Talk:Relationships between Jewish religious movements

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Other negative Reform views of Haredim[edit]

I'll be working some of this material into the article as well, just letting you have a look at it first:

In a 1998 article for New York’s Jewish Week, American Reform leader Eric Yoffie described haredi insularity as "nothing less than a betrayal of America." And Simeon Maslin, past president of the Central Conference of American Rabbbis (Reform), accuses ultra-Orthodox Jews "who pray rapidly in sing-song Hebrew, pore over the Talmud in segregated yeshivot, and buy from glatt kosher butchers" of having forfeited the right to be called "authentic Jews." Jayjg 05:52, 9 Aug 2004 (UTC)

I realize that intolerance is blind, but if you don't want "petty anecdotal villifications" of Orthodoxy, than I suggest using the same logic for the Reform section as opposed to making hypocritical edits to whitewash the Orthodox section. This is the WP encyclopedia not the Haredim encyclopedia. 05:29, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

Please research the edit history before accusing anyone of "intolerance". Indeed, there can be no petty vilifications at all in an encyclopedia. That is why if you look at the history of the edits it was me who also erased many of the the above-mentioned petty statements in the reform section. Shykee 11:55, 13 June 2006 (UTC)shykee

I didn't need to look at the history - you edited out 'petty anecdotal vilifications' from the Orthodox section and left in the same type of vilifications in the Reform section which I subsequently removed to restore a semblance of balance. If you're going an individual, you should have a valid citation and you should quote in context - for example, what exactly was Rabbi Yoffie responding to when he made the ALLEGED inflammatory remarks that were included before I made the edit and where is the valid source? Now here's an actual quote from Rabbi Yoffie with respect to the Orthodox not recognizing Reform conversions. "The Reform movement has welcomed rising interest in conversion to Judaism; at the same time, those undergoing Reform conversion have been required to accept more demanding requirements of study and observance. Still, as my Orthodox friends remind me, without an expression of kabbalat mitzvoth (acceptance of the Law as defined by Orthodox authorities), Reform conversions cannot be recognized by the Orthodox world. Every time I discuss this matter we are left with the same impasse: they see the acceptance of kabbalat mitzvot as they define it as a sacred principle and a religious obligation that is literally an expression of Gods will, while I am not prepared to impose on would-be converts requirements that I do not accept for myself and that I do not see as consistent with my view of Jewish tradition. No amount of ideological jousting is going to resolve this issue. I do not agree with my Orthodox colleagues but I understand and respect their views, and it is for precisely that reason that I have no desire to continue the debate that Dr. Wertheimer wants to resume and that the Orthodox world has no interest in anyway. Instead, as an expression not of avoidance but of realism, I prefer to see my movement devoting its resources to promoting the study of Torah and deepening commitment to Jewish belief and practice; this is our real challenge and the area where we might hope to make a meaningful difference. Does this mean that a divided Jewish people is inevitable? I honestly do not know. I am far from sure that this will happen, simply because the common sense realism of the laity will act as a break on the schismatic tendencies of the rabbinate. In the final analysis, the terms of communal interaction will be shaped by the will of the Jewish people, the great majority of whom will have little patience for rabbinic decrees that tell two Jews that they must not marry each other."

Doesn't sound like an intolerant hot-head as the WP article had intended to portray him and if you want to discuss relationships between Jewish religious movements, it would probably be better to highlight the issues that divide (e.g.. recognition of Reform conversions) as opposed to employing ad-hominem & attacking individuals or groups. 16:19, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

I believe you are confusing me with the original user who posted those comments. I, as I stated, erased much of the inflammatory material from the reform section. If you have a personal grievance with that user, please take it to their talk page. This is not the forum for accusations of intolerance. Shykee 18:47, 13 June 2006 (UTC)shykee

Compromise proposal on Reform views[edit]

Here is the current text:

Reform Judaism currently espouses the notion of religious pluralism; it believes that most Jewish denominations (including Orthodox groups and the Conservative movement) are valid expressions of Judaism. Historically the Reform view of Orthodox Judaism has been highly negative. Reform began as a rejection of Orthodox Judaism, and early battles between Reform and Orthodox groups in Germany for control of communal leadership were fierce. Reform viewed Orthodoxy as a backward movement, attempted to do away with most traditional practices, and in the 20th century often predicted its demise. While the rhetoric generally cooled, Israeli Reform leader Rabbi Uri Regev recently compared Haredi Jews to the terrorists who destroyed the World Trade Center and damaged the Pentagon. [1] Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie, head of the American Reform movement, has called the Israeli Chief Rabbinate "[e]xtremist and radical and fanatic...a medieval chief rabbinate that is a disgrace to the Jewish people and its religion", described Haredi Judaism as "ghetto Judaism", referred to "utterly fanatic ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel who are becoming more extreme every day" and has accused "the ultra-Orthodox" of having "abused Torah for their own selfish purposes and brought it into disrepute."
Relations with the Conservative movement are much more cordial, and Conservative and Reform leaders co-operate on many areas of mutual concern. However, some of Reform's leaders have also predicted the demise of Conservative Judaism, a prediction which Conservative leaders have called called the argument "delusional" and the product of "immature" analysis.[2]

As RK currently seems to object only to the sentence on Regev, and as the facts of that incident are not entirely clear, I propose eliminating Regev's statements altogether, and using this alternative text:

Reform Judaism currently espouses the notion of religious pluralism; it believes that most Jewish denominations (including Orthodox groups and the Conservative movement) are valid expressions of Judaism. Historically the Reform view of Orthodox Judaism has been highly negative. Reform began as a rejection of Orthodox Judaism, and early battles between Reform and Orthodox groups in Germany for control of communal leadership were fierce. Reform viewed Orthodoxy as a backward movement, attempted to do away with most traditional practices, and in the 20th century often predicted its demise. While the rhetoric generally cooled, Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie, head of the American Reform movement, has called the Israeli Chief Rabbinate "[e]xtremist and radical and fanatic...a medieval chief rabbinate that is a disgrace to the Jewish people and its religion", described Haredi Judaism as "ghetto Judaism", referred to "utterly fanatic ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel who are becoming more extreme every day" and has accused "the ultra-Orthodox" of having "abused Torah for their own selfish purposes and brought it into disrepute," and in a 1998 article for New York’s Jewish Week, described haredi insularity as "nothing less than a betrayal of America." Simeon Maslin, past president of the Central Conference of American Rabbbis (Reform), has stated that Haredi Jews (who in his words "pray rapidly in sing-song Hebrew, pore over the Talmud in segregated yeshivot, and buy from glatt kosher butchers") have forfeited the right to be called "authentic Jews."
Relations with the Conservative movement are much more cordial, and Conservative and Reform leaders co-operate on many areas of mutual concern. However, some of Reform's leaders have also predicted the demise of Conservative Judaism, a prediction which Conservative leaders have called "delusional" and the product of "immature" analysis.[3]

Thoughts? Comments? Jayjg 15:15, 12 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Um, ok, silence is consent. Jayjg 19:36, 13 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Sounds fine to me. RK 21:56, Aug 15, 2004 (UTC)

My views on it all[edit]

  • 1) Haredim -RK's edit was "Thus Haredi rabbis and rabbinical organizations grant no legitimacy whatsoever to any form of Judaism other than their own." - I prefer this edit to the other one. It gives it simple and plainly.--Josiah 03:10, 15 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Simpler but less accurate. Jayjg 05:00, 15 Aug 2004 (UTC)
How so?--Josiah 06:51, 15 Aug 2004 (UTC)
  • 2) Haredim 2 - Jayig's edit removes the quote about Rabbi Lamm and has it as "The relationship between Haredi and Modern Orthodox Judaism is more complex; most Haredi Jews see Modern Orthodox Jews as allies, but they disagree with their accomodations of modernity, and view them as lax in their observance. According to Rabbi Norman Lamm, Dean of Yeshiva University and a leader in Modern Orthodox Judaism, at least one prominent Hasidic rabbi is unsure whether modern Orthodox Jews like him are still part of the Jewish people. " This is extremly sugarcoating the issue. I have not met a *single* "Ultra-Orthodox" Jew who counts Modern Orthodox Jews as part of Orthodoxy. --Josiah 03:10, 15 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Regarding the quote about Rabbi Lamm, it is a personal disagreement between two men, not a statement about the legitimacy of Modern Orthodoxy. Please read the relevant Talk: discussions. Regarding not having met a single "Ultra-Orthodox" Jew, etc., I have. Jayjg 05:00, 15 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Alright. It does make sense that it was talking about a person, not a school of thought.--Josiah 06:51, 15 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Jay is still sugar-coating the issue. I have never found statements from Haredi Judaism that explicitly state respect for Modern Orthodox Judaism, but I have found many that express anger at it and disdain for it. I don't know where Jay is getting his info from, but in the real world Haredi Judaism views Modern Orthodoxy as non-Orthodox and invalid. I will be presenting even more sources and quotes in the next day or so. Jay is incorrect when he claims that this is about on person! RK 17:32, Aug 15, 2004 (UTC)
What we're discussing here is not "the issue" of Haredi views of Modern Orthodoxy, but rather whether or not this quote is relevant to that. As the discussion in earlier sections shows, Rabbi Svei was speaking specifically about Rabbi Lamm; he said so. If you can find other quotes that are relevant, that's wonderful, but this particular one is not. Jayjg 17:45, 15 Aug 2004 (UTC)
  • 3) Conservative 1 - I agree with Jayig's opening paragraph, though I believe it should be changed to "moderate between Orthodoxy and Reform".--Josiah 03:10, 15 Aug 2004 (UTC)
  • 4) I agree with Jayig's edits on paragraphs 2,3, and 4. I don't see a reason that RK's 5th paragraph should have been removed. I agree with RK's edit on theKotel. --Josiah 03:10, 15 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Which 5th paragraph? Why do you agree with RK's edit? Jayjg 05:00, 15 Aug 2004 (UTC)
The one that says "Advertisements by Orthodox rabbis have been taken out in newspapers stating that it is better for Jews to stay home on Rosh Hashanah than to attend non-Orthodox services. As such, many Conservative Jews have become disenchanted with Orthodoxy, and view it as domineering and hostile." I think it should be kept in their because it is correct, American Rabbis have made similar decisions, and it gives some background on the clashes.--Josiah 06:51, 15 Aug 2004 (UTC)
  • 5) Why was the section about theattacks on archeologists removed?!--Josiah 03:10, 15 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Because archeologists aren't a "segment of Judaism". Again, please read relevant Talk: discussions. In fact, it would be better if you actually read them, then weighed in there. Jayjg 05:00, 15 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Alright. Makes sense to me. The question is whether or not the archeologists represented a paticular sect of Judaism, but I doubt that could be proven. I didn't read all of the discussions, cuase well it's a bit overwhelming coming in the end of it all. --Josiah 06:51, 15 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Should we re-title this article?[edit]

