Talk:Reform Judaism

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Comparing US, UK, Israeli "Reform" Judaism[edit]

I have restored the paragraph comparing the radical-to-traditionalist alignments of US, UK, and Israeli progressive Judaism along with supporting citations. An editor deleted it not realizing it was easily supported by citations. I am not aware of anyone who disputes the restored claims, but if there are reliable sources presenting another opinion, I hope editors will add a sentence explaining the point of view and a reliable source indicating its notability. It is of course important to include all notable points of view in an WP:NPOV article. Egfrank 11:31, 16 November 2007 (UTC)


I spent the better part of yesterday looking up and reading the introductions and table of contents of the books listed in the bibliography. From this I would like to make two observations:

  • some (though not all) of the books are sufficiently notable that they are on the reserve shelf o the Jerusaelem campus library of Hebrew Union College. Thank you to the editor that found these books.
  • none of these books treat the various topics on this page as if they were a whole. To the contrary all books belong to either one or the other of the disambiguated topics.

For convenience of editors who may not have had a chance to read the books, I'll explain below:

  • Reform Judaism (North America):
    • Abraham Jehiel Feldman. Reform Judaism; a guide for Reform Jews. New York: Behrman House, 1956.
    • ______.Reform Judaism; a guide for Reform Jews. Hartford: Temple Beth Israel, 1953.
      Rabbi Feldman is primarily notable as an expert on the role of the American rabbi. He has no notable work on Judaism outside of the US. The two books listed appear to be lay guides describing US Reform Judaism c. 1950. US Reform Judaism has changed a great deal since then - vis a vis the role of tradition, the role of women, gays, etc. This book at most has historical value.
    • Howard R. Greenstein. Turning point, Zionism and reform Judaism. Brown Judaic studies. 12, Chico, CA: Scholars Press, 1981. ISBN: 0891305114; 0891305122.
      This book discusses the history of Zionism in US Reform Judaism. Chapter headings are: (1) Prelude to the Columbus Platform (2) The Jewish army controversy and the rise of the American Council for Judaism (3) Houston controvery (4) Advocates and Adversaries: the inner conflict over Judaism (5) Debate over the American Jewish Conference. The appendix contains 2 CCAR resolutions and a UAHC response.
    • Kaufmann Kohler. Jewish Theology: Systematically and Historically Considered
      This particular book by Kohler does not even use the term "Reform Judaism". Its only claim to being about Reform Judaism is that that Kohler was a pivotal leader within the US Reform movement and the fact that most historians of US Reform (and those alive who lived through the 1950's) would say that Kohler played a major role in US Reform thought until at least the 1960's. There is no evidence that he played a long term significant role in liberal or progressive thought outside the US. Encyclopedia Britannica[1] classifies him as an "American Rabbi and Theologican". reports that he was excluded from the German rabbinate.[2]. This is a US POV perhaps. A German article[3] suggests an alternate view - claiming that Kohler acted as a bridge between Jewish and Christian theology on one hand and German and American liberal Judaism on the other. However, it should be noted that this article does not say German and American reform - when the context is switched to international, the adjective switches away from "Reform" to "liberal".
      In any case, Kohler's reductionistic, biblicized Judaism is largely of historical interest. Outside of academia, there is little evidence of long term European Jewish impact. Even in the US, the 1980's the reductionistic, biblicized Judaism he taught has been falling out of favor. Though his concept of "ethical monotheism" remains, very few these days feel that it captures the sum total of what it means to be a modern US Reform Jew. Much more typical is the post-modern approach of Eugene Borowitz, the liturgical innovation of Larry Hoffman, the spiritual reflections of Arthur Green, or the midrashic retellings of Norman Cohen.
    • David Polish. Renew our days : the Zionist issue in Reform Judaism. Jerusalem: World Zionist Organization, 1976. ISBN: pbk. :.
      From the preface defining the scope of the book: "This is a record of the development of the ionist issue within American Reform Judaism." p. 7
    • Levi Arthur Olan and Jack Bemporad. A Rational faith : essays in honor of Levi A. Olan. New York: Ktav Pub. House, 1977. ISBN: 0870684485.
      Olan is a former CCAR president and 1960's Houston TX radio presence on US Reform Judaism[4].
    • Alvin Jay Reines. Elements in a philosophy of Reform Judaism. Cincinnati, Ohio: Institute of Creative Judaism, 1976.
      Reines is professor at HUC in Cinncinnati, notable for (a) scholarship on Rambam (b) "polydoxy" - a religious approach that says each individual may choose whatever beliefs best suit themObit[5]. No evidence of significant impact outside of US Reform.
    • Sylvan D. Schwartzman. Reform Judaism then and now. New York: Union of American Hebrew Congregations, 1971.
      Schwartzman wrote on Bible and the history of US Reform
    • William B. Silverman. Basic reform Judaism. New York: Philosophical Library, 1970.
      Writer on US Reform
    • Charles A. Kroloff. Reform Judaism: a Jewish way of life. Jersey City: Ktav, 2005. ISBN: 0881259004.
