an article: Conservative, Humanist, Reform, Liberal, Reconstructionist, and Renewal.
  • The Progressive Judaism article (or whatever we eventually call it) is going to be quite long. The Reform Judaism article is already well over the recommended WP:LENGTH. A merge would only aggrevate the problem. It is more important that we think about how to break up this large and complex topic into manageable (and readable) chunks.

A delete would also be inappropriate - the term Reform Judaism is notable, albeit ambiguous when placed in a larger historical or geographical context (a point also made by Meyers and well as our dispute) and amply supported by the many references to the term in google, RAMBY, and elsewhere.

A better solution would be to split the Reform Judaism article into four different articles:

and convert Reform Judaism into a disambiguation page pointing to all four articles, plus Progressive Judaism (or whatever we eventually name it).

Splitting up that overlong article would involve no loss of information - there is little or no glue between the four components of that article. It is simply one long composite of four things that should have been placed in separate articles long ago:

  • The Pre-1883 German Reform movement is not the sole property of the US or UK Reform, nor the Israeli Progressive movement. It isn't even the sole property of Progressive Judaism in toto. Conservative and Masorti movements also can lay claim to that heritage, especially the portions that lead to the creation of the historical-critical school. Furthermore, it also represents a chapter in the history of German philosophy. By not having it in its own article we run the risk of its content being duplicated in several different places.
  • Placing the pre-1883 German Reform movement into a Reform Judaism article is cramping it. There is a *lot* of missing material about disputes, convocations, steps forward and back. Hirsch is just one of many dissenting voices that need to be included in the story.
  • The 3 regional movement articles also do not have space to grow and thrive when they are mushed together into a single article.

Nor are we ready for a rename just yet. The ultimate name for this article needs further study. So far we have as possibilities:

  • Reform movement (Judaism) - can be justified using Meyer
  • Progressive Judaism - can be justified by the claim that this is how the collective movements have self identified
  • other - may arise upon reading additional historians. Without looking at the literature we have no way of knowing how well Meyer's name for this movement was accepted. Nor do we know if there were other proposals. I am loathe to rely on the opinion of one historian.

Once we have identified all the notable names available, then and only then is it time to discuss which name is main and which is a redirect.

Sorry, if this comes across as "thinking" too much - but I feel the analytical-academic way is the only solution that lets us accommodate all notable views of this complex topic. Egfrank 03:25, 4 November 2007 (UTC)

I missed your addition when I saved this... could it be that we are moving closer together here? Egfrank 03:33, 4 November 2007 (UTC)
Closer? That would be nice. I'm fine w/3 proposed titles above, though better to avoid parentheses. However, we haven't agree on the main article for the movement/branch. A dab page is inadequate and unnecessary because the main article can use summary style links. In terms of the possibilities above, I agree that Progressive Judaism is plausible but I think your "Reform movement (Judaism)" (better: "Reform movement in Judaism") is superior for reasons not-to-be-rehashed. Meanwhile, it's Reform Judaism and our editing should not disrupt that status quo. HG | Talk 13:19, 4 November 2007 (UTC)
Um...sorry, but if there is a status quo about the main article (prior to my involvement) - it would have to be Progressive Judaism. Since 00:33, 21 November 2005 (2 years ago) this article has stated that
Egfrank 14:40, 4 November 2007 (UTC)
You don't need be sorry or even argue it. Just please propose a move/delete/merge of Reform Judaism, which currently includes various stuff about the progressive/reform movement's history, beliefs, criticism, organizations globally, etc. If the 2 yr old history of this article strengthens your case, then bring that up. I'm not trying to undermine your conviction -- if you're right and I'm wrong, I promise to accept it graciously. But: there's a dispute about where to place the content, we've discussed it in various places, so either call the question (i.e., move/delete/merge) or keep discussing it -- but for pete's sake, stop putting overlapping content in this article. It's very, well, unprogressive to proceed in this fashion. ;-) HG | Talk 16:04, 4 November 2007 (UTC)