I think that we should come up with a new title for this article. No writers refer to the different "segments of Judaism". The more comkon terms are "denominations of Judaism" or "Jewish movements". Perhaps we could retitle this article as: RK 21:33, Aug 15, 2004 (UTC)

Relationship between Jewish movements or
Relationship between Jewish denominations
I've been thinking along similar lines. I thought about your two suggestions, but the first didn't capture the religious nature of the movements, while the second wouldn't allow for discussion of (say) intra-Orthodox relations. How about Relationships between Jewish religious movements? Jayjg 21:45, 15 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Yeah, that sounds good. RK 21:56, Aug 15, 2004 (UTC)
O.K., moving. Jayjg 00:13, 16 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Here's a suggestion for another minor change to the title for this article: change "between" to "among". "Between" is for one-to-one relationships; "among" covers relationships with three or more entities. I don't know how to make such a change, so perhaps one of you would like to do so. --rich<Rich Janis 20:41, 15 June 2007 (UTC)>

Haredi views of Modern Orthodox Judaism[edit]

I think that JayJG is sugar-coating the views of Haredi Judaism towards Modern Orthodox Judaism. In Judaism's Apocalyptic Horsemen Tzvee Zahavy notes the following:

In right-wing Orthodoxy the attitude of triumphalism often is acted out in aggressive assaults on the nearest competition, the modern Orthodox and the Conservative Jews. The primary means of aggression and attack of apocalyptic Orthodoxy normally takes the form of character assassination rather than physical violence, and commonly is directed against weak and select targets....
The modern Orthodox remain the favorite targets of apocalyptic Orthodoxy. Chaim Dov Keller provides an apt illustration of this posture, "Years ago, my sainted Rebbe, Reb Elya Meir Bloch zt"l, Telshe Rosh Yeshiva, made a remark which I vividly remember since the occasion was my own wedding: We no longer have to fear Conservatism - that is no longer the danger. Everyone knows that it is avoda zara [idolatry]. What we have to fear is Modern Orthodoxy.
Modern Orthodoxy: An Analysis and a Response, in Reuven P. Bulka, ed., Dimensions of Orthodox Judaism, New York, 1983, p. 253 reprinted from the Jewish Observer 6, no. 8, June, 1970, pp. 3-14.
In a recent instance a writer in the Jewish Press called Rabbi Aharon Lichtenstein, son-in-law of HaRav Joseph Soloveitchik, scion of Orthodoxy, "evil" for allegedly making overtures to conservative and reform Jews. Lichtenstein, who has a Ph.D. in English from Harvard, is a favored target of the apocalyptic Orthodox, for he represents the liminal Orthodox scholar and Talmudist who has obtained a higher education.
In May, 1987, Orthodox rabbis in Israel inspired by Rabbi Eliezer Shach, head of the Agudat Yisrael Council of Sages and mentor of the Shas party, forbade under threat of excommunication, study in a Kollel program run by a former American rabbi, a graduate of Yeshiva University, in which a woman [the venerated Orthodox biblical scholar, Nechama Leibowitz] taught. Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, ruled that the woman could continue to teach from behind a screen. Nevertheless, many students left the program as a result of the encounter with Orthodox pressure.

Historian Jonathan D. Sarna writes the following in The Future of American Orthodoxy

The Future of American Orthodoxy
The problem is that, in the absence of broadly respected leaders, the fault lines between modern and right-wing Orthodox Jews have deepened. In one particularly vitriolic attack, Rabbi Elya Svei, a prominent member of the right-wing Agudat Israel, characterized Yeshiva University's President Norman Lamm as "an enemy of God" - a charge that he subsequently refused to retract. More broadly, Modern Orthodox Jews - including, recently, Senator Joseph Lieberman - have found themselves written out of Orthodoxy altogether by some right-wing critics. No wonder that Professors William B. Helmreich and Reuel Shinnar, in a recent analysis, described Modern Orthodoxy as "a movement under siege."

Consider this excerpt from A People Divided: Judaism in Contemporary America, Jack Wertheimer, Basic Books, 1993

An adver­tisement for an evening of denunciation and expose captures the tone of the right-wing attacks: "Hear how centrism and many of its propo­nents are breaking with masora [Jewish tradition].... Hear about their latest proposals which will encourage intermarriage through improper conversions, and how to stop them."(67)
New groups such as the Coun­cil for Authentic Judaism, seek to "expose" prominent Orthodox lead­ers identified with the left as pagans and teachers of Christianity; they are convinced that centrism "is no longer Judaism, but another reli­gion."(68) When Rabbi Steven Riskin, the founder of one of the largest Modern Orthodox synagogues in America, embarks on a speaking tour, flyers branding him a "heretic" are posted in synagogues. (69)
And when a member of the centrist Rabbinical Council of America wrote an Op-Ed piece in the New York Times challenging the propriety of the Lubavitcher Rebbe's intrusion into Israeli politics, he was castigated in print as an "enemy, destroyer, and devastator of Israel," harassed with anonymous telephone calls, and warned that Lubavitchers were "watching and following" him. (70) These and many other incidents make abundantly clear that the triumph of the Right has been achieved in part by coercion and intimidation.
...The new elite religion of Orthodoxy not only writes off the folkways of traditional Jews, as well as the practices of non-Orthodox Jews who are unprepared to become baalei teshuva,(78) but it also insists that any compromise with modern culture is to be rejected as un­-Jewish and inferior. The shift to the right may also be interpreted as a symptom of deep insecurity and retreat into insularity, of fear that the corrosiveness of modern American culture will eat away at the Orthodox population just as it has sapped non-Orthodox movements. Thus, even as it revels in its success in retaining the allegiance of its youth, the Young Israel Viewpoint publishes such articles as "Why Are Young Israel Children Going Astray?" (79) And even as what was formerly Modern Orthodoxy moves to the right, a symposium is held at a Young Israel convention that poses the question: "The Lifestyles of the Modern American Orthodox Jew - Halachic Hedonism?" (80)
Footnotes for above text
67. "Spotlight on Centrism," an advertisement in the Jewish Week, february 9, 1990, p.39
68. Jonathan Mark, "Modern Orthodox Rabbis Claim Assault from RCA Right Wing," p.29, Jewish Week, July 13, 1990. See also idem, "Orthodox Rabbis Disciplining 8," Jewish Week, June 7-13, 1990, p.4; and numerous letters on "The RCA Controversy," Jewish Week, July 27, 1990, p.22.
69. Gary Rosenblatt, "Religious McCarthyism," Baltimore ,Jewish Times, November 22, 1991, p. 12.
77. Menachem Friedman, Life Tradition and Book Tradition in the Develop­ment of Ultra-orthodox Judaism, in Judaism from Within and Without: Anthropological Perspectives, ed. Harvey Goldberg (Albany: SLINY Press, 1987), pp. 235-55.
78. Note the observation of Norman Lamm, president of Yeshiva University: "Witness the readiness of our fellow Orthodox Jews to turn exclusivist, to the extent that psychologically, though certainly not halakhically, many of our people no longer regard non-Orthodox Jews as part of Kelal Yis­rael." Lamm, Some Comments on Centrist Orthodoxy, Tradition, Fall 1986, p. 10.
79. Reuven Frank, Why Are Young Israel Children Going Astray? Young Israel Viewpoint, September 1984, p. 24.
80. Young Israel Viewpoint, September-October 1988, p. 20.

While the Rabbi Bloch quote is somewhat relevant, many of the rest are not. The criticism of Rabbi Aharon Lichtenstein for allegedly making overtures to conservative and reform Jews is a criticism of him for his actions, not of all Modern Orthodoxy. The threat of herem on a particular course is about the program allowing a woman to teach (and even then, as you point out, not universal among Haredi Rabbis); it was not a criticism of Modern Orthodoxy. The other quotes are generally unattributed, and in any event about indiviuals. If you want to quote prominent Haredim criticizing Modern Orthodoxy as a movement and/or philosophy, that would be valuable, but criticisms of individuals for their statements or actions aren't particularly relevant in this context. Jayjg 17:56, 15 Aug 2004 (UTC)

The edits are flying fast and furious, I can't get mine in. My revised statement is: While the Rabbi Bloch quote is somewhat relevant, many of the rest are not. The criticism of Rabbi Aharon Lichtenstein for allegedly making overtures to conservative and reform Jews is a criticism of him for his actions, not of all Modern Orthodoxy. The threat of herem on attendees of a particular course is about the program allowing a woman to teach (and even then, as you point out, not universal among Haredi Rabbis); it was not a criticism of Modern Orthodoxy. The other quotes are generally unattributed, and in any event about individuals. If you want to quote prominent Haredim criticizing Modern Orthodoxy as a movement and/or philosophy, that would be valuable, but criticisms of individuals for their statements or actions aren't particularly relevant in this context. You've titled this section "Haredi views of Modern Orthodox Judaism"; let it be about that, then, and not about "Individual (often anonymous) Haredi opinions about the actions of various Modern Orthodox Jews". Jayjg 18:05, 15 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Are you joking? When you claim that these are criticisms only of a few individuals, and not of Modern Orthodoxy, then you are making grossly incorrect claims which mispresent Haredi Judaism. We must reject your quite unique interpretation of these facts; I know of no sociologists or historians which share your view. This article should not present our own personal interpretations. The facts are that many historians of Judaism, and Modern Orthodox Jews themselves, understand all this as clear attacks on the validity of Modern Orthodox Judaism. NPOV demands that we present the information in this way. RK 18:04, Aug 15, 2004 (UTC)
In general it's probably safest to assume I am not joking. As for the criticisms, they relate to specific actions and statements of individuals, not to the movement as a whole. The personal interpretations are, in fact, the theses being presented around those quotes. Now it would be perfectly reasonable to mention that a number of Modern Orthodox leaders have been criticized for various actions (e.g. women teaching Yeshiva courses), and point out that some authors feel that this indicates a criticism of the movement itself. As always, I recommend brief summaries of the positions, rather that lengthy quotes. Jayjg 18:11, 15 Aug 2004 (UTC)
P.S. I recommend that you avoid using the royal "we" when writing (e.g. "We must reject your quite unique interpretation of these facts"), as you so often do. Please remember that you are neither royalty, nor speaking for Wikipedia, nor even anyone but yourself. Jayjg 18:11, 15 Aug 2004 (UTC)
That's valid; I agree. I am only saying that Tzvee Zahavy, Jack Wertheimer, Jonathan D. Sarna, Norman Lamm and others believe that these quotes rejection and criticism of Modern Orthodox Judaism as a whole. This article should summarize their reasoning and conclusions. RK 21:23, Aug 15, 2004 (UTC)