      Small booklet designed to explain US Reform judaism at simchas[6].
      former CCAR President; currently working for HUC administration in Cincinnati - very sensitive to different international terminology - uses Reform referring to the US, Progressive referring to Israel[7];
  • Reform movement in Judaism
    • W. Gunther Plaut. The Rise of Reform Judaism: A Sourcebook of its European Origins . New York: World Union for Progressive Judaism, 1963.
      This is the first of a two volume series (the second being "The Growth of Reform Judaism"). The first book in the series covers only European reformers and deliberately distinguishes it from the US movement. As statedin the Introduction (pp. xxi-xxii): Our book deals with the foundations of Reform in Europe, and, therefore, it limits itself to the four periods just described: the period of the precursors (1780-1817); the period of the first reforms (1817-1838); the period of the great flowering (1838-1848); the period of consolidation (1848-1871). Parallel to this last time span runs the founding of American Rform, but its social, political, and economic setting was so different that its treatment has been researved for a later volume.
      The editor who restored this book to the bibliography may have been confusing it with the second volume, The Growth of Reform Judaism (1965). This book does indeed include a mix of US and European sources. However, the explanation in the introduction makes it clear that (a) the focus is US Reform and (b) the criteria for larger inclusion is an association with liberal religious thought rather than "Reform". Hence, despite its title, this book is really a source book in liberal religious thought with an emphasis on US Reform: The emphasis in the "Growth of Reform Judaism" is cheifly on the American scene, where Reform has made its most notable advances, but selections of reprsentative liberal Jewish thought in Europe and to a lesser degree in Palestine (pre-1948 Israel) are generously included. (pp. vii-viii).
      The preface goes on to discuss the problems with using "liberal thought" as a criteria. Theodore Herzl and Henrietta Szold are excluded despite the one growing up in a liberal home and the other having a father whose contributions were included in this book. Both were viewed as too secular. On the other hand, many thinkers that have vigourously critiqued US Reform were included because they did qualify as religiously liberal thinkers (Franz Rosenzweig, martin Buber, Mordechai Kaplan) or because they had a profound influence on its institutions (Rebecca Graetz).
    • David B. Ruderman and Teaching Company. Jewish intellectual history. The great courses. Chantilly, VA: Teaching Co., 2002.
      David B. Ruderman is notable for his work as a historian of medieval and early modern period of Jewish history. This particular book is not sufficiently notable to have made it into the HUC Jerusalem campus library.
  • Progressive Judaism (Germany)
    • Leo Baeck, Essence of Judaism.
      This particular book was originally written in German (1923) and only translated to English twenty years later in 1948. Even more so than Kohler's book, Essence of Judaism bears little explicit connection to what is now known as "Reform Judaism". The German milieu in which he wrote referred to itself as "liberal", not "reform". The book itself never mentions the term "Reform Judaism". It doesn't even quote reformers - the entire book is devoted to exploring the philosophical and theological implications of biblical and rabbinic sources.
      Leo Baeck is most notable as the leader of the Berlin community. He attended the first meeting of the WUPJ as its representative and insisted on staying in Germany during WWII even though his determination earned him a stay in Terezienstadt.[8]. Leo Baeck has had widespread influence on progressive Judaism, most notably outside the USA. Ironically, despite teaching several years at Hebrew Union College post WWII, his brand of liberal Judaism left little mark on the US scene and he is only rarely quoted there.

I am going to distribute the bibliography books to the appropriate disambiguated article. Working through this list was very time consuming. In the future, I would hope that editors will check the books and place them in the appropriate sub-article themselves rather than leaving them here for someone else to research. Many thanks, Egfrank (talk) 16:29, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

This article deserves to have a bibliography of important books about Reform Judaism. There's no principle or rule against having a book show up in more than one article. The most significant books from the disambiguated articles belong here, too. These include Kohler and Baeck and Plaut. Regardless of the above research on the bibliography, these authors are strongly associated with Reform Judaism in many reliable sources. There is no neutral and encyclopedic basis for continuing to delete these books from the bibliography. Thanks. HG | Talk 16:45, 22 November 2007 (UTC)
Correction - they are associated with one and sometimes no more than two of the disambiguated meanings of "Reform Judaism" - by your logic we should add bibliographies to every disambiguation page in wikipedia merely because the term shows up in a search engine or in Rambi.
There is no neutral or encyclopediac basis for including them in this article. Kohler, Beack and Plaut belong on Reform movement in Judaism without doubt - your claim does make sense there. Egfrank (talk) 20:19, 22 November 2007 (UTC)

