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Old 05-10-2019, 01:25 PM
 
Location: The Port City is rising.
8,789 posts, read 10,703,951 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shalhevet View Post
I know this is an older thread, but I did want to say I think it depends on the Reform community what they believe and accept (yes, I know there is a reform union, but I'm speaking of the community).

You are absolutely correct that generalizing about the trends overlooks what is happening in each individual community.
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Old 05-24-2019, 05:21 PM
 
556 posts, read 52,589 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brooklynborndad View Post
I have not heard R Jews say they are better Jews than C Jews - I have heard them say the C movement is incoherent, will break up, etc. That it will do whatever R is doing but years later.

Of course I sometimes heare that from O Jews (more on line than in person).

It's been my experience that many Reform congregations these days are moving closer towards Conservative observance. And there are Conservative congregations that have become more accepting of LGBT people. In both branches now, women can participate in ways that they couldn't ordinarily in Orthodox Judaism. I don't know if this is a trend that's happening everywhere -- I just know that I'm personally seeing more of it.

If what I'm seeing is happening in a lot of places, then I can see both Reform and Conservative as someday merging into a single branch of Judaism.
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Old 05-24-2019, 06:15 PM
 
3,315 posts, read 640,659 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rachel NewYork View Post
It's been my experience that many Reform congregations these days are moving closer towards Conservative observance. And there are Conservative congregations that have become more accepting of LGBT people. In both branches now, women can participate in ways that they couldn't ordinarily in Orthodox Judaism. I don't know if this is a trend that's happening everywhere -- I just know that I'm personally seeing more of it.

If what I'm seeing is happening in a lot of places, then I can see both Reform and Conservative as someday merging into a single branch of Judaism.
Yes, Reform congregations are definitely becoming more traditional. I remember in the past going to a few Reform services, and other than a sentence or two in Hebrew, it could have been a church. Organ music playing, lots of very secular readings, not a yarmulke to be seen, and skipping even the most fundamental prayers (like the Alenu). Then, last year, I went to another Reform service, and about 75% of the men were wearing yarmulkes, it was about half in Hebrew, and all the major traditional prayers were included. It could have just as well been a "reform-leaning" Conservative shul (other than some men leaving their heads uncovered).
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Old 05-25-2019, 07:10 PM
 
556 posts, read 52,589 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rachel976 View Post
Yes, Reform congregations are definitely becoming more traditional. I remember in the past going to a few Reform services, and other than a sentence or two in Hebrew, it could have been a church. Organ music playing, lots of very secular readings, not a yarmulke to be seen, and skipping even the most fundamental prayers (like the Alenu). Then, last year, I went to another Reform service, and about 75% of the men were wearing yarmulkes, it was about half in Hebrew, and all the major traditional prayers were included. It could have just as well been a "reform-leaning" Conservative shul (other than some men leaving their heads uncovered).
I'm currently attending a Reform congregation, and you won't hear any organ music in our temple. I think a lot of Jews, like you and I, are uncomfortable with the churchy sound of organ music. Many Reform congregations seem to be opting for folk-guitar style music -- which, of course, isn't at all Orthodox either, but nevertheless goes very well with songs sung in Hebrew. Kind of like the Jewish folk music they would play in Israel's kibbutzim.

Also in my congregation all the men wear kippot within the Sanctuary. Even some of the women cover their heads, as well. Our Community Seder at Passover each year is strictly kosher. We have a kosher caterer, although congregation members and their guests can bring bottles of wine to share around their tables. But any wine brought in has to be certified kosher. We have a Judaica gift shop in our temple (profits go towards supporting the temple), but no one is permitted to buy or sell on Shabbat. Converts to Reform Judaism aren't required to immerse in the mikvah after appearing before the bet din, but our rabbi does require this of both male and female converts.

Those are just a few examples of how my own congregation is leaning towards traditionalism. Of course it's still a far cry from Orthodox Judaism, but it's gradually changing.