Now, I am not claiming that all Haredi Jews feel this. They do not. Nor do I claim that every Haredi rabbi feels this way. They do not. However, I am pointing out that over the last 30 years, this has been the dominant trend within Haredi Judaism, and a trend that is not being fought by any significant faction with Haredi Judaism. This article needs to note this! Of course, I would be in debt to anyone who brought forth quotes and references from Haredi groups, rabbis, leaders, etc., who have publicy refuted or criticised any of the above attacks on Modern Orthodox Judaism, or who have openly spoke of it as valid and legitimate. Any significant other side to this issue should be heard from as well. RK 17:58, Aug 15, 2004 (UTC)

Trends are interesting, but please make sure that analyses are presented as theses, not as facts, and please make sure any quotes reflect the thesis being presented. Jayjg 18:13, 15 Aug 2004 (UTC)
That is fine by me. RK 21:23, Aug 15, 2004 (UTC)

At the risk of starting things up again, I just wanted to point out a couple of things.

1. The term "Modern Orthodoxy" was in disfavor until recently, and was not used by the mainstream left (Y.U., the O.U., the R.C.A., Mizrachi). The term tended to refer to the far left of Orthodoxy, or to the marginally Orthodox. It is only recently that the mainstream left again took up the mantle of "Modern Orthodoxy". So references made to Modern Orthodoxy may not be what they seem.

2. I think there is a conflating of Orthodox attitutes towards Conservative Judaism, and Charedi attitudes towards Modern Orthodoxy. There is a difference between viewing a movement or philosophy (in Jewish terms, a "derech") as wrong, and not considering, for example, their rabbis as rabbis. For example, would a convert automatically be rejected by a Chareidi rabbi because the conversion was done by a Modern Orthdox rabbi? (I didn't say they would automatically be accepted either, but contrast that with the view of Conservative conversions.)

3. Rabbi Svei was responding to what he viewed as an attack. When, as an alumnus of Yeshiva University, I received a letter introducing the term "centrist" (I believe this was the same period), I myself was upset, as I felt that this marginalized the mainstream right. I am glad that "Modern Orthodox" is replacing it.

4. I realize that we may not count, but the attitude here in Baltimore is not like that. For example, Rabbi Frand, who teaches at Ner Israel, a respected Chareidi Yeshiva, and whose lecture tapes are widely desseminated, quotes Modern Orthodox rabbis, and has for years.

5. Anyone who actually has a NPOV would view an attempt to present the above quotes as NPOV as laughable. "Judaism's Apocalyptic Horsemen"? Please!

Michael Zvi Krumbein -- (talk) 02:46, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

Non-Rabbinical Jews[edit]

I'd like to see the relationships with Rabbinical and Non-Rabbinical Jews covered as well. I'll have something about relationships between Karaites & Rabbanites, and of the "Am HaAretz" of the 2nd temple period within a week, but there are others that I'm not knowledgeable enough to cover. Could some hit Beta Israel (The Ethopian Jews)?--Josiah 16:22, 16 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Draft of Karaite portion[edit]

During the Dark ages, relationships between Karaite & Rabbinical Jews were more or less fair with each other, because although they had differences in beliefs, their communities were intertwined. This changed with the coming of Sa'adia Gaon, who declared that Rabbinical Jews should seperate themselves from Karaite Jews and began a series of Refutations of Karaite views which sparked a bitter theological war between the two.

Conflicts between the two died down until the time of the Czars, when Russian Karaites circulated myths that they were not Jews, or that they were Jews who hadn't lived in Israel while Jesus lived, and even banned marriages with Rabbinical Jews (though the rule was not enforced), in order to escape the anti-semetic laws that the Russian Czars had passed.

It is said that in World War 2, the Nazis consulted 3 Orthodox Rabbis to determine whether or not Karaite Jews were, in fact, Jews. In order to save their lives, the Rabbis ruled that they were not.

Today Karaites live side by side with Rabbinical Communities, with their own synagogues and religous courts. While some Askenazi Rabbis do not believe that Karaites are Jews, recent Rabbinical Rulings have declared that Karaism is closer to Orthodoxy than Conservative and Reform Judaism. Sephardic Cheif Rabbinate Ovadiah Yossef ruled that Orthodox Jews should intermarry with Karaites in order to assimilate them into Orthodox Judaism.--Josiah 16:40, 16 Aug 2004 (UTC)

I would recommend providing sources for most of what you have entered above, as I consider much of it POV, especially the first paragraph. Jayjg 16:46, 16 Aug 2004 (UTC)
In what way would you change it?--Josiah 09:30, 17 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Your thesis here is that Karaite Jews got along just fine with other Jews until big bad Sa'adiah Gaon came along and ruined everything. This seems like a vast over-simplification. Regarding Russia:

In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries Karaites migrated to the Crimean peninsula. The Lithuanian prince Vytautus (Witold) the Great (r. 1386 - 1430) moved hundreds of Karaites from the Crimea to the north and settled them in Troki, Lutsk, and Galich (Pol., Halicz). From the early nineteenth century Karaites in Russia demanded equal rights, and several of their scholars (such as Abraham Firkovich) claimed that their origins were not Jewish. In the second half of the nineteenth century this claim was accepted; the Karaites were accorded the same rights as the Russians, and were integrated into society, serving in the tsar's army and in government service. In the Civil War that followed World War I, Karaite officers fought in the White Army against the Bolsheviks. After the Bolshevik victory they emigrated to the West, settling in Warsaw, in Berlin, in France, and in Italy.

Regarding Nazi Germany, the story of the 3 Rabbis is no legend, but this is just part of the picture:

The Nazis first came up against the problem of the Karaites when they published the regulations for enforcement of the nuremberg laws. The heads of the small Karaite community in Berlin asked the authorities to exempt them from the regulations; on the basis of their legal status in tsarist Russia, they claimed that they were not of Jewish origin. After examination of the claim, on January 5, 1939, the Reichsstelle fur Sippenforschung (Reich Agency for Investigation of Families) determined that the Karaite sect should not be considered part of the Jewish religious community with regard to those regulations, and that the racial classification of the Karaites should be decided not according to their attachment to a specific people, but according to their personal genealogy. That document became an edict, and from then on it served the Nazi authorities as the basis for dealing with the Karaites.

After the outbreak of World War II the Germans again encountered Karaites, first in occupied France, and then in occupied areas of the Soviet Union. The Commissariat generalaux questions Juives (General Office for Jewish Affairs) in Vichy France required Karaites to be registered as Jews. But on the basis of memoranda and opinions of the heads of the Orthodox church there, the Karaites attempted to prove that they were not of Jewish origin. The journal of the union Generale des Israelites de France (General Council of French Jews) claimed that the Karaites were Jews, but eventually instructions arrived from Berlin to accept the Karaites' position.

In the USSR the first Germans to come across the Karaites were the Einsatzgruppen. Although at that time the origins of this sect were not clear to the Nazis, the Einsatzgruppen attacked them in several localities, for instance in Kiev, where more than two hundred Karaites died at Babi Yar. When approaching the Crimea, the Einsatzgruppen sought clarification from Berlin, and received instructions not to harm the Karaites, since they were not of Jewish origin.

When members of the Nazi civilian government established their authority in the occupied areas of the USSR, they also met the Karaites. The heads of the Generalkommissariat of Lithuania encountered Karaites in Troki and in Vilna, among them the chief religious authority of the Karaites, Seraya Shapshal. The Generalkommissariat wrote to the reichskommissariat Ostland, which passed on the inquiry to the Ministry for the Occupied Territories in the East, located in Berlin. An exchange of letters, opinions, and position papers ensued, containing frequent references to the edict of the Reich Agency for Investigation of Families. In those documents it was again decided that the Karaites were of Turkish - Mongolian extraction, and had adopted the Jewish religion from missionaries in the Kuzari kingdom in the eighth and ninth centuries. In the late summer of 1942 the Nazis addressed separate inquiries to Jewish scholars in three ghettos: Professor Meir Balaban and Dr. Ignacy Schiper in Warsaw, Zelig Hirsh Kalmanovitch in Vilna, and Dr. Leib Landau and Dr. Yaakov Schall in Lvov. Wishing to save the Karaites from the fate of the Jews, the scholars expressed the opinion that the Karaites were not of Jewish extraction.

In May 1943 the Ministry for the Occupied Territories in the East finally determined that the Karaites were not part of the Jewish religious community, and that their origin was Turkish - Tatar - Mongolian. The determination of origin had been made, it was claimed, on the basis of racial examinations carried out among different groups of Karaites. The ministry demanded that the Karaites be treated like Turks and Tatars, in order not to anger those peoples. Politically, it was hoped that decent treatment of the Karaites would gain the sympathy of the Turks and Tatars, which the Germans needed at that time, since they were in general retreat from the USSR following the fall of Stalingrad and the withdrawal from the Caucasian front. The ministry decision saved the Karaites from the fate of their Jewish brethren -- annihilation in the framework of the "final solution" to the Jewish problem.

In the second half of 1944 the problem of the Karaites again arose, when the heads of the SS realized that about five hundred to six hundred of the sect were serving in the Waffen - SS and the Tatar division of the German army. These must have been Karaites who served in the Crimea, in local government and police, and in various auxiliary army units, and who were retreating to the west. Their families settled in the vicinity of Vienna, and there, together with the Crimean Tatars, they created the Association of Tatars and Karaites from Crimea, an organization with social objectives.

