From The Jewish Week to Ha’aretz, from many pulpits and all over the blogosphere, people have been talking about Daniel Gordis’ “requiem” for Conservative Judaism. We continue this lively, instructive conversation with seven responses from some of the movement’s most thoughtful teachers and rabbis, along with a response from Jonathan D. Sarna, one of the leading historians of American Jewry.
- Noah Bickart of The Jewish Theological Seminary teaches Jews who are passionate about “an egalitarian, halakhic, yet non-fundamentalist Judaism,“ even though they may not call themselves Conservative Jews.
- Elliot N. Dorff argues that numbers don’t dictate the strength of a movement; the power of its ideas does.
- Susan Grossman acknowledges the movement’s failings, but sees more reason for hope than despair.
- For Judith Hauptman, the Conservative push for women’s rights holds the key to its future—and the future of Judaism as a whole.
- Moving to Israel has clouded Gordis’ ability to understand the American Jewish scene, argues Jeremy Kalmanofsky.
- Whether it’s 18 percent or eight families, Gordon Tucker maintains “patience and tenaciousness change the world,” a fact that is lost when we focus on numbers.
- David B. Starr says that Gordis asked the right question, but the answer may be harder than he thinks.
- Plus Jonathan D. Sarna looks back at a time when both Reform and Orthodox Judaism in America seemed imperiled.
Daniel Gordis replies to his critics and outlines his positive vision for the future. His proposal may surprise you.
In their new book, Jehuda Reinharz and Yaacov Shavit focus on the efforts of the leaders of a diverse and disunited Jewish people in Europe, the United States, and Palestine to cope with this crisis in the years leading up to World War II.
Kaplan writes that “one key statement . . . I would have liked to see Stern contend” with is “‘For only truth pleases God and only falsehood angers Him,’ [Guide 2:47] which implies that only truth, not the search for truth, is of value.”
From the Brandeis Book Stall to the sands of Iwo Jima (and halakhic flexibility).
Academic scholars, of all people, should recognize that excoriation is not an acceptable substitute for argument, but, in fact, it pervades much of the discourse that today passes as “criticism of Israel.”