Last edited by Rachel NewYork; 05-25-2019 at 07:24 PM..
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Old 05-26-2019, 11:26 AM
 
81 posts, read 14,258 times
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I like things being more traditional. Why be Jewish (especially a convert) if you aren't going to follow the faith in a Jewish manner? We are SO much more than xianity minus the jesus stuff.
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Old 05-29-2019, 03:53 AM
 
16 posts, read 1,371 times
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Hi.

I'm new here. This is my first post. I'm glad I found this thread because so many here are expressing what I'm feeling.

My family and I started down the Jewish path over 10 years ago. Tonight we will complete the conversion class at the local reform synagogue. On Friday we will meet with the rabbi to finalize our conversion plans. I expect the conversion will happen in June as the rabbi will be gone for all of July and August, and after that we have the high holy days.

This is very hard for me. I do not want to convert reform. My heart is in modern orthodoxy. But my family refused to convert orthodox. So for a while we did nothing. We still observed Shabbat, kept kosher and lived a Jewish life, but it was very difficult not being connected anywhere.

And then my oldest daughter got engaged - to a non-Jew. I didn't want her to lose her faith. I have visions of my Pesach table with all of my children and grandchildren gathered around it - and suddenly I was afraid I would lose that dream. My daughter likes the reform synagogue, and so I went to her and asked her if she would be willing to convert there. She said she would.

I then asked my husband and my younger daughter, and they said the same. I also have a son. He's my oldest. He's mentally and physically disabled, and as long as he can celebrate the holidays and go to services he's happy, so I knew he would be on board.

So I agreed to convert reform with my family, and we talked with the rabbi in August of 2018. The rabbi said he felt it was best I convert reform for now (I told him I prefered an orthodox conversion). So we started taking the conversion class this past September. And now, here we are.

I've been on this path for so long, that it's honestly kind of a shock that the time to actually convert (even if not the way I want to) is really here. Suddenly it's so real. My entire identity is about to change.

One nice thing about being in the reform synagogue is that my youngest daughter has blossomed in her faith and found her Judaism. She wasn't interested in conversion at all prior to going there, and wasn't even sure how she felt about God. She's done so much there. She helped with a food drive back in November, was in the Purim play (she played Esther!), has led prayers during service with the other teens, worked all school year as a teacher's helper in the religious school, is studying Hebrew on her own so she can help with the Hebrew school next fall, and she's even expressed an interest in going to Israel. It's been such an amazing, positive change in her.

It's also been very good for my son. He volunteers there in the lunch room on school days, and they always give him food to take home. He has a very limited food budget, so the food they give him has been a huge blessing.

Also, the last time my son was there working in the lunch room, he took his caregiver (who stays with him while he works) into the sanctuary and gave him a "tour." This really amazed me. My son, in his own way, was trying to express to the caregiver his love for the synagogue.

And my middle child - my daughter who is getting married - is going to have her wedding there. Her fiance isn't interested in converting right now, but he's supportive of her and he comes to the Pesach seder there. Last time he came to our house he asked for a recipe for Matzah ball soup. He said he likes it and Pesach is the only time he gets it. Hey, we all have to start somewhere! ;-)

So, lots of positives. And I appreciate everything they've done for my family. I really, really do with my whole heart.

So why is this so hard for me?

I found an article on the Chabad website that basically said it doesn't matter how high you are on the ladder, what matters is the direction you're moving. That made me feel a little better. I can convert reform now, continue to learn, and when I'm able I will have my orthodox conversion.

But I worry I'll never get there. I guess that's really what bothers me. It's been so long.

I did attend an orthodox synagogue off and on for a couple of years. The rabbi knew me and knew I wanted to convert. He invited me to attend shul, have lunch at his home, and he was always very kind to me. But then, a couple summers ago, he and his family move to Israel. And now I have to start over from scratch. So, maybe my reform conversion will give me a bit of a boost and shorten the orthodox one.