The fact that Karaites were serving in the army disturbed SS circles, and correspondence began on this matter between the heads of Heinrich Himmler's personal staff and the head office of the SS responsible for the Waffen - SS. Again the question of the Karaites' religion and origin was raised, and the decision of the Ministry for the Occupied Territories in the East was again accepted. The political reasoning was also re - endorsed: the Karaites must not be harmed because of their blood relatives, the Turks and the Tatars. The Jewish religion of the Karaites annoyed the SS circles, and it was therefore recommended not to publicize Karaite activity in the army. On December 7, 1944, Himmler approved these conclusions and recommendations, and the Karaites continued to serve in the German army until its surrender in early May 1945.

The relationship of the Karaites to the "Rabbanite" (non - Karaite) Jews is not easy to determine, in view of the dearth of evidence. Certainly, it was not uniform. In Lutsk the Karaites cooperated in the cruel treatment of the local Jews, and in Vilna and Troki they furnished precise lists of the members of their community, thereby frustrating an attempt to save hundreds of "Rabbanite" Jews who had obtained forged Karaite certificates. Those Jews were caught and killed. In other localities the Karaites helped the Jews, even providing original certificates and saving individual Jews.

This information is all from the Encyclopedia of the Holocaust. Jayjg 16:39, 17 Aug 2004 (UTC)

And it ignores something very important. WHY where the Russian Karaim denying that they were Jews? Did they actually view themselves as not being Jews? The answer to the first one is simple - for the same reason that Jews during the Inquisition denied that they were Jews - to avoid persecution. Rabbanites and Karaites still occured in Russia at that time. Which reminds me, I need to put in information about what could be called "The Holocaust of the Karaites", which happened in 12th century Spain. On Saadia Gaon, I would compare the situation between Rabbinical and Karaitic Jews to today's relationship between Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform Jews. The Haredim would be today's Sa'adia Goan's. Before Gaon came around, the communities existed together. Afterwards, they were seperated.--Josiah 06:10, 18 Aug 2004 (UTC)
The motivations of these Russian Karaites may be interesting, but neither you nor I can decide today what they really are. Fortunately, we do not have to, as we merely need to present the facts, not what we presume are the motivations of the various groups involved. Regarding your use of the term Holocaust, this kind of hyperbole is highly POV, as well as anachronistic. As for your claims regarding Sa'adiah Gaon, I understand your perspective; your original material made it quite clear. However, as before, what is required is evidence that your perspective is accurate. Jayjg 14:45, 18 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Jayig, with all due respect, saying that we don't know why they were denying they were Jews is as ignorant as saying we don't know why Jews denied they were such during the inquisition.--Josiah 14:27, 10 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Jews denied they were Jews during the Inquisition? Or did they deny they were practising Rabbinic Judaism? The Russian Karaite claims were effectively racial in nature, no one doubted that their faith differed, and these claims long pre-dated the Nazis. In any event, we still do not need to speculate on their motivations, we merely need to present the known facts; ideally this should be an encyclopedia article, not an apologia. Jayjg 18:45, 10 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Of course there were Jews who denied they were such during the inquisition (both religiously and ethnically). This is common knowledge. There is no speculation as to the motivations of the Russian Karaites, Jayig, any more than saying Jews denied they denied they practiced Judaism because the inquisition is speculation. Ask them for yourself. They'll tell you the same thing.--Josiah 22:58, 13 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Rather than "common knowledge" and "ask them for yourself" types of proofs, I would prefer some sort of tangible references. Jayjg 00:20, 14 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Would email contacts with 3 Karaite Hakhams be sufficient? I could email the 3 in question and ask if they would mind, one in paticular grew up in Russia. I may try to find a verifying source on the web, but considering until a year or two ago a search of the word 'karaite' yielded only 5 results, I'm not crossing my fingers for that one.--Josiah 01:51, 15 Sep 2004 (UTC)
I don't understand why an e-mail correspondence with any individual would reflect any more than that individual's personal opinion. BTW, a Google search of Karaite produces around 16,000 hits, and Karaism produces another 3,500 or so. Jayjg 02:34, 15 Sep 2004 (UTC)
I know that *today* there are quite a few results on a google search. The reason I recommended a Karaite Hakham, paticuarly one who grew up in Russia, was for the same reasons that I would recommend a Rabbi who lived during the holocaust for info about it. FYI, marriages between Rabbinical and Karaite Jews occured during the period of time in question in Russia. I also recommended this because I don't keep up with any religious journals (and thus do not know of a specific source to refer you to, other than the descendants of those who lived in russia and/or leaders who have access to the documentation from that time period of the karaites who lived there.)--Josiah 06:53, 17 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I know that Conservative rabbis view the different Karaite communities as distinct; there is an official responsa from 1984 stating that Egyptian Karaites are definately Jews, and that marriage with Egyptian Karaites is not intermarriage. RK

Most American Karaim are of Egyptian Descent. Sephardic Authorities have ruled that have also ruled that Karaites are also Jews. A sephardic friend gave me a list with those who had, and it included: Rabbi David ben Zimra of Egypt, Maimonides' son - the Nagid Abraham, Rabbi Elijah of Negropont, Dayan Dr. Pinchas Toledano, Av Beit Din of the Sephardic Community in Great Britain, Chief Rabbi of Israel Ovadia Yosef, The Committee on Jewish Law and Standards "Accepting Egyptian karaites into our Communities", by Rabbi David H. Lincoln, adopted March 28, 1984. Published in "Proceedings of the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards 1980-1985".--Josiah 06:10, 18 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Remove Quotes[edit]

I think all quotes should be removed from the article, they should be paraphrased instead. If a quotes with strong biases are included, then it is just bringing the war into wikipedia. Most articles do not quote extensively. Wikipedia articles are not academic papers, they are summaries of the facts. Any quoting that is felt necessary should be done in talk. --Ezra Wax 19:45, 31 Aug 2004 (UTC)

I agree that all lengthy quotes should be removed, though brief ones are fine. I keep hoping to get back to this article, and still plan to. By the wya, lengthy quotes are a problem found in many Jewish-related articles. Jayjg 21:26, 31 Aug 2004 (UTC)


Shouldn't this be "Relationships between Ashkenazi religious movements"? Tomertalk 23:47, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

Excellent point! --Metzenberg 07:53, 9 March 2007 (UTC)

Why does this page even exist?[edit]

I was surprised to find this page. Why does this page exist? Very few pages seem to be linked to this page? It seems to me like this page is a debating forum, not an encyclopedia page. There is some interesting material here that could be incorporated into the page Jewish denominations, which I have been working on. But basically, this page is all POV. --Metzenberg 08:11, 9 March 2007 (UTC)

I am not sure how I feel about this page but I will suggest a rationale. Judaism is not a dogmatic religion, so what people mean by "Judaism" is contentions and different Jewish movements have different views of Judaism. Yet, each major movement of Judaism accepts that members of the other movements are Jews. This means that each movement's view of "What is Judaism" involves their views of the other movements. So this material belongs in the article on Judaism. I think it may have started out there, and as the article became too long this was made its own article as a content fork. Now, either this rationale makes no sense to you, or it does make sense but you think this article can be improved. If the latter is the case by all means - improve it! Slrubenstein | Talk 11:26, 9 March 2007 (UTC)


Any chance of getting some info on Reconstructionism in the context of this page? 11:16, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

Propose renaming this article[edit]

I propose renaming this article Relationships among Jewish denominations for the following reasons:

I'd appreciate other editors' views on the subject. — Malik Shabazz | Talk 17:40, 25 April 2007 (UTC)

Footnote style sourcing[edit]

Because this article addresses controversies that can sometimes involve animosities, suggest using footnote-style sourcing to source each claim individually, so that the quality of sourcing for each major point can be assessed. Best, --Shirahadasha 20:48, 16 May 2007 (UTC)

Reform and conservative[edit]

The article as it stands I think misrepresents the relationship between the US Reform and US Conservative movements. Reading this article one would have little idea of a) a common history up until the beginning of the 20th century b) significant informal and formal on-going cooperation between the movements c) shared rabbis - though rabbis more often move from conservative to reform association, movements in the other direction are not unheard of d) rabbinical students that seriously consider either school e) intellectual exchanges and shared faculty f) congregations that seriously debate which organization to belong to and often base decisions on pragmatic reasons

I could go on... Egfrank (talk) 05:25, 22 November 2007 (UTC)