Copying and overlap[edit]

Um...stop putting overlapping content in this article? May I gently remind you that *you* have just copied sections of the Progressive Judaism article over to Reform Judaism. Please compare this edit:
Initially, the reformers did not call for a separate organizational movement. They convened synods but did not formally establish independent denomination or rabbinical body. However, reform efforts shifted after the German state allowed the Jewish community to separate its organizational structures, including congregations. During the 1840's and 1850's, separate reform congregations were set up in two major centers of the German Jewish, [[Frankfort|Frankfort]] and [[Berlin|Berlin]]. No other separatist reform congregations were established for decades and key reformers, including Geiger, did not serve in these separate synagogues. added 14:23, 4 November 2007 by User:HG
to this edit (about an hour earlier): 13:17, 4 November 2007. I've highlighted the verbatim copied material and italicised the paraphrased material.
All of this material is GPL'd so you are of course free to copy it. And I even like the writing style in your paraphrase better than mine sometimes. However, you are being disingenious and dishonest to imply that I copied the material from the Reform Judaism article, not to mention coming awfully close to plagerism (by claiming that Reform Judaism, i.e. you, are the origin. GPL doesn't give you the right to claim authorship of other people's work.
BTW - when you copy material, you might want to keep the citations - they're important. Egfrank 16:44, 4 November 2007 (UTC)
What I am doing is paraphrasing, not copying. I believe that copying is not acceptable under GFDL (due to lost edit histories). Your writing is good and well-sourced. I don't want to have to paraphrase it and put it in the main article, it's a waste of my time and I would rather have you make the contributions. All I'm trying to do is place the balanced improvements, you are suggesting and formulating, into the proper article. Together, we could collaboratively clean up Reform Judaism, which has both gaps and serious POV issues (IMO). However, now we're working at cross purposes. I'm asking you to (1) stop adding content here that overlaps with the scope of Reform Judaism, (2) either discuss the overlapping articles more or propose a move/merge/delete decision. I'm not going to keep repeating this request. I will try to get outside help, via admin or WP:DR help, to examine the reasonableness (and implementation, if reasonable) of my request. Thanks. HG | Talk 17:56, 4 November 2007 (UTC)
PS You wrote: "periodically met in synods, but did not formally organize into an independent denomination or rabbinic association." I rephrased: "They convened synods but did not formally establish independent denomination or rabbinical body." Yours is both better and more grammatically correct. HG | Talk 18:10, 4 November 2007 (UTC)

PROBLEM -- This is getting out of hand. Jheald just created a POV fork, German Reform movement (Judaism). This clearly violates Wikipedia editing rules. If you all aren't being clear about how the dispute needs to be handled, you'll be confusing your own "side" about how to collaborate in Wikipedia. HG | Talk 18:10, 4 November 2007 (UTC)

No HG - and please be careful with accusations like WP:POVFORK - they generally imply vandelism and User:Jheald is trying to help us all out. He is, I think, trying to implement the idea of a German Reform article that will provide the intellectual history for all movements that grew out of the 19th century German reform movement. That will ultimately reduce the risk of POV. Give him a break.... it takes a lot of time and hard work to make a good article.
But just to eliminate the problem, I'm going to delete the german reform section and replace it with a link to the main article. End of POV fork. Egfrank 18:28, 4 November 2007 (UTC)
A POV fork is disruptive but it's not vandalism. Since I've already raised a caution about this kind of editing, I'm not inclined to "give a break" to Jheald. HG | Talk 19:48, 4 November 2007 (UTC)
HG - please read WP:POVFORK - it starts by cautioning us against making the claim and reminds us of the importance of Assume good faith. Jheald wasn't trying to get away from your opinion - really there are larger issues here. Try to listen to him instead of biting him. Everybody has something valuable to say if you try hard enough to hear it. Egfrank 20:51, 4 November 2007 (UTC)
HG - thank you for the complement and thank-you for recognizing the gaps and POV issues, but what material do you think I duplicated? The only duplicate material I see is material that you copied/paraphrased *after* I wrote it. Egfrank 18:24, 4 November 2007 (UTC)