RfC: Should there be a single umbrella article on Reform/Progressive Judaism and if so what should that article be called?[edit]

Background: Some editors have suggested that that Reform/Progressive Judaism should have an overview article that describes it as a cohesive subject serves as umbrella term for other related forms of Judaism and includes its history dating from the 19th century German reform movement. Articles on different organizations and movements within the umbrella would then be handled as spinoff articles. There has been some disagreement among these editors about what to call the overview article (e.g. Reform movement in Judaism, Progressive Judaism, Reform Judaism, etc.)as well as which entities/organizations/movements to include as part of the reform/progressive umbrella.

Other editors have suggested going with separate articles on the different organizations and movements rather than using a main/spinoff article formats. These editors note the many differences between the movements involved and suggest that these differences make a single umbrella article problematic.

The concepts and organizations they have identified in the course of the discussion include:

  1. Reform Judaism (North America) - one of the largest formal Jewish denominations in the world with 1.1 million members and over 900 congregations in North America.
  2. Reform Judaism (United Kingdom) - a much smaller UK based Jewish denomination within Judaism with no direct ties - legal or financial with the US denomination of the same name. In maintains separate congregational, rabbinic, financial, and legal organization from North American Reform movement. It is also more conservative and rejects many of its decisions - including its definition of who is a Jew.
  3. Progressive Judaism (Israel) - the Israeli movement self-identifies as progressive, not reform, but is commonly referred to as "Reform" by the Israeli press - hence its inclusion in this article.
  4. Progressive Judaism - User:HG and User:IZAK have repeatedly contented that this can be legitimately called "Reform Judaism". It should be noted that
    • Progressive Judaism is defined in terms of the members of the World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ) and that "Progressive" is their term of self-identification - not "Reform".
    • US Reform, UK Reform, and Israeli Progressive Judaism are all members of the WUPJ, but they represent only 3 of the 42 countries that have congregations.
    • the US Reconstructionist movement is a member of the World Union for Progressive Judaism but is not in any way considered "Reform".
    • the term "Reform Judaism" is not used in the wider web to mean worldwide "Progressive Judaism" except in contexts that also note that this is "North American usage" (Shamash/Usenet), and that the correct "international-speak" term is "Progressive". Consequently, the "popularity" of this term to mean "progressive" is arguably in doubt.
  5. Reform Judaism (magazine) - a magazine published by the US Reform movement
  6. Reform movement in Judaism - a term used by historians to distinguish between the current day denominations and a historical and on-going reform movement within Judaism.

Egfrank (talk) 21:00, 22 November 2007 (UTC)

Clarification: IMO Reform/Progressive Judaism is a sufficiently coherent idea to have its own substantive overview article, and that is where both Reform Judaism and Progressive Judaism should redirect. It should also try to outline the material currently at Jewish beliefs and practices in the reform movement. Doing this well, to make light easily navigated articles, will be a challenge however; and is likely to require above-average summarising ability, and appropriate hand-offs to other articles. Jheald (talk) 21:09, 22 November 2007 (UTC)

It's disturbing that again this question is posed and discussed in such a personalizing manner, naming me and mischaracterizing my views. In any case, have I actually said that Reform Judaism is a "single cohesive concept"? I don't quite understand the nature of the RfC. "Reform Judaism" or the "Reform movement" would be a splendid title for an overarching article on this branch of Judaism, its history, beliefs, subunits, etc. A "Reform" title seems to be the most prevalent and most self-identifying umbrella term. For further info on this dispute, see the long discussion at the Judaism project page and elsewhere. Thanks. HG | Talk 22:58, 22 November 2007 (UTC) P.S. What exactly is the RfC question here? The "single concept" question looks like a strawman. But regardless, if people comment yes or no, how would yes/no answers help with editing the article? The RfC lists 6 items that deserve to be included or covered in this article. I don't dispute their inclusion. So, in a sentence or two, what is the point of the RfC? HG | Talk 04:29, 23 November 2007 (UTC)