  • Hi Egfrank, please don't go on because you are just speaking from one POV and it's not factual. Reform came from Germany and it was the religion of secular German Jews going back to the early 1800s. The Conservative movement grew out of the new Russian and Polish immigrant Jews in America who came in huge numbers from the 1880s to the 1920s and were not willing to give up Kashrut, Shabbat, Yiddish, and prayer in Hebrew -- yet did not wish to have separate seating or separations between men and women (it was the key and only difference with Orthodoxy for a long time, making co-operation with the Orthodox possible on a social and communal level for most of them) and often-times they had no clue that it was Reform leaders in their new communities that foisted Conservatism on them seeing that they would not become Reform overnight, kind of like the Jews for Jesus tactics it seems) -- and they started out and remained closer to early American Orthodox Judaism for a very, very long time. Often the differences between Young Israel synagogues and Conservative shulls was not big. Conservatives officially abided by Halachah and made study of Talmud mandatory for its rabbinical students at JTS whereas Reform officially abandoned Halachah and its requirements for Humanism and instituted a pattern of worship in it's synagogues that mimicked Church service, with organs installed, moving the structural set up of synagogues around, men often told not to wear headcoverings, services in English, shortening and changing the siddur and prayers, dropping of the second day of Yom Tov observance, despising Zionism for the new "Jerusalems" of Berlin and America and opting for strict Liberalism, but the Conservative movement was always fervently Zionistic and Socialistic. Conservative congregations sought out and hired mostly Orthodox rabbis, because they knew how to teach and learn Talmud, and they had no respect for the Reform clergy who were viewed as galochim (like "Christian ministers"). Conservatives went through a schism after the death of its leading (Orthodox) scholar Rabbi Saul Lieberman (1898-1983) who opposed the ordination of women. When they started down that path, Rabbi David Weiss Halivni left them and created the Conservadox split-off Union for Traditional Judaism. It is only in the last 25 years, not more, that the Reform and Conservative movements have moved closer to each other. For a number or historical reasons. Neither emphasized Jewish education to its young seriously enough so that presently both its memberships are more influenced by the ethos of American public schooling and secular universities than by anything remotely traditionally Jewish. The Reform has lost it's left wing to assimiliation and intermarriage (yes, to be frank, they have married Christians and have become "goyim" often by adopting the faith of their Christian spouses, it's all been proven by the National Jewish Population Surveys of 1990 and 200), so what is left of its (young) right wing wants to strengthen itself with more tradition and a closeness to Israel. The Conservatives have lost many of their people to Reform by default (Orthodoxy have become much more Haredi and Hasidic in tone) so that is perhaps where your assumption may have some kernel of truth, and they now wish to merge their agendas and perhaps even their movement, but it's all very recent. The Conservatives have come to the point in recent years that they feel they must follow Reform to "survive" but it was not the way they started out or functioned for a long time. Basically The Conservtives were closer to Orthodoxy from their founding in the 1880s until the 1980s, that's 100 years (proof: the JTS and YU often had similar outlooks and systems, which is why much of Modern Orthodoxy feels very comfortable with right-wing Conservatives, see Conservadox Judaism.) Now, the old time Conservative membership is dead and gone, with its memories of Eastern Europe, respect for rabbis and rebbes, nostalgia for the shtetls, its love of Jewish tradition such as Chazanut, kosher pastrami and all Jewish foods, summers in the Catskill Borshtbelt, love of Yiddish theater (all the things that the Reform movement and its haughty members looked down on -- the well known "Uptown Jews vs. the Dowtown greenhorns" syndrome.) Presently everyone wants to hire gay lady rabbis and support Hillary Clinton, and they call that "tikkun olam" or some such nonsense. So please do not insert your revised views of history all over the place. Thanks, IZAK (talk) 09:07, 22 November 2007 (UTC)

By the way, it's sorta funny how in the case of Conservative vis-a-vis Reform you switch to talking about the "ideas" and "notions" that "unite" them BUT when dealing with the Reform vs the Progressive label you did not follow that tack and instead you decided that "geography was destiny" for them and that common ideas were off the table, since when it boils to basics, you know as well as anyone, that Reform and Progressivism is one and the same thing conceptully, yet for your own revisionistic reasons you have arbitrarily chosen to dump the historiacl label of "Reform" for the more trendy label of "Progressive" -- oh well. IZAK (talk) 09:26, 22 November 2007 (UTC)

Back to your bigoted views again IZAK? I thought you'd put that behind you with all your conciliatory talk awhile back. It is a shame, A Sniper 02:51, 22 November 2007 (UTC)
Sniper buddy: What's "bigoted" about facts? IZAK (talk) 10:44, 22 November 2007 (UTC)
You've sure changed your tune IZAK now that you're on the ideological & POV attack... A Sniper 09:02, 22 November 2007 (UTC)
Sniper: As usual, you choose to personalize mattters, rather than debate the issues. Are you scared of something? IZAK (talk) 23:14, 22 November 2007 (UTC)

My POV does not count here and I am happy to provide numerous citations conforming to WP:V from academic and reliable sources - as I have in other cases. If editors have citations that support alternate claims, feel free to bring supporting citations from reliable sources. In that case we will have multiple notable and reliable points of view and the article should, of course, present them both.

IZAK, I sympathize with your feelings of loss vis a vis the passing of "old-time" Conservative. However, what is, is. It is not our job as Wikipedians to cast judgement good or bad on the choices of others. We merely report them in as unbiased a manner as possible.

I realize some editors may have strong feelings about this topic. However, let's all try to remember that unfounded accusations of impropriety (e.g. POV pushing, biased revisionism, etc) and personal attacks are also a form of incivility (see WP:ICA, WP:ATTACK). Best, Egfrank (talk) 14:44, 22 November 2007 (UTC)

Hi IZAK! This rather opinionated commentator [4] takes a different view from the one you do, arguing that certain recent Conservative Judaism decisions reflect a long history rather than being anomalies (but from a highly critical rather than a supportive perspective). It notes that Solomon Schechter had indicated in 1913 that the United Synagogue would accept "all such congregations as have not accepted the Union (Reform) prayer-book nor perform their religious devotions with uncovered heads." The congregations accepted early on included some very close to Reform as well as some very close to Orthodoxy. Not using an organ wasn't a requirement. At JTS, there were many people who thought Orthodoxy needed to change a tad to survive, thought they were saving tradtional Judaism by what they were doing, and expected Orthodoxy's imminent death and were prepared to mourn it, but there were also lots of people like Mordechai Kaplan whose basic intent was to create something fundamentally new. Best, --Shirahadasha (talk) 16:29, 22 November 2007 (UTC)
I believe that Shirahadasha's source is righ that leaders of the Conservative movement have long understood their movement as fundamentally centered on a tension between "Tradition and Change" - the name of a book edited by Mordecai Waxman that is an invaluable source for the Conservative movement's view of itself mid-century. Parzen's Architects of Conservative Judaism is also a valuable source. However, I think the most convenient source is Elliott Dorff's Conservative Judaism: Our Ancestors to their Descendents published I think by United Synagogue Youth. I do however think that IZAK is offering an important correction to Egfrank's initial claim. While I respect Egfrank's contributions, I think he overstates the relationship between the Reform and Conservative movements. This is my understanding (I believe it is supported by all the sources I mention but I do not have time to check): the intellectual leadership of the Conservative movements has its roots in the right wing of the Reform movement in the US, and the left wing of Orthodoxy. The right wing of the Reform movement consisted of those rabbis who walked out on the notorious "Treif Banquet" I believe in Pittsburgh; the left wing of orthodoxy were those scholars committed to being shomrei mitzvot, but equally committed to wissenschaft der judentum (maybe I mis-spelled it), that is, applying critical historical methods to the study of Judaism and Jewish texts e.g. the Talmud, Zohar, and ultimately the Tanakh itself. It was this alliance of disaffected Reform and Orthodox rabbis who were recruited to, as IZAK correctly (as far as it goes) points out, offer Eastern European immigrants - who were not attracted to Reform - a form of Judaism that would ease their social assimilation into American life more effectively (it was then believed) than Orthodoxy. I am suggesting that Conservative Judaism has its origins in three sources which Egfrank, IZAK and Shirahadashah all partially refer to - Reform rabbis who wanted more tradition, Orthodox scholars who were committed to critical methods of scholarship, and Eastern European Jews looking for a leadership that offered them the right balance of tradition and change. By the way, I have no "factual" evidence, but I suspect IZAK's analysis of why Reform and Conservative movements are moving closer to one another most recently has a lot of sense to it. Slrubenstein | Talk 20:20, 22 November 2007 (UTC)
Good points slrubenstien - I certainly didn't mean to imply that there aren't significant differences or points of conflict - only that the article doesn't mention any of the connections or common causes.
My own sense having spent two years studying at the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem (sponsored by the United Synogogue) with a bunch of Ramahniks is that the conservative movement is currently torn in three: (a) a left wing that increasingly has common cause with the rightward moving US Reform movement (b) a right wing that is essentially orthodox in its halakhic practice and responsot and seems to have increasing common cause with the leftmost portions of modern orthodoxy especially those portions that are open to the historical-critical school (c) a traditional-egalitarian segment that is orthodox except where it comes to the role of women.
Both the left wing and the traditional-egalitarian parts tend to have more common cause with US Reform than does the right wing. I assume this is because these portions of the conservative movement have a common need to privilege ethics and values over tradition when they see the two in conflict - there is a certain sense in which they "groc" each other even if they don't see eye to eye about a lot of other things.
The right wing of the conservative movement seems to have about as little respect for the Conservative left wing as it does for US Reform - however the complaints about US Reform/left wing conservative are never expressed as "they are bad Jews who don't care about halakhah". They usually come in the form of "They use sloppy halakhic reasoning", "They don't stick to the texts", "They don't understand the importance of process". In other words they criticize the quality of their decision making rather than their motives. I think that is an essential difference between the orthodox critique and the conservative critique of Jews leftwards of themselves. Rather than critique the methods, the orthodox I know just are either judgemental of motives or totally puzzled (and non-judgemental) about how anyone could come up with a religious post-halakhic/other-than-halakhic Judaism.
These are just some on-the-ground observations. I don't have sources for these, at least not yet. Egfrank (talk) 22:05, 22 November 2007 (UTC)
Slrubenstein is right about the roots of Conservative Judaism. It was born out of reaction to the excesses of Reform Judaism in discarding tradition and the ossification of Orthodox Judaism. As a movement it has always been committed to halakha, but its halakhic process is different than that of Orthodoxy. Here's an interesting discussion of the Conservative process.
I can't say much about recent developments in the movement, having left active engagement with it some 25 years ago, although I was pleasantly surprised to find an alternative Shmona Esrei in the latest Conservative siddur that refers to Elokeinu v'elokei avoteinu v'imeinu and names Sarah, Rebecca, Leah, and Rachel in addition to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. — Malik Shabazz (talk · contribs) 22:44, 22 November 2007 (UTC)
Questions. Is this thread a general discussion of the topic, or are there specific edits on the table? Or a section/text that needs reworking? Above, I see many useful information and competing views that could go into the article. I think it's less helpful to try to iron out sweeping generalizations about such complex and changing relationships. Perhaps it would help to put the relationships in a diachronic framework within each branch. Also, how about trying to use some consistent terminology within each section to cover different aspects of relationships? E.g., institutional/personal, halakhic-formal/informal, common/different ritual practice, social/cultural, etc. Then editors can call upon different types of quality secondary sources -- historical, sociological, biographical, halakhic/religious -- to describe different aspects of the relationships. Rather than push for generalizations, wouldn't folks like to offer thicker descriptions, maybe showing how various personalities (Saul Lieberman is an instructive example) or institutions (e.g., Synagogue Council) navigated these movement relationships? Thanks. HG | Talk 00:29, 23 November 2007 (UTC)
re: Generalizations. Rather than saying that Conservative Judaism "holds" or "respects" or "recognizes," wouldn't it be better to name (or at least footnote) the agents, i.e., which institution or document or leader represents the movement? In some cases, we'll find a diversity of opinion, and of ways of relating, that are hard to generalize. HG | Talk 00:59, 23 November 2007 (UTC)
Excellent point. I think that would be much more constructive and definitely more in line with both WP:V and WP:NPOV. Egfrank (talk) 05:38, 23 November 2007 (UTC)