Avoiding a POV fork[edit]

It seems that we have the following situation. There is a "content dispute" among editors over name (and maybe some related aspects of scope) of the main article about a branch of Judaism (progressive/reform/liberal). Currently, much of the 200-year history is located in a long-standing Reform Judaism article. This dispute among editors has been carried on in several Talk pages. The dispute remains unresolved.

Recently, there is increased editing to add history writing that basically covers the same ground as Reform Judaism. I may have encouraged this myself, and I apologize for not being more precise or careful about what is appropriate for this article (in my opinion, of course, since this is disputed). I appreciate the enthusiasm and knowledge that supports this writing, but writing it here is problematic:

First and foremost, it is inappropriate to try to resolve ("win") a content dispute by editing away. The more this article resembles the history coverage in Reform Judaism, the more such duplication looks like what we call a POV fork. Such forks are unacceptable, according to WP policy.

Second, all of us might want to consider other ways of resolving our editing dispute. I can think of several established mechanisms. (1) Somebody could propose that the Reform Judaism be deleted or merged into Progressive Judaism. The outcome of the proposal could resolve the dispute. (2) Similarly, somebody could propose that Reform Judaism be renamed ("Moved") to either Progressive Judaism (i.e., replacing this article) or to Reform Judaism (American) as a more localized article. (3) Conversely, somebody could propose that this article be deleted. (Or merged partly into Reform and partly into World Union for Progressive Judaism.) Well, this may not exhaust the options but it shows some of acceptable ways of handling the dispute.

Third, if this article is a POV Fork (in whole or part), then several actions could be taken to remedy the situation. I suppose this could be interpreted as a warning, though honestly I feel rather friendly and receptive to both the topic and the authors. Some actions could be placed on the article itself, e.g., deletion or page protection. Other actions could be taken to prevent individuals from editing a POV fork. Whether or not such actions are merited is hard for me to say, since the decisions would need to be made by other parties.

In short, I highly recommend that we try to continue to resolve the dispute before further editing, in order to avoid a POV fork problem. HG | Talk 15:45, 2 November 2007 (UTC)

