Contemporary Debates in American Reform Judaism : Conflicting Visions book cover
1st Edition

Contemporary Debates in American Reform Judaism
Conflicting Visions

Edited By

Dana Evan Kaplan




ISBN 9780415926294
Published January 5, 2001 by Routledge
286 Pages

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Book Description

This is a ground breaking collection of essays that takes a hard look at the Reform Movement today. Opening essays look at the problem of building a religous community, the competition in the "spiritual marketplace," and why people join or do not join a Reform synagogue. Other contributors look at a host of controversial issues including Patrilineal Descent, Outreach, Intermarriage, gender issues, gay and lesbian participation, and others.

Table of Contents

Foreword, Martin E. Marty; Introduction: Conflicting Visions of the Reform Movement in the United States Today, Dana Evan Kaplan; Section 1 Where We Are Today; 1. A Religious and Social Profile of Reform Judaism in the United States, Bernard M. Lazerwitz and Ephraim Tabory; 2. Reform Judaism and Modern American Community, Lewis A. Friedland; 3. Reform Judaism in the Spiritual Marketplace, Richard Cimino; 4. Why People in the Sunbelt Join a Synagogue: Jewish Religious Preference in palm Beach County, Joel Levine; Section 2 Legitimacy and Authenticity: The Sins of Yesterday and the Controversies of Today; 5. When Reform Judaism Was Judaism, Jacob Neusner; 6. Reform's Original Sin, Arnold Jacob Wolf; 7. From the Christmas Tree to the Yarmulke: What Separates Classical Reform from mainstream Reform? Harold S. Silver; 8. Full Churches, Empty Synagogues: a Defense of Classical Reform, Jay R. Brickman; 9. Orthodoxy Confronts Reform: The Two Hundred Years' War, Aryeh Spero; Section 3 Personal Status; 10. Not by Birth Alone: The Case for a Missionary Judaism, Alexander M. Schindler; 11. Patrilineal Descent Revisited, Steven Bayme; 12. The Importance of Outreach in Maintaining Reform's Autonomy, Diversity, and Pluralism, Eric H. Yoffie; 13. Why I Officiate at Mixed-Marriage Wedding Ceremonies, Hillel Cohn; Section 4 Gender; 14. A Worthier Place: Women, Reform Judaism, and the Presidents of Hebrew Union College, Karla Goldman; 15. Embracing Lesbians and Gay Men: A Refom Jewish Innovation, Denise L. Eger; 16. Where Kosher Means Organic and Union Label: Bisexual Women Reembrace Their Jewish Heritage, Hinda Seif; Section 5 Visions for the Future; 17. Leadership for Profound Change: A Means for Transforming the American Reform Synagogue, Samuel K. Joseph; 18. The Legitimacy of Reform Judaism: The Impact of Israel on the United States, Ephraim Tabory; 19. Reform Judaism of the New Millennium: A Challenge, Alfred Gottschalk; 20. Transforming the Reform Jew, Sheldon Zimmerman; Afterword, W. Gunther Plaut; About the Contributors; Index

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Editor(s)

Biography

Dana Evan Kaplan is the Oppenstein Brothers assistant Professor of Judaic and Religous Studies in the Department of History and the director of the Danciger Program in Jewish Studies at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Reviews

"...a groundbreaking collection of essays." -- Indiana Jewish Post and Opinion
"Contemporary Debates in American Reform Judaism invites readers to eavesdrop on some of the stormiest and most contentious debates taking place within the Reform Movement in Judaism. Anyone interested in American Judaism and anyone interested in liberal religious movements will want to pay attention to these debates. They illuminate the central religious issues of our time." -- Jonathan D. Sarna, Brandeis University
"The largest branch of Judaism in North America, Reform Judaism, is clearly at a theological and sociological crossroads. Questions about intermarriage, autonomy, Israel, tradition, prayer, homosexuality, and outreach to non-Jews have stirred the religious world. Contemporary Debates addresses these critical issues head-on with brilliant clarity and with a thoughtfulness that is nothing less than stunning. Every essay will stimulate your mind and will provoke plenty of healthy debate. A must read for anyone who cares about the future of liberal religious life!" -- Rabbi Charles A. Kroloff, President, Central Conference of American Rabbis and author, When Elijah Knocks: A Religious Response to Homelessness
"Dana Evan Kaplan has done his work as an editor with great perception and unflinching honesty. This book is the best portrait of contemporary Reform Judaism. Through his eyes we see its religious seriousness and its continuing struggles with its own soul." -- Arthur Hertzberg, New York University
"Contemporary Debates in American Reform Judaism is an admirable compendium of studies, reflections and critiques by thoughtful researchers, rabbis and other scholars as well as by some leaders of the Reform Movement who helped create the phenomena they discuss. It is as up to date as the 1999 Pittsburgh Principles, which are subjected to a diverse range of comment. The book accurately mirrors the clash of passionately held views-from inside as well as outside the Movement-that contribute to the dynamic nature of Reform Judaism in the new century." -- Richard Levy, Hebrew Union College, Los Angeles
"The largest branch of Judaism in North America, Reform Judaism, is clearly at a theological and sociological crossroads. Questions about intermarriage, autonomy, Israel, tradition, prayer, homosexuality, and outreach to non-Jews have stirred the religious world. Contemporary Debates addresses these critical issues head-on with brilliant clarity and with a thoughtfulness that is nothing less than stunning. Every essay will stimulate your mind and will provoke plenty of healthy debate. A must read for anyone who cares about the future of liberal religious life!" -- Rabbi Charles A. Kroloff, President, Central Conference of American Rabbis and author, When Elijah Knocks: A Religious Response to Homelessness