I am glad some people find my comments useful. Alas, i am not in a good position to do any work on the article. But anyone can incorporate my points with a verifiable source if they get a hold of Dorff's short and accessible book. Someone who really wants to develop the article on Conservative Judaism ought to find the Waxman and Parzen books as I think they are essential. The only other point I would propose for inclusion in this or the CJ article - but i cannot provide a good source (maybe again Dorff) is a claim made by at laeast some CJ leaders that the movement was a reclamation of the spirit of the Amoraim, a commitment to halacha but through a dynamic, dialogical, and fluid living process. Perhaps one could suggest that just as the valorization of debate within rabbinic Judaism was perhaps an adaptation to the need to unify heterogeneous elements (former saducees and essenes for example) after the fall of the Temple, Conservative judaism hearkened back to this time as a way to accommodate its own heterogeneous, hybrid roots. I am about to share a vast oversimplification and anyone here can come up with several reasonable arguments against it but: when I was in school one simple way the differences bbetween the movements was explaine to me was, reform jews sought their authority from the (moral message of) the Prophets; Conservative Judaism from the (dialogic and fluid discourse of) the Talmud, and Orthodoxy from the (rigorous commitment to standardized legal observance according to) the Shulchan Aruch. This formula was presented not to disparage any movement, but to sum up how different movements related to Jewish history in different ways. Slrubenstein | Talk 02:38, 23 November 2007 (UTC)

Wow. Slrubenstein, what a great nutshell summary of the different approaches to Jewish tradition among the three movements. by Malik before thread split
An aside -- the nutshell is about a comparison of the movements, not their relationships. So isn't it somewhat off topic? Thanks. HG | Talk 16:35, 25 November 2007 (UTC)

Primary and secondary sources[edit]

HG, I've always supported the idea that views be attributed to individuals or organizations. No Jewish movement is monolithic and speaks with a single voice. Even if a viewpoint comes from such an official body as, say, the Conservative Rabbinical Assembly, it is still more helpful to attribute it to its source rather than to "Conservative Judaism". — Malik Shabazz (talk · contribs) 06:14, 23 November 2007 (UTC)
Malik: Please note that in general law there are written codified constitutions and unwritten constitutions, just as in Judaism there is a written Torah as well as an oral Torah, so that it is not always possible to find or even rely on "official" statements, when often the facts and realities about phenomena and movements come not from what is "written" but rather, from what is oral and "unwritten." IZAK (talk) 09:52, 23 November 2007 (UTC)

I agree with IZAK - but I also agree entirely with Malik on principle - we need sources to avoid violating NOR. Malik, my intention was neither to waste anyone's time nor to violate policy. My hope was that if any of this sounds familiar to anyone they might actually know of a source or know where to look. Websites I believe will be unhelpful because crucial documents will predate the web era. But I cited three books editors with more time than I could refer to, which would be a start. I think an author called Gil Rosenthal - I am really not sure about the last name - wrote a book called Four paths to one God about the four major movements and that would be a handy verifiable source for anyone working on this article. i am sorry that at this point I can at best suggest sources and ideas to look for but with all due respect to Malik's important point, I hope this is still constructive. Slrubenstein | Talk 10:47, 23 November 2007 (UTC)

To respond to IZAK, HG and Malik more specifically, I see no problem with relying on three types of sources (and I agree with Malik that they should be properly sourced): (1) scholars - historians or sociologists of religion - who are nominally non-partisan like Gil Rosenthal; (2) official spokespeople for official organs of the movements, like the Rabbinic Assembly or United Synagogue; (3) notable figures within movements. I agree that Joseph Solovetchik doesn't necessarily speak for all Orthodoxy, but surely there is a place for views of people of his stature in this article as well. Slrubenstein | Talk 10:54, 23 November 2007 (UTC)

I find it very hard to believe that there isn't a great deal written on the historical and current relationship between American Jewish religious movements - from both within and without the movements, from reliable sources such as Slrubenstein has described. Plus there are also press releases of various joint initiatives, on synagogue mergers (or splits), on academic appointments, etc, etc. Are we concerned here with the existance of sources or access of our editors to sources? Egfrank (talk) 11:31, 23 November 2007 (UTC)
An interesting source, from the sociologist's point of view: Chaim, Waxman. Changing Jewish Communities: Winners and Losers in Denominational Memberships in the United States (Jerusalem: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, 2005(?)). In addition to a review of opinions and surveys, the article has a bibliography that may be helpful for those interested in getting this article out of WP:NOR territory. When sources don't show up easily in key word searches, a good strategy is to start with the bibliography of the few books you know are on-topic and then hop-skip from book to book until one has collected a nice set of sources. Kol tuv, Egfrank (talk) 11:57, 23 November 2007 (UTC)
Hi Egfrank: Instead of making loaded and unhelpful charges against this article, could you please tell us very specifically in point form right here, what in the article needs to be sourced better so that it not be in "WP:NOR territory" as that would help, rather than beating around the bush. Thanks. IZAK (talk) 09:37, 25 November 2007 (UTC)
Though not historical sources, I'd point out that various teshuvot on homosexuality stake out ideological claims about what the Conservative movement and make statements about its history and traditions in a way that highlights the multiplicity of the threads that have gone into it. Roth's responsum articulates the quasi-Orthodox influence; Tucker's articulates the quasi-Reform; and Dorff et al. attempt to bridge the gap between the two in a way that, arguably, is neither. Because of its multiple nature, the fact that from its inception it reacted against and wanted to distance itself from Reform, and the fact that it had (and has) a substantial traditionalist wing which thought of themselves primary as preservers of tradition rather than reformers and who were in practice and temperatment arguably closer to Orthodox than Reform, I do think that Conservative Judaism should be treated as sui generis in general rather as a kind of Reform view. What IZAK is saying does describe a substantial wing and I think is partially correct (Although a decline in the proportion of traditionalists is supported by statistics on both views and day-to-day-observance, I don't know to what extent traditionalists are leaving for the left wing of Modern Orthodoxy, staying where they are, or liberalizing their views and practices). Best --Shirahadasha (talk) 14:58, 25 November 2007 (UTC)
Thank you for your comments Shirahadasha, but my concerns about "WP:NOR territory" is not a statement about the article's truth or falsehood, but rather the fact that it is 15K plus and it has all of 2 footnotes - both from the same source (which is a spokeman for a POV rather than an academic who is objectively surveying the situation). Without objective sources how do we know that anything we write is true? Without citations I have to assume that the content is drawing on personal experiences and perspectives. Personal experience can hint at truths that don't necessarily show up in citable sources, e.g. IZAK's point about "oral tradition". But personal experience is also wildly vulnerable to sampling errors. This is true, even when the personal experience is from someone as well respected as Avi Shapir. He doesn't claim to have done a thorough study - in both citations he speaks from personal experience and relies on annecdotal evidence.
Without research, empirical studies, and the like it is very hard to know if our personal observations reflect reality or not. Another way to understand my concerns might be to compare this article to the Waxman article. I'd do a point by point comparison, but I don't know where to begin - its like comparing apples and oranges. This kind of divergence in both structure and content, especially in a Wikipedia article with minimal footnotes, raises red flags.
I think it especially important in an article like this that we be scrupulous about WP:V and WP:RS. What I would like to see us do is
  • put together a list of sources on this topic divided into two groups:
    1. context/framework/synthesis providers: e.g. sociologists, historians, and organizational policy/spokespersons statements for each of the denominations
    2. illustrative annecdote providers (used only to add color to claims citable from the first group): e.g. press releases, blogs/quotes of thought leaders for each of the denominations
  • review and summarize those sources rather than our own opinions, however valid
I think an article built out of that two step strategy would be far more reliable and more consistent with Wikipedia policy than what we have now. Egfrank (talk) 15:48, 25 November 2007 (UTC)
It seems like the thread has shifted to sources, so let me try putting in a section break. Readjust if you disagree. Thanks. HG | Talk 16:33, 25 November 2007 (UTC)
Regarding sources, I agree that sources are a real problem here. We all seem to have well-informed impressions, but nobody is suggesting that we write a joint opinion piece. However, there is some uncertainty about sources. Let's differentiate between primary source -- such as official documents, texts by notable leaders, etc. To the greatest extent possible, we should avoid building the article out of our own interpretations of primary sources. Instead, we should rely on secondary sources such as those listed by Egfrank above (and Slrubenstein) -- scholarly interpretations, synthesis etc., by historians, sociologists and the like. If secondary sources are lacking for any section, then that section should be cut or greatly pared down.
I think it's also important to consider the scope of the sources and article. The article would seem to cover two types of relationships: (a) how one branch views another branch, (b) how much one branch interacts with another branch, e.g. cooperation, exchange of personnel and constituency, rejection and separation, mutual political or cultural activities, etc. I would like to see us list any sources, primary and secondary, that focus predominantly on either (a) or (b). Otherwise, we're stuck sifting through and cherry-picking general sources, which can easily result in original research temptations. Thanks. HG | Talk 16:33, 25 November 2007 (UTC)
Added to the article some sources, mostly on (a) views, with some (b) interactions. Thanks. HG | Talk 05:41, 26 November 2007 (UTC)