The issue was, re-raised, alas, because the {{dab}} was twice removed
  • User:IZAK with the edit summary This is/was a main article for five years how did it become a "Dab" page suddenly because one or two editors came along and didn't like it's name?. A request to merge the content of Reform movement in Judaism into this article was also proposed.[9]
  • User:Dmacks with the edit summary not a true DAB simple list-of-pages page though...more an introduction to a topic (summary style or "set index").[10]
The first DAB removal suggests that this conflict is not yet over. The second DAB removal suggests that our "extended dab" is not a possible compromise and/or we will either need to go to a normal DAB (list of articles) format or come up with some name for the overview that is agreeable to all. I might also add that the claim you just made A "Reform" title seems to be the most prevalent and most self-identifying umbrella term is precisely one of the claims in dispute - is it not? My apparent obtuseness and failure to understand why this isn't just a straight forward DAB to clearer more precise terms would be yet another reason why we apparently need a RfC.
In any case, if my summary of the dispute failed to capture your position - many apologies. Please feel free to amend the description of your position, as has User:Jheald. Egfrank (talk) 06:05, 23 November 2007 (UTC) - copy edit saved at same time as response below
Qs. Are you saying that I can directly edit the description above? If so, thanks. But before I do so, I'd still like clarity about the RfC question. Are you asking for comments about whether this should be a DAB page or get a DAB tag? If so, then maybe rewrite the whole question, which doesn't mention disambiguation. If not, I still honestly don't see what you're hoping to learn from the comments. HG | Talk 06:23, 23 November 2007 (UTC)
Of course you can present your own position more clearly. Re: DAB tag vs. DAB page - see copy edits above. Egfrank (talk) 06:39, 23 November 2007 (UTC)
This page shouldn't have a {{dab}} tag because there is no intention to follow WP:MOSDAB. The page could stay as it is, essentially a short set of hand-off summaries without a {{dab}} tag -- I see no fundamental reason or WP guideline to absolutely preclude that; but IMO, as a medium term goal, not necessarily something to be implemented immediately, it would be preferable for "Reform Judaism" to link to a more substantive article; and given the various naming sensitivities, I think this could appropriately be called Reform/Progressive Judaism. Jheald (talk) 10:33, 23 November 2007 (UTC)
Hi. I appreciate your suggestion as constructive, but (as I may have said before) a title with a slash isn't so good by WP style and naming conventions. Moreover, I do wonder if maybe the terms are divergent enough that the combo would just move the naming dispute into disputes over how to write the article. Notably, Reconstructionism is officially affiliated with Progressive but it isn't usually discussed the same way (as part of the whole) in sources on Reform Judaism or Reform movement. In addition, I sense that Progressive can be used to encompass other non-Orthodox groupings that aren't generally considered AFAIK within reform. Thanks. HG | Talk 00:35, 26 November 2007 (UTC)
Hi! I'm not clear what the question that's being asked is. Is there (a) A dispute about whether to have a single Reform/Progressive overview article at all (e.g. some editiors believe the various groups are too different to combine); (b) Agreement to have an overview article but a dispute about what to name it; (c) Something else? Right now one of the two alternatives is in strikethrough so I'm not clear what the options to select from are. Suggest getting agreement on the question and key answer options before opening the matter up to the community for input. Best, --Shirahadasha (talk) 23:24, 25 November 2007 (UTC)
My understanding is that the discussion is still at the question of your proposition (a); and that the strikeouts reflect HG objecting to words being put into his mouth that any such article (if it were to be created) would have to be called Reform Judaism, and would have to describe all Progressive Judaism as being Reform, because that is not necessarily his position. -- Jheald (talk) 23:32, 25 November 2007 (UTC)
Hi! I've attempted to word the question as best I understand it. I'm suggesting focusing the question exclusively in terms of what Wikipedia should do, i.e. what kind of article(s) to have. Please correct me if I didn't get it right. Best, --Shirahadasha (talk) 00:37, 26 November 2007 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Once I understand Egfrank's proposal here, I'm certainly willing to help frame the RfC. I'd also be glad to clarify my own objections. (Though let me reiterate that I do not oppose Progressive Judaism as an article, per se.)
Anyway, I agree that (a) One single article? is still undecided, as is (b) How to name a single overview article? However, I would add another wrinkle. There is another spin-off Reform article entitled Reform movement in Judaism, which Egfrank created and we've both edited. We disagree about the meaning/scope of that article. It would make sense to clarify the scope of Reform Judaism and Reform movement in Judaism together. (Ideally, their relation to Progressive Judaism, too.) Specifically, I'd be reluctant to jettison or dab Reform Judaism while the status of Reform movement in Judaism is in flux. Thanks. HG | Talk 00:57, 26 November 2007 (UTC)
Hi! If there is still disagreement on how to frame the question, suggest taking the RfC down until agreement is reached. Best, --Shirahadasha (talk) 01:04, 26 November 2007 (UTC)
(ec) Ok, I now see Shirahadasha's RfC question asking about (a) One single umbrella article?. However, does anyone believe there should be no umbrella at all? If there's an alternative to a single umbrella, maybe it's our current muddling toward two overviews -- one as a Progressive and one as a r/Reform narrative. If so, it's hard to figure out how to circumscribe their scope so as to minimize overlap, confusion, and divergent forks on overlapping content. However, Shirahadasha, I'm not clear why your RfC question should be placed here. Doesn't the same question apply to the Progressive Judaism and Reform movement in Judaism articles? If so, what's the right forum? Thanks. HG | Talk 01:17, 26 November 2007 (UTC)
Seeing the above -- yes, need more discussion (esp w/Egfrank) before we're at a fruitful RfC. HG | Talk 01:17, 26 November 2007 (UTC)