To further clarify: I am in favor of keeping this article, if we can avoid a POV fork from the main. This means not duplicating the proper coverage of the main. Thus, if sources can be found that differentiate Progressive Judaism from what is known (also) as the reform branch of Judaism, then these differences certainly belong here. If the two are basically overlapping and only differ in name, then there's a problem. HG | Talk 16:21, 2 November 2007 (UTC)
Let's hang loose and take a slightly longer view here. It seems to me Egfrank is putting together a solid, well-sourced and thoughtfully structured article. I think there is a lot to be said for standing back for a few weeks and seeing where it goes. I don't think it's a POV fork, because I don't think it's POV -- on the contrary, this article seems eminently well sourced, balanced and analytical.
So I think we should let things run for a few weeks, even if there is substantial overlap. Once there's some solid text to look at ("Show me the code!" in software-development speak), it becomes much more easy and more concrete to discuss how the total pool of material should be maybe named and refactored. (This is in fact what I think you suggested some days ago - concentrate on writing articles and material first, naming and re-factoring can be sorted out in good time).
Egfrank seems to me to have set out a good structure in this article, and to be going to cover a lot of material not very well treated in the current Reform Judaism article. Let's let Egfrank write his/her ideal article, and then see what we think. Jheald 18:16, 2 November 2007 (UTC)
Here's the key -- it's not whether you think it's POV or not, it's whether it has "substantial overlap" which makes it a fork. The POV aspect is that it's being developed to compete with the main article, apparently as a means of settling a POV-related dispute. The article isn't owned by any individual, so it's not a question of giving Egfrank (or anyone, nothing personal) a free rein for a few weeks. As I said, my earlier comment (concentrate on writing) was a mistake because I didn't realize that this dispute was so entrenched. I'm willing to (or may) move the content here to the status quo main article, but if the point is to keep it here, then that's what a Fork is all about.
Let me reiterate, though I am concerned you may not believe me, that I don't have a personal stake with either term usage. I do believe the data strongly supports "Reform" but I also want this dispute to be settled in a proper way. If you'd like, I can initiate one of these processes (described above, eg AfD or Requested More or Merge) myself. Thanks. HG | Talk 18:30, 2 November 2007 (UTC)
PS If you want a place to develop drafts, you can use a User Subpage and have a free rein there. Still, it's the placement of the text into (which) article that could be problematic.
Seems to me there might be a case for starting Wikipedia:WikiProject Progressive Judaism/temp/Progressive, Reform and Liberal Judaism, with the ultimate intention to fold both this article, and the one at Reform Judaism into it, so we'd finally have a single inclusively-named proper top-level article on the whole movement worldwide.
What do other editors think? Jheald 18:57, 2 November 2007 (UTC)
On the other hand, while the Reform Judaism article is specifically focussed on different meanings of that pair of words, there seems to be a clear gap for an article that develops the broader picture. So I can see no objection to further fleshing-out here of the headings Egfrank has created -- the things that bring all the WUPJ affiliates together, even those not called "Reform". Jheald 19:12, 2 November 2007 (UTC)
Jheald, the WikiProjects aren't that big a deal, our main goal and "products" are the articles. Otherwise, I think asking what other editors think is excellent. One way to handle the POV-fork question is through an RfC. (Others ways include WP:EAR.) HG | Talk 21:06, 2 November 2007 (UTC)
Look closer - that long link isn't a WikiProject, it's a scratch page :-) Note the "/" separators. But I'm more and more thinking my second insticts were right, and it actually makes more sense to edit a live page here. Jheald 00:50, 3 November 2007 (UTC)
You're right! Ok, I'll move draft text there. HG | Talk 13:42, 4 November 2007 (UTC)

Shavua tov all. The reason this needs to be on a live page is that it is *not* User:Egfrank's article, but Wikipedia's article. Articles are supposed to be developed collectively by editors researching the topic. Hiding an article in a user area or project subpage prevents collaboration. Given the controversy that has been created by this article, it is especially important that it be edited in the open where statements with inadequate citation can be challenged.

Responding to these challenges also requires teamwork that is only possible in a live article. Finding, reading, and citing material, is quite time consuming and as much as possible the burden of this work should be shared. Egfrank 21:17, 3 November 2007 (UTC)


Hi! As the various content issues appear to have developed over the last few weeks, want to suggest that this project might benefit from taking advantage of some Wikipedia's dispute resolution procedures. Among other possibiilities, Wikipedia has a mediation cabal, a group of informal mediators who attempt to mediate on a strictly voluntary basis; there is also a formal Wikipedia:Mediation committee and process. Perhaps you might want to consider one of the more informal approaches. Since Wikipedia:WikiProject Judaism editors tend to be a bit opinionated, there might be value in taking advantage of what Wikipedia has to offer and finding a mediator who is divorced from the subject and who simply helps you clarify and negotiate the various issues. Best, --Shirahadasha 04:13, 5 November 2007 (UTC)

The process was started last night - see [1]. If you have some suggestions of how to word a request so that it is more likely to get interest, recommend away. Egfrank 05:18, 5 November 2007 (UTC)

/* Beliefs and Practices */ explaination of restored material, expansions[edit]

I've restored the cited material, fixed some links, and expanded the information on regional differences.