Question for Egfrank: Frequently the "context/framework/synthesis providers: e.g. sociologists, historians, and organizational policy/spokespersons statements for each of the denominations" and the "illustrative annecdote providers (used only to add color to claims citable from the first group): e.g. press releases, blogs/quotes of thought leaders for each of the denomination" that you mention are not strictly speaking Reform, Conservative or Orthodox themselves as that is a very academic approach that is dominated by secular non-religious and even anti-religious POV academics and spokespeople. So that the true views from within Reform, Conservatism and Orthodoxy by its own leaders is often-times distorted, misunderstood, twisted or unknown. I can vouch for the case of Haredi and Hasidic leaders who mostly do not themselves say much in public and yet they are the paramount leaders of Haredi and Hasidic Jews and Judaism who cannot be understood or disconnected from the views and teachings of their Rabbonim, Poskim, Rosh yeshivas, Rebbes, and simply the voices of the Seforim and Gedolim of all ages that guide Haredi Jews through the Shulkhan Arukh, and the words of the Rishonim and Acharonim -- so it would be a joke and an impossibility to rely on the writings of "sociologists, historians, and organizational policy/spokespersons statements" who are ignorant and often violently prejudiced against Orthodox, and even all religious Jews. This is but one major problem. As far as Reform and Conservatism goes, they have changed their tunes to suit each age. There was a time when the Conservatives were aligned in their views with Orthodoxy in official allegiance to Halakha such as on the issue of forbidding female rabbis. Once the Reform broke that barrier 30 years ago, the Conservatives swung around and joined them fairly quickly, albeit with great inner turmoil. The same thing with same sex-marriages, gay clergy, interfaith ceremonies, which mitzvot to abandon or to try to resuscitate. In the case of Conservatism and Reform what will be written about them and their efforts at the present time will not be true of what they were up to ten or twenty years ago, and certainly not what the situation was 50 or 100 years ago, so which version of the academics would one believe? There has to be a way to set up a consistent JUDAIC standard -- agreeable to all of us -- that while incorporating mainstream academic views based on the last 100 years, that will not not bend to the POV writings of academics and sociologist who bend to the winds of political correctness more than they do to any branch of Judaism, and often as they work within one or other branch of it, they do not speak for it but rather for prevailing and changing secular non-Jewish, and even anti-Jewish and anti-Israel, social and societal shifts that are not bound to nor do they respect Jews and Judaism. To illustrate this point in reverse: Would it be acceptable if in articles about sociology, history, and society, the views and writings of rabbis would be inserted so that their voices be heard? After all, the Torah has much to say or that can be deduced, on every topic that faces us. Therefore, just as rabbis are not really allowed to poke their noses into the subjects of sociology, history and academics, likewise, the voices of secular sociologists, historians, and academic thinkers cannot ever become the final arbiters of subject matter that relates to matters of faith and religion. IZAK (talk) 03:38, 26 November 2007 (UTC)

There seem to be several issues above - some of which go to the heart of wikipedia policy. I'm going to try to sort them out with bullet items and reframe in terms of the wikipedia implications. If I get this wrong, please feel free to strike out and rephrase any of the bullet items:
  1. Wikipedia favors academic sources, if available - see WP:SOURCES. There is a point of view that academia is itself a POV and is hostile to religious POV. If this is true, how can we trust these sources as reliable sources? How can we write a wikipedia policy compliant article that is also WP:NPOV?
  2. ?Even if these academic sources are reliable, much important information about the haredi community never gets written down or even studied by these academics. Even if the academics were unbiased how would we have enough information to record their position? Wouldn't cutting down or eliminating sections without reliable secondary sources mean making haredim invisiable? And if so, don't the demands of WP:UNDUE (which would say significant viewpoints need to be represented) and WP:NPOV conflict with the policy WP:SOURCES and the guideline WP:RS
  3. How does one define a "religous POV" in the first place? If Reform and Conservative are "changing their tune" which time slice in history is the real "Conservative"? the real "Reform"?
  4. What should be a reliable source on religious topics? How can academics even be considered reliable sources on a religious POV?
These are all very important concerns but the fact remains Wikipedia policy does privilege academic sources when available. So I think we really have no choice but to use them -- when available. If there is not enough academic information on the haredi community or we can make compelling arguments that the available information is biased, then of course we need to consider other sources. However, even those arguments of bias shouldn't come from our personal opinions - they should be supported by spokespeople within those communities who have complained of bias or academics who have identified methodological weaknesses in the study of those communities.
As for the academic sources themselves, I think we need to assume good faith. Most academics, especially these days, go out of their way to be neutral. And they spend a lot of time critiquing their own methodologies. Academics make mistakes of course - we are all vulnerable to believing that our personal sitz-in-leben is normative for all. Neutrality is a learning process - each new voice that enters the dialog changes our idea of the range of views that are possible. In some cases, the new voices do more than that: they help us rethink inherent biases in currently accepted methodology. Slrubenstien is much better read in anthropology (and I think sociology) than I am. Perhaps he will speak up on the issue of methodology and bias. If I recall correctly, shirahadasha is a statistician by profession - perhaps she too will have something to say on methodological questions.
Beyond that, if we are serious about writing a wikipedia policy compliant article and we are concerned about academic bias, we may need to look outside of our usual project circle. Finding sources that critique research or methodology is never as easy as finding the research itself. These kind of commentary don't usually show up in key word searches. They are buried in the forwards of books or in lit reviews or in book reviews or in the introductory material of a research study (which often contains at least a partial lit review) or even in letters to the editor in academic journals. But that difficulty doesn't give us permission to go write joint opinion pieces. It means we need to either learn the research skills/methodological issues ourselves or find fellow wikipedians who have those skills and methodological maturity and are willing to help out. Egfrank (talk) 06:57, 26 November 2007 (UTC)

Hi Egfrank, thanks for taking the time to answer. There is no need to preach the "gospel" of Wikipedia to me or to anyone, I am well-aware of the policies and I have never diverged from them. I would like to respond with a few points here:

  1. Wikipedia is more than happy to rely on the primary sources of Judaism from whichever direction as long as full citations are given. How else are articles about the 613 Mitzvot or any area of Category:Jewish law and rituals written if not from Judaic sources only? Academics cannot create nor sit in judgment of texts and decisions that create Jewish law and Jewish life. An academic may be an observer perhaps, but can never be the source of Judaism's religious teachings and for those Wikipedia relies on what Jewish primary texts state not what academics write. Feel free to create an article about Academic view of Judaism, but it will never equal Judaism. So much so, that Wikipedia encourages projects that preserve the classical texts of Judaism. User Dovi (talk · contribs)'s page lists some important examples: "Hebrew Wikisource is building the Wikisource edition of Arukh Hashulchan. The Arukh Hashulchan is an important and relevant halakhic work on all four parts of the Shulchan Arukh. The Wikisource edition is edited and formatted for accuracy and user-friendliness. So far over 200 simanim (chapters) have been completed... a list of haftarot according to the order of the books of Nevi'im, which may be found here as part of the Wikisource Vayavinu Bamikra project... contribute content to the Hebrew Wikisource Mikraot Gedolot...content to the Hebrew Wikisource Vayavinu Bamikra project (for media relating to reading the Tanakh with cantillation)...content to the Hebrew Wikisource Open Mishnah Project" so far from "favoring academic sources" Wikipedia actually has vast projects to preserve, enhance and utilize the classical sources of Judaism.
  2. I have absolutely NO idea what you are saying with this: "Even if these academic sources are reliable, much important information about the haredi community never gets written down or even studied by these academics. Even if the academics were unbiased how would we have enough information to record their position? Wouldn't cutting down or eliminating sections without reliable secondary sources mean making haredim invisiable? And if so, don't the demands of WP:UNDUE (which would say significant viewpoints need to be represented) and WP:NPOV conflict with the policy WP:SOURCES and the guideline WP:RS" as you are just citing a string of policies with applying to anything real. Can you explain please.
  3. (I'm skipping over a few points) but you have sheer chutzpa to say this: "It means we need to either learn the research skills/methodological issues ourselves or find fellow wikipedians who have those skills and methodological maturity and are willing to help out." Will we call in some editors from the Christianity or Evolution departments to "help out" how to edit Judaism articles? Has anyone made such a suggestion ever from other fields? Imagine all those editors of articles about Islam obviously written from a very Islamic POV meandering over here to ask for help with sorting out their articles. How can you even contemplate such things and keep a straight face in these discussions? Do you think that the editors you have encountered here cannot do that? My assumption has always been that the editors involved in the Judaic sections are all highly qualified professionals in their fields who have spent many years in colleges and universities of higher learning and hold advanced degrees. Please stop patronizing everyone and get on with the job of saying how you would like to chop and hack articles as I know you would like to do based on what you did to the Reform Judaism article/topic and when things did not go your way you had no problem taking the discussion to a place where you thought you could get help but in reality you were just wasting everyone's time there at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Countering systemic bias/open tasks#WikiProject Judaism needs help - geographical bias concerns, and in the end you just did what you wanted in any case with the Reform articles so why level accusations, demean others and complain here before before anything has even happened? That is no way to do business. We can all face the music here and so can you. IZAK (talk) 08:58, 26 November 2007 (UTC)
IZAK - didn't you not too long ago suggest that User:Swatjester consult with Wikipedia:WikiProject Judaism before deleting an article[5]. Surely you weren't intending to demean or insult his expertise?
I see nothing demeaning in suggesting that we reduce the research burden on ourselves by cooperating with other projects. If someone on the Judaism project is a whiz at finding citable sources that critique sociology studies or the methodology they use, then by all means lets get them involved -- if they aren't already :-)! Of course, we are a multi-talented and richly educated group. But you know, we can't know everything. In fact, one sign of a true expert is that they know what they don't know and respect and rely on the expertise of others rather than trying to "do it all themselves". Egfrank (talk) 13:41, 26 November 2007 (UTC)
Above Egfrank makes a mistake when he writes, "Without objective sources how do we know that anything we write is true?" Wikiipedia is concerned with veriviability, not truth. We do n9t claim what is objectively true, we provide multiple views of the so-called truth. Now, I think Shirahadashah and IZAK are perfectily reasonable to calling attention to many sources that provide valuable and relevant views. If you are looking for more academic sources, I already recommended Rosenthal's Four Paths to One God which is at least non-partisan on the movements. On specifically the Conservative movement, there is Sklar's Conservative Judaism which is sociological. I still think Waxman's book and Dorff's book are valuable and appropriate sources from within the Conservative movement. Slrubenstein | Talk 13:46, 26 November 2007 (UTC)
Just for clarification - "How do we know what is true?" doesn't imply by any stretch of the imagination that there is one knowable version of the truth or even for that matter that there is one truth. I was simply making an observation about the nature of verifiability - e.g. the emphasis was on the word "know". My only point is that we can never hope even to get to "multiple views of the so-called truth" if we rely only on our subjective experiences. Our subjective experiences, however well informed, are notoriously vulnerable to observer and sampling bias. The same applies to any WP:V, WP:RS source that relies on annecdotal evidence or personal experience.
Take the generalization you learned in school that "Reform Jews seek their authority in the prophets" - well yes that is true for a certain strain of US Reform and I can think of several books based on that line of thinking. But it is only a partial view. I can also think of several examples that call its general applicability into question. First, I think there is widespread recognition these days that the prophets were not democrats or preachers of personal autonomy or endorsers of Kantian universal ethics. They spoke from their time and their frame of reference and to a certain extent we read our modern values and expectations back into those texts. Second, we have well respected thinkers like Borowitz that start with a faith assumption of human dignity and then build up their judaism from that vantage point using the full range of biblical and rabbinic literature (see Borowitz, Renewing the Covenant). His dominant metaphor is not the prophetic voice but the relationship of covenant. Third, modern US Reform rabbis are as likely to quote later rabbinic texts and chassidut as the prophets in their sermons - probably more so. Even the dominant catch-phrase of the day,"tikkun olam", comes from rabbinic, not biblical, literature. Fourth, if the prophetic tradition was really the "source of authority" - why it is so little in evidence in this recommended reading list from the URJ[6]? My point isn't to contradict you or your teachers. Only to point out that quick summary statements comparing movements are vulnerable to over generalization or partial awareness.
We need formal academic sources, such as the historians and sociologists you named, because their methodology is designed to get us past bias issues (though of course we can debate whether or not they are successful in their goal). Other than that I agree with everything you have said. I don't think anyone has objected to primary sources. However, WP:SOURCES means that we can't use them (in most cases) to provide synthesis and analysis. For that we need secondary sources. Egfrank (talk) 15:22, 26 November 2007 (UTC)
I agree with everything you say. I would only add this: given the title of this article, how the Conservative movement and Orthodox movements, and others, voew one another is an important part of the article. In short, I am suggesting that in addition to a relatively thorough account of the historical relations among movements, drawing on non-partisan secondary sources as well as enough partisan or partial sources to provide a balance of notable views about each movement's self-representation, there must also be room for ccounts of how each movement situates itself vis a vis the others and how each movement represents the others even if such representations are partisan and partial. Slrubenstein | Talk 17:38, 26 November 2007 (UTC)
Agreed completely, Egfrank (talk) 17:54, 26 November 2007 (UTC)