Would suggest a single RfC on the whole issue rather than separate RfCs per article. If a two-overview solution is agreed to be an option suggest adding that to the RfC (options become (a) one overview, (b) 2 overviews with distinction between the two explained, and (c) no overview) Not sure it's important where it takes place. Best, --Shirahadasha (talk) 02:22, 26 November 2007 (UTC)

Since it appears there isn't agreement on the questions to ask, commented out the RfC. Suggest uncommenting and bringing in the community once there's agreement. May have been too hasty to try to modify the question, not intending to interfere with the discussion taking place among the participants. Best, --Shirahadasha (talk) 02:25, 26 November 2007 (UTC)
I support Shirahadasha's recommendation for an RfC about how many, if any, overview/umbrella articles there should be on reform/progressive Judaisms/movements.
Still, there is a closely related dispute --> I've suggested that we prepare an RfC to define the scope of the spin-off "Reform movement in Judaism" article. Please comment on the suggestion, which at least seeks to clarify part of this dispute. (FYI the merge to/from tags on this page were removed by an anon IP.) HG | Talk 17:35, 27 November 2007 (UTC)

Reform Judaism & Zionism[edit]

Could someone write a section about Reform Judaism and Zionism please? (talk) 20:12, 25 April 2008 (UTC)

There is a section on Zionism at the Reform Judaism (North America) page. Best, A Sniper (talk) 20:20, 25 April 2008 (UTC)

Recent edits to the article[edit]

Hi, I felt the article was due for a number of changes. Here are some of the more major ones I've made:

  1. Perhaps most importantly, I've tried to add a concise summary of Reform Jewish philosophy to the lede.
  2. Rephrased a number of other sentences in the lede.
  3. Removed the commented-out section above the lede, about how people should not vandalize the page. This section is not in any other article I've edited, including the main Judaism article (which is much more widely viewed and probably more contentious). Thus, I didn't see a compelling reason to have it in this article.
  4. Downgraded the completion state from "B" to "start." Although the article at least mentions most of the major topics and is relatively well referenced, there are no pictures and most of the sections have little more than a basic overview of the relevant topic. The movements in each country are very complicated and could someone please add their individual histories and their positions on specific issues, as well as the similarities and differences between them? Pictures might also be nice, as well as information about Reform Jewish traditions and the interaction between Reform Judaism and other branches. Some of this information already exists in other Reform Judaism-related articles.
  5. Added the article to several WikiProjects.

Please let me know your thoughts. --AFriedman (talk) 05:47, 23 December 2009 (UTC)

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

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

Thanks. HG | Talk 17:16, 27 May 2011 (UTC)

God's word[edit]

User:WalkerThrough has been adding lines to the Bible article asserting that it is the revealed word of God (fact). The section on the Hebrew Bible stated that some Jews believe that God revealed all the commandments at Sinai, and other Jews think they were revealed during the wanderings in the desert (no sources). I find this a little off, but certain, not all Jews, not all rabbis, hold to just these two views. I think it excludes the views of most reform Rabbis and I added that some scholars believe that the laws were composed at later times in Jewish history. WalkerThrough deleted this as Original Research here. I restored it with a couple of citations, but now Walker Through is calling me an unbeliever and that Jesus is the truth. I hope that better informed watchers of this page might keep an eye on this as I do not wish to enter a revert war. I would also ask watchers of this page to look at the last section on the talk page, and, if you have something constructive to add, consider it. Slrubenstein | Talk 17:18, 24 September 2011 (UTC)

Noted. Zargulon (talk) 17:57, 24 September 2011 (UTC)

Thanks. Also can you review this edit? My intention was simply to make the prose clearer; I thought I made an utterly uncontroversial edit in stating that the books of the prophets are concerned with struggles between worshippers of the hebrew and foreign gods, and over ethical and unjust behavior. Telpardec reverted and in my view made the prose even worse, basically just repeating that a religious book has religious content on religious stuff as if there was some value in having the word "religious" appear as many times as possible. In the meantime he removed the material on ethics and injustice as if this somehow were not important to the prophets (or Jews). Thanks. Slrubenstein | Talk 11:15, 25 September 2011 (UTC)