I've also put back section headings since these are supported by a citation and filled them in with bullet items. They are in place to invite others to add what they know about the common beliefs shared by the various regional movements (hint, hint). Egfrank —Preceding comment was added at 13:32, 5 November 2007 (UTC)

How about handling this material -- beliefs, practices, doctrines, ethics, etc -- in a spin-off article? This can be merged with the material you've tagged in Reform Judaism? Meanwhile, please add summary narrative to the summary style in Reform Judaism article because it shouldn't be left with blank sections. If you could at least copy your fine summary narratives to the parallel sections (eg North America) there, that would be sufficient placeholder for further drafting. (Also need recap for UK section here, but you probably are well aware and working hard on all these gaps). Thanks! HG | Talk 16:24, 7 November 2007 (UTC)

Intellectual history[edit]

I would say that this is closely bound up with the history of the Haskalah. Shmuel Feiner has some excellent books on the subject. He writes for instance that the Haskalah predates Mendelssohn by decades, Mendelssohn at most attempted to direct existing Enlightment trends in the direction of tradition. I would say that the intellectual history in terms of philosophy starts wth Mendelssohn in the 17th century (particulary his distinction between natural universal law and national ceremonial laws). Then continues with his students {notably David Friedlander. Geiger, Holdheim, et. al. were only further modulating existing trends.Wolf2191 06:18, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

Very interesting - it makes a lot of sense. Meyer (Response to Modernity) says pretty much what you said about Mendelssohn but he doesn't really elaborate. I wonder if you would be willing to add a summary (with citations and wiki links) to the German Reform movement (Judaism)? - there is also a section on the development of the Historical-Critical school that could probably use your well-read eye. Egfrank 08:06, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

This article is a good summation of Feiner's view: [2]

I'm afraid my internet access is limited to weekends for the moment so I cannot contribute as much as I would like. Will try to work on the areas you mentioned. RE: the section on the Historical-Critical school, I've always understood that this term was specific for R' Zacharias Frankel's movement (usually understood as proto-conservativism, though I think he could easily fit into the rubric of Neo-Orthodoxy). I don't think Mendelssohn is really relevant to that section. Don't recall Geiger or Zunz using the term Historical-critical. Best.Wolf2191 16:16, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

Beliefs and practices - main article[edit]

The main article link has been removed. The article is still under development, has serious problems with synthesis, bias, WP:UNDUE, errors of fact, and non-sequitors. Though I am sure the editor working on the article will eventually fix these problems, the article is not yet mature enough to function as a main article for Progressive Judaism beliefs and practices. Egfrank 03:03, 11 November 2007 (UTC)

US Liberal - evidence of usage outside of Borowitz[edit]

A user removed this paragraph under the mistaken impression that its purpose was polemical. The book "Liberal Judaism" which is cited in the deleted section is a classic presentation of American non-orthodox thought by the noted theologian Eugene Borowitz. The following google hits show that the term has use outside of Borowitz with roughly the same meaning (US Reform+Reconstructionist+Conservative) Judaism:

/displaystory.html Israelis indifferent to conversion bill, liberal Judaism]

Orthodoxy on the term[edit]

An appeal to higher standards. I'll explain why I deleted this little section. I understand the point, which is that the Orthodox don't like "progressive" and prefer reform, which is a more pejorative term for the Orthodox. Fine, point taken. And this can help explain why some WP folks either feel that progressive is preferable, or that there is an unfair Orthodox POV against progressive, etc. This could well be important for how we decide about article naming -- but it really odd to put it in the article. It's not very notable, considering everything else that can be said about Progressive Judaism (and it's relation to Orthodoxy), and it comes from a pretty low level source. If we start putting this kind of polemical junk into the article, then we're headed down a slippery slope, both in terms of less reliable sources and in terms of having to report all sorts of insults, name-calling etc. Having spent about 1/8 of my adult life dealing fairly diplomatically with Talk:Allegations of Israeli apartheid, I can assure you that we are all better off keeping this article up to a higher standard. By all means, let's write about Orthodoxy's vehement opposition to this branch of Judaism, but let's not simply focus on the terms reform/progressive because we (as wikipedians) have a dispute over the article name. Ok? HG | Talk 04:20, 15 November 2007 (UTC)

