Monday, June 1, 2009

See below: Why it's dangerous to say Kaddish for any Movement

Whenever you talk about any of the movements--Reform, Orthodox, etc.--you tend to get a nice-sized helping of vitriol and hyperbole. Between predicting the demise of Conservative Judaism for what seems like eons (which is sort of like saying Soccer is the future sport of America--and always will be) to sounding the death knell for Orthodoxy in the 1950s to the recent hew-and-cry over the death of Reform, most recently from Norman Lamm, it's nice to read an article (posted below as well--I'm still figuring out all the doohickeys on this thing and hit the button too soon) from Rabbi (Doctor/Professor) Jonathan Sarna of Brandeis discuss Lamm's assertion and the movements in America in general in a calm, measured, historically-based fashion and without resorting to the kind of breathless, 'triumphalist' (to use his description of Lamm's piece) language that just sets discussion among klal Yisrael back 20 years each time. I won't lie, I'm a Reform Jewish partisan, but I also know that all the movements (including those movements that don't like to be called movements, and you know who you are) suffer if one (or more) of them is hurting. Americans crave choice and options and a full diversity of discourse--a polyphony, if you will--and this certainly applies to American Jews and their religiosity.

Reading this also made me wish I had the chance to study with Dr. Sarna; he had already left HUC by the time I got there. Hopefully I'll catch him at a conference at some point.

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