I agree - you seem to be handling it well though. Zargulon (talk) 13:18, 25 September 2011 (UTC)
Thank you. But, as usual, I believe that the stability of the article depends on the participation of more people. It is not just that I do not have the time to continue arguing with this editor. First, I want to avoid an edit war over the actual article. Second, no matter how strong my arguments, my views alone are not sufficient to establish a consensus. Stability depends on consensus, and consensus depends on the involvement of several well-informed editors who share a commitment to our core content policies. Slrubenstein | Talk 14:36, 25 September 2011 (UTC)
I'll keep an eye on it. Zargulon (talk) 14:44, 25 September 2011 (UTC)
Thanks. I hope other watchers of this page will as well - we just need a sufficient number of well-informed editors participating in any decisions concerning conflict, for the result to be stable.Slrubenstein | Talk 14:58, 25 September 2011 (UTC)
By the way, just out of interest, what do you have against Telpardec's google books references? I'm not familiar with policy about these. Also is "the Hebrew God" really an accepted expression when referring to these times? It sounds slightly strange to me, but you're the expert. Not that the "God of the Hebrews" is any better. Zargulon (talk) 15:10, 25 September 2011 (UTC)
I think we should look for the most important works of scholarship. If they happen to be online, fine, but Google books actually does not include many of the most important works (it started scanning books illegally and was stopped, there is ongoing contention among librarians and scholars about Google Books; the books they can keep and make available to the public are ones where there is no copyright, and this usually means books that are out of print. I have very seldom found it of any use in doing research. (There is also the point that if anyone with internet access can read the book, WP is not doing much of a service in quoting it. Our real value is when we summarize works of scholarship not available to the internet - thus, via WP, it becomes available to everyone). I know it is convenient for people to use Google books, but I do not think that convenient research = good research. I bet that at Hebrew Union College or wherever Reform Rabbis are trained, they read books and articles on the Bible that are not available through Google Books. We should be trying to find those books and articles, and using WP to make their views available to everyone.
About "Hebrew God" I think the real issue is that in the Tanakh - in Hebrew - there are no capital or lowercase letters and from a Jewish view this is just silly. But Christian readers insist that their God always be capitalized - they treat the word god as a name, thus making it a proper noun. Orthodox Jews as you know do not write the name of God. The only reason I do is because I know that whatever God's name is, it is not "God." Anyway, at first the Christians argued that capitalizing god is grammatical. Now that it is clear that it is not a matter of grammar, Talpardec is looking for a quote that enables her to capitalize God because KJV capitalizes God.
Concerning "Hebrew" I think we should use it only to refer to a language. The Biblical name for the nation that God has a covenant with is "Israel." My understanding is that the Bible does use the word "Hebrews" whenever the context is some encounter between Jews and Gentiles. This suggests (but this is just an interpretation) that in the Bible "Hebrew" is how non-Jews think of the Jews. Which is consistent with Christians today feeling comfortable using "Hebrew" this way. But I have never heard of Jews talking among themselves referring to themselves as Hebrews and I do not think God (in the Bible) ever refers to them as Hebrews. In Exodus, "Hebrew god" is explicitly in contrast to (or competition with) the gods of the Egyptians, which is why I think there the Bible uses the word Hebrew, but my interpretation. I think the Reform Movement has a Torah with commentary which I think is generally respected, I would encourage you to see whatever it says on the matter. Slrubenstein | Talk 15:30, 25 September 2011 (UTC)
Well what about "Jewish God" or "God of the Jews" or "God of the Torah" or "God of the Exodus" or "ancestral God" (isn't he referred to as the "god that their fathers/forefathers worshipped" in the sense of "King XX did not worship the God of his forefathers but built temples in the high places etc etc.)Zargulon (talk) 16:08, 25 September 2011 (UTC)
I just left a comment at the appropriate thread at the article that pretty much sums up my view. I simply see no reason why we Wikipedians have to use the capital G God when referring to the deity that the Jews worship. Sometimes it is appropriate and sometimes it isn't. It deepens on how WP policy and the basic rules of English grammar and proper usage apply to specific contexts. In this case the original objection was on the basis of grammar, and I think that is actually the right approach; I just think that Walker didn't understand how English grammar applies in this context.
I honestly do not see why this is worth so much discussion or contention - let's agree on what is grammatical and move on. What we really need to do instead of writing on the talk page is to find books by leading Jewish, Christian, and critical scholars on the Bible and add meaningful content to the article. I went through about five books I own, some that describe different Jewish views, and some on the Bible, and I added content. I wish other editors would do the same. The Artscroll series is not bad for Orthodox views (unless one reads Hebrew and has Mikraot Gdolot). I know that Conservative and Reform rabbis have written books on the Bible and commentaries. If someone wants to add more critical perspectives the Anchor Bible is superb. I wish other editors would just spend a day or two at a library and read just a few books and add more content. We also have articles on each book of the Bible - again, if five or ten people for each major view (Jewish, Christian and critical) could divide the work, they could just read the introduction to the commentaries on each of these books and add a lot of important content to each article. I don't have the time, but i have been looking at WP articles on the topic over the years and I have seen lots of arguments over trivial things over the years, and very little research on the major secondary sources. Any good synagogue has a library which will at the very least have that movement's commentaries on the Bible, yet these Jewish views are almost entirely absent from WP. I do not man to gripe but I have read several books in order to add the content I have added 9not just now but over the years) and right now I do not have the time to do more. I know that you have been rather active and I appreciate that. Still, the number of well-informed editors willing to research Jewish commentaries and add content seems terribly small to me, and I just find that sad. Slrubenstein | Talk 16:43, 25 September 2011 (UTC)
Your'e right. I don't care about the capitalization here, I trust your judgement on that. It's just the word "Hebrew" in "Hebrew God" that bothered me. Anyway, no biggie. Zargulon (talk) 16:49, 25 September 2011 (UTC)
Sorry, I was just venting. You raise a reasonable concern. But Walker Through keeps trying to proselytize on the talk: Bible page. To another user, he wrote, "Hi there, I need help. These non-believers are ganging up on me and bringing their bias into the Bible article." — in other words, trying to make this a war between editors of different beliefs, rather than an attempt to collaborate and follow our policies. Slrubenstein | Talk 18:44, 25 September 2011 (UTC)
Point taken. By the way I loved Ian.Thompson's essay. Zargulon (talk) 22:13, 25 September 2011 (UTC)