Oh Egfrank, you forgot to mention that maybe we should all become proficient with the writings of famous Jews who spoke out and wrote about Jews and Judaism from time to time (even if they dropped their Jewishness, I mean if Kant can be good why not these guys?) like Sigmund (Shlomo) Freud, Karl (Levy) Marx, Leon (Bronstein) Trotsky and lets' not forget that Judaism cannot be understood without Sholem Aleichem (Rabinovich) and Isaac Bashevis Singer -- what kind of "Judaism" would come out of that broth? IZAK (talk)

Aside from Isaac Bashevis Singer I'm not aware that any of these authors spoke or wrote on US Judaism of any form, let alone the specific topic of relationship amongst movements. As for Isaac Bashevis Singer you raise an interesting point. One POV we have completely left out of the discussion is the portrayal of the relationship between the movements in the eyes of novels and literature. I don't know if Singer has anything relevant, but I know the issue of how relationships amongst the movements might affect literature is notable enough to have made it into the New York Times book review section [7] Egfrank (talk) 07:39, 27 November 2007 (UTC)

Eg: If one starts looking for non-traditional sources, often the line is not drawn to exclude other influences. Often, religious writers will draw on prominent outside sources just as the West's women's rights and gay rights movements have spawned copy-cat endeavours in Jewish and even religious sectors. Likewise, the impact of environmentalism, liberation theology, and plain Liberalism, continue to have a direct influence on Jewish religious movements who mimic those same non-Jewish agendas with lame justifications, rationalizations and proofs that they are derived from classical Jewish sources when they are not coming from those sources at all but from the secular and even anti-religious political and social movements in gentile society external to the Jews. As is often the case, the ones making the case against classical Judaism are secular Jews out to demolish "the old order" they have denounced or that has rejected them. Marx wrote On the Jewish Question and his writings have quite a few of his hateful views and attitudes to Jews and Judaism. As is well known the Jewish masses who came over from Europe were preponderately favorable to Socialism, as with the Jewish Bund, and this tainted the nature of Jewish life in America until the rise of newly affluent Jews, it's probably also tied in with the rise of Humanistic Judaism and secular Jewish culture as a reaction to the former "old-fashioned" Jewish religious way of life. So yes, Marx is important because he is the secular "prophet" of most Socialists. Same with Sigmund Freud and his appeal to Jewish intellectuals in America many of whom abandoned the religious way of life of their parents. I remember reading a book in my teens (I will not tell you how many years ago) by Reform Rabbi Henry Enoch Kagan called Six Who Changed the World: Moses, Jesus, Paul, Marx, Freud, Einstein (1963) [8] [9] [10] a brilliant investigation for similarities between "Moses, Jesus, Paul, Marx, Freud, Einstein." Trotsky gave birth to Trotskyism and like Marxism it held great sway over the Jewish masses worldide who viewed him in a "messianic" light, a great liberator, and the role of his thought in drawing Jews away from Judaism. As for the Yiddish writers and the Yidishists, they gave birth to a seemingly "Jewish" literature that, like the writings of Marx, Freud, and Trotsky, drew Jews away from their traditions and caused great near-mortal harm to Judaism. IZAK (talk) 09:10, 27 November 2007 (UTC)

You are right that we need to keep this article focused. Do you see the relationship amongst the movements as portrayed in literature off topic for this article? If so, why? Egfrank (talk) 09:36, 27 November 2007 (UTC)

Eg: Well it's encouraging that you are not clamoring to include the views of Marx or Freud and their ilk on Jewish religious questions. As for the influence of literature, especially Yiddish literature, while that may have had a strong influence in the sense of popular Jewish culture, they are really non-starters as far as having a serious, or any impact, in the formulation of Jewish religious thought or practice. So for now, the focus should remain on Judaic sources and Jewish religious thinkers, scholars and of course rabbis and their works. IZAK (talk) 10:25, 27 November 2007 (UTC)

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...[edit]

While noone was looking, User Egfrank (talk · contribs) stalked off and opened a new front by attacking User IZAK (talk · contribs) see Wikipedia:Wikiquette alerts#User:IZAK, rather than debating the issues and facts here, User:Egfrank would rather conduct personal vendettas against editors who disagree with her. How pathetic. IZAK (talk) 04:56, 27 November 2007 (UTC)

Recent rename to Relationships between American Jewish religious movements[edit]

I don't understand why this article renamed. All of the major movements involved -- Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform -- have both international histories and a contemporary international presence. The current article content does unduly reflect an American point of view, but this can be fixed. Best, --Shirahadasha 23:38, 9 October 2007 (UTC)

I did this because, after reading the page over several times, it only had US denominational connection. True we might all be aware that each of the denominations has an international counterpart - but that isn't reflected on this page, by its creator or subsequent, numerous editors. Of course if this was not the proper thing to do, it can be changed back...but the whole page would need to be heavily added to. It is a shame this couldn't be purged entirely and a new section added to the denomination page. Best wishes, A Sniper 21:20, 9 October 2007 (UTC)
Agreeing with Shirahadasha, I don't think it makes sense to limit this article to American movements. Better to fix the content, because the geographic limit is quite artificial. For instance, what about Israeli Orthodox commenting on American movements, or vice versa? We certainly don't want to have this "relationships" topic segmented for UK and Germany and Hungary, because movements and individuals constantly interact and comment across geographic boundaries. We need to revisit the title. HG | Talk 05:45, 26 November 2007 (UTC)
Before we worry about the world-wide perspective - which I agree would be interesting - perhaps we should focus first on getting a well sourced WP:NPOV article on the USA. There is a huge amount of material on the US alone to sort through. Egfrank (talk) 07:24, 27 November 2007 (UTC)
Several problems. (1) Many sources and notable figures do not limit their remarks to a geographic denomination. Hence, when R. Feinstein or Joel Roth comment on other movements, they don't refer only to Jews and organizations within the US. (2) Accordingly, the current article's content is not limited to the US. (3) The discourse of the movements cannot be segregated geographically enough to justify segregated articles. For these reasons, I will would like to move it back and open the discussion here. Thanks. HG | Talk 17:48, 27 November 2007 (UTC)
  1. There is plenty of material available (e.g. historical, socialogical, literary) that is indeed region specific. This article hasn't even begun to scratch the surface of that material.
  2. Why is it relevant that Joel Roth says things that are worldwide? If claim A applies to US and claim A applies to Israel, then A is appropriate in any of the following three articles: (a) an article on the US (b) an article on israel and (c) an article on the US and israel.
  3. The material on other areas (e.g. israel) is volumous - Israel deserves its own article.
  4. If we write a good article on the US and then start writing one on Israel, and while writing the one on israel notice that we need to reuse material, then we can always add a third article with the shared material.
  5. Even if we need shared material (e.g. for Israel and the US) it does not change the fact that both countries have denominational relationships that are complex enough and sufficiently sourced to each need their own article.
  6. Finally, its better to do a little well, then try to do too much and do it poorly. Egfrank (talk) 19:08, 27 November 2007 (UTC)

(outdent) The following aspects of the article are not limited to internal USA relationships:

  • Haredi views of Modern Orthodox, generally
  • R. Feinstein on non-Orthodox Jews
  • Haredia on "heretical intent and the 1800s widespread denigration of religion."
  • Modern Ortho on non-Orthodox generally
  • R. Soloveitchik -- not discussing American non-Ortho alone
  • R. Lamm saying "non-Orthodox rabbis and laypeople may possess spiritual dignity" etc
  • R. Berger: "The Jewish loyalties and observances of non-Orthodox Jews are decidedly better than nothing." etc
  • Conservative views of Orthodox are not limited to American Orthodox, and general view is held by Masorti/Conservative too
  • R. Schorsch: "claimed that Orthodox organizations in Israel politically discriminate against non-Orthodox Jews" obviously not US
  • The Reform section is not only USA, mostly historical

Given this content, I would like to undo the recent move and switch the burden of proof for changing the name of this long-standing article. This can be done either as a BRD move or as a Requested Move. Thanks. HG | Talk 01:01, 28 November 2007 (UTC)

Ok, finally implemented the move back to prior name. Sorry about the delay, though at least it left plenty of time for further disagreements to be stated. Thanks. HG | Talk 06:10, 3 January 2008 (UTC)