Well, now I see the same kind of issue, in a sense, elsewhere in the article. It's as if the article is written in places in order to argue over or explain the naming. But really, most readers aren't that invested in the nuances and chronology etc of the naming. Maybe to put this in a Wikipedia sense, do you think strong, reliable sources are putting as much attention on the terms in proportion to the overall article? Please let's avoid using the article(s) to score points on the article naming etc dispute. Thanks. HG | Talk 04:30, 15 November 2007 (UTC)
I think Afg is in order here. Perhaps the editor whose additions worry you was merely aiming for a fully neutral presentation.
I'm of the opinion that where there is a dispute there is a need for clarification and acknowledgement - failure to do that often leads to vandalism *and* continued disputes. Example: the Business plan article used to be frequently vandalized by people who clearly resented business plans and sometimes made rather amusing changes. Solution: put in a section on the use of business plan related humor in business education. The satiric vandalism all but disappeared and judging by the number of gnomish tweaks it is probably the most read section in the entire article.
As for the citation of the orthodox POV - well the source isn't a linguistic study of "progressive", but there is no reason to believe that the source is unreliable as a language sample. Furthermore, the attitude that it represents is *very* common here, not to mention among some of our fellow wikipedians. And BTW it isn't *always* pejorative. I have a very good haredi friend (father of one of my best friends) who likes to regal me with "Reform jokes" every time I come for Shabbat. He does it just to get under my skin, but in reality he respects me as a religious person and would probably move mountains for me if I really needed the help. Once someone is used to a term it is hard to get them to change it - for *them* it is normative, natural, and "common". And of course it is notable since it is the term used by an entire community.
Whether it is documented in this article or some other, I *do* think this terminology debate is more than just our little debate. Names have a way of becoming symbols. I support the WUPJ for complaining about the former chief rabbis holocaust remarks. However there are two sides to this. I suspect the former chief rabbi's real goal was to drive home the point that treating Torah lightly is a bad thing and can lead to the destruction of Israel. To the former chief rabbi, "Reform" is a symbol. To the WUPJ, "Reform" are real live people (Progressive Jews) whose synagogues get trashed by angry young adults who hear such sermons and decide that they have been authorized to go on rampage. So you decide whether or not this is notable or "just our debate". Egfrank 08:15, 15 November 2007 (UTC)


The article should maybe explain how Liberal Judaism relates to in the interfaith movement. I have often read that Liberal Jews prefer association with Liberal Christians and Liberals from other religions, it is very much understandable. ADM (talk) 17:53, 18 January 2009 (UTC)

Comparison of Reform Judaism and Progressive Judaism as prevalent terms[edit]

Now that Google Ngram is out, though this comparison of terms would be relevant.

Thanks. HG | Talk 17:17, 27 May 2011 (UTC)

Yiddish name[edit]

I am wondering why the Yiddish translatin of Progressive Judaism is given as reform yidishkeyt. I would have expected that this is the translation of Reform Judaism. How about progresive yidishkeyt? Well, there is no entry in Google of פראזרעסיוע יידישקייַט, and the web site of the World Union does not have anything in Yiddish, so I would suggest to scrap the Yiddish translation of the title.  Andreas  (T) 15:18, 17 November 2013 (UTC)

  1. ^ Union Progressiver Juden:First Time since WWII: German Chancellor Meets with Leaders of Reform Judaism. This article written by the press office of Union Progressiver Juden shows an example of how "liberal", "reform", and "progressive" are sometimes used interchangably. The delegates from the World Union of Progressive Judaism are called reform. The German communities are called liberal and progressive within the same paragraph.