Why is "Jewish Law" hyperlinked twice within 50 characters of each other?[edit]

It's necessary for someone to remove the second hyperlink to the wikipedia article "Jewish Law", as the firs tone, only a few words preceding it, is enough, making the second ill placed and redundant. Note, there's no motion to remove the repetition of the word, just the hyperlink emplaced on it. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:22, 10 August 2014 (UTC)

Changes in Size of denominations[edit]

Reform Judaism is referred to as the largest jewish denomination in the US today. While this was the case until recently, this is no longer so: according to the pew survey, the number of affiliated members of the movement now (2013) equals the number of affiliated members of orthodox synagogues. Thus it would be correct to say that reform judaism, together with orthodox judaism are today the largest denominations of american judaism.

clear up terminology[edit]

This article seems to be stuck about half-way between doing disambiguation and explaining the history of the reform movement and its terminology. This isn't helpful. The problem seems to be that there are at least three different meanings of the term "Reform Judaism", all of them closely related

  1. generic "reformed Judaism", i.e. anything to do with the Jewish reform movement
  2. "Reform Judaism" (North America)
  3. "Reform Judaism" (UK)

now, strictly based on the content of the various linked articles, "Reform Judaism" (UK) corresponds to "Conservative Judaism" (US), and "Reform Judaism" (US) corresponds to "Liberal Judaism" (UK). This split in terminology developed in the early 20th century. In the 1920s, the problem was addressed by introducing the new term "Progressive Judaism" meant to include all of "Reform" (both meanings), "Liberal", "Conservative" and "Reconstructionist" branches, i.e. anything connected to the "reform movement" as opposed to Orthodox Judaism.

Keeping his story scattered over half a dozen pages isn't helpful to the uninitiated reader. I see two possibilities, either merge this entire page into Progressive Judaism and compile a section dedicated to coherently explaining terminology there, or else reduce this page to a simple disambiguation page, as follows, "Reform Judaism" may refer to:

See also

--dab (𒁳) 11:13, 25 November 2014 (UTC)

dab, your use of the term "terminological nightmare" is absolutely correct. What happened here is that someone attempted to "clear" the matter, turning this page into a virtual disambig. while moving much data to Jewish beliefs and practices in the reform movement, an article which is in shambles. In addition, there are also Progressive Judaism and Reform movement in Judaism. Everything is a total mess, the citations are very poor. I'll attempt to answer:
  1. UK Reform Judaism is NOT Conservative at all. It adheres to the basic principles of its American counterpart, though it's less radical. British Liberals are indeed tending toward the American model.
  1. A a bit of history: the basics of Reform - these include progressive revelation, universalized Messianism and so on, too complex to explain right now - were laid in 1830-1840s Germany by Abraham Geiger and his supporters, like Samuel Holdheim. Jewish communities in Germany remained unified by law (one city, one congregation) until 1876, and the Reformers - known there as "Liberals", though this title was quite ambiguous - had to accommodate conservative ,with a small c', elements. Some of Geiger's disciples, David Einhorn (rabbi) etc., moved to the US, where religious freedom was mandated by law and anyone could set up congregations. American Reform was free to be as radical as it wished, and turned into a huge success.
  1. Englishman Claude Montefiore, strongly influenced by Geiger, was the founder of British Liberal Judaism. German refugees fleeing Hitler viewed it as too radical and set up British Reform Judaism, which reminds the compromising attitude of German communities, in the 1930s - though the first synagogue calling itself "Reform" in the UK was established in 1840 (a long story involving neo-Karaites but having no relation with German Reform Judaism and its American derivative). Ahh, in 1926 people from around the world who basically shared the original convictions of German Reformers - progressive revelation and so forth - met in Berlin and founded the World Union for Progressive Judaism; they chose "Progressive" while Americans were "Reform" and Europeans mostly "Liberal". Both UK Reform - whose rabbis, like Jonathan Romain, affirm the tenets of "Geigerian" thought - and Liberal joined in.
  1. The WUPJ remained a Reform-only club until 1990, when Reconstructionist Judaism (something utterly different; among others, instead of a progressive revelation, Reco.'s believe there was NO revelation. They're an offshoot of Conservative Judaism) entered. Today, The American Union for Reform Judaism is by far the largest member of the WUPJ, with 1.5 Million congregants out of 1.8M worldwide (including 100,000 Reco.'s). Sorry for making this looong comment, but I hope it clarifies the relations between the terms "Progressive", "Liberal" and "Reform". There is one "Geigerian" world branch (which underwent much development, but just as Karl Barth is still a Calvinist, so is Eugene Borowitz still within Reform) and there is Recon'. Both may use the title "Progressive" today.
  1. After dealing with US and UK Reform Judaism and "Progressive Judaism", let's move to the Reform Movement in Judaism. As mentioned in the title of that article, it was coined by D. Phillipson and used again by Michael Meyer in their histories. As Meyer, the most important historian of Reform Judaism, writes in his Preface:Considerations of Historiography (in the book Response to Modernity: A History of the Reform Movement in Judaism), both wrote about Reform Judaism, but you can't write about it without alluding to the all-engulfing changes sweeping Jews in late 18th Century Europe. Therefore, he used the terminology of "Reform movement" from which "Reform Judaism" developed; he bequeaths the title "founder of RJ" upon Geiger. The book also alludes to two other movements who confronted the new realities and made SOME changes: Zecharias Frankel's Positive-Historical School (=antecedent of Conservative Judaism) and Samson Raphael Hirsch's Neo-Orthodoxy (more or less today's Modern Orthodox Judaism). However, as he stressed there on page ix, they're there mainly to provide contrast. If I had my way, "Reform Movement in Judaism" would have been renamed to something like "history of Judaism in 19th century" to avoid confusion, but whatever.
  1. And to the conclusion: Reform Judaism has over 13,000 views a month, as compared to some 1,700 by either Liberal Judaism and Progressive Judaism, each. "Progressive" could have the ideal name for the mother-article until the Reconstructionists joined the WUPJ. "Liberal", while here it refers to the British variant only, means also the historical Liberal Judaism in 19th Century Germany and other groups thus named in modern-day Germany, France, Netherlands etc. Reform Judaism (North America) alludes much to its German antecedent (which Meyer calls "Reform", and refers - as wikipedia does - to Geiger as founder of Reform).
  1. I therefore suggest that:
  • If you or anyone reached until here and didn't dose off, I congratulate you. Sorry for making it long, but couldn't help. AddMore (talk) 14:36, 7 December 2014 (UTC)
Sounds like a plausible plan, though I haven't thought about the basic details. Several years back, there was a push toward using the term Progressive, based more IMO on the intellectual or ideological views of editors rather than the WP policies, e.g. use of more prevalent or common name. It also may have shaped the scope of what reliable sources would ordinarily consider unified, e.g., is the Conservative movement best situated as a subtopic of Progressive etc. B'hatzlakhah, Probably the first step is to do a formal proposed move or merger of the articles involved, as I think you've indicated above, and then gradually edit them within an improved encyclopedic structure. HG | Talk 16:51, 29 January 2015 (UTC)