Anyway, I welcome your thoughts and comments.
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Old 05-29-2019, 06:33 AM
 
556 posts, read 52,589 times
Reputation: 350
G-d willing, you will become more traditional in Judaism when you are ready. May you be surrounded by those who are nurturing to you in your faith, as well as encouraging and non-judgmental.

What Hebrew names did you and your family members choose for yourselves, if you don't mind saying? If you prefer to keep it private, no worries. I'm kind of a name nerd, and always enjoy hearing what names new Jews-by-choice take for themselves.

Welcome to the forum!
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Old 05-29-2019, 09:48 AM
 
Location: US
27,952 posts, read 15,035,923 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TorahIsTimeless View Post
Hi.

I'm new here. This is my first post. I'm glad I found this thread because so many here are expressing what I'm feeling.

My family and I started down the Jewish path over 10 years ago. Tonight we will complete the conversion class at the local reform synagogue. On Friday we will meet with the rabbi to finalize our conversion plans. I expect the conversion will happen in June as the rabbi will be gone for all of July and August, and after that we have the high holy days.

This is very hard for me. I do not want to convert reform. My heart is in modern orthodoxy. But my family refused to convert orthodox. So for a while we did nothing. We still observed Shabbat, kept kosher and lived a Jewish life, but it was very difficult not being connected anywhere.

And then my oldest daughter got engaged - to a non-Jew. I didn't want her to lose her faith. I have visions of my Pesach table with all of my children and grandchildren gathered around it - and suddenly I was afraid I would lose that dream. My daughter likes the reform synagogue, and so I went to her and asked her if she would be willing to convert there. She said she would.

I then asked my husband and my younger daughter, and they said the same. I also have a son. He's my oldest. He's mentally and physically disabled, and as long as he can celebrate the holidays and go to services he's happy, so I knew he would be on board.

So I agreed to convert reform with my family, and we talked with the rabbi in August of 2018. The rabbi said he felt it was best I convert reform for now (I told him I prefered an orthodox conversion). So we started taking the conversion class this past September. And now, here we are.

I've been on this path for so long, that it's honestly kind of a shock that the time to actually convert (even if not the way I want to) is really here. Suddenly it's so real. My entire identity is about to change.

One nice thing about being in the reform synagogue is that my youngest daughter has blossomed in her faith and found her Judaism. She wasn't interested in conversion at all prior to going there, and wasn't even sure how she felt about God. She's done so much there. She helped with a food drive back in November, was in the Purim play (she played Esther!), has led prayers during service with the other teens, worked all school year as a teacher's helper in the religious school, is studying Hebrew on her own so she can help with the Hebrew school next fall, and she's even expressed an interest in going to Israel. It's been such an amazing, positive change in her.

It's also been very good for my son. He volunteers there in the lunch room on school days, and they always give him food to take home. He has a very limited food budget, so the food they give him has been a huge blessing.

Also, the last time my son was there working in the lunch room, he took his caregiver (who stays with him while he works) into the sanctuary and gave him a "tour." This really amazed me. My son, in his own way, was trying to express to the caregiver his love for the synagogue.

And my middle child - my daughter who is getting married - is going to have her wedding there. Her fiance isn't interested in converting right now, but he's supportive of her and he comes to the Pesach seder there. Last time he came to our house he asked for a recipe for Matzah ball soup. He said he likes it and Pesach is the only time he gets it. Hey, we all have to start somewhere! ;-)

So, lots of positives. And I appreciate everything they've done for my family. I really, really do with my whole heart.

So why is this so hard for me?

I found an article on the Chabad website that basically said it doesn't matter how high you are on the ladder, what matters is the direction you're moving. That made me feel a little better. I can convert reform now, continue to learn, and when I'm able I will have my orthodox conversion.

But I worry I'll never get there. I guess that's really what bothers me. It's been so long.

I did attend an orthodox synagogue off and on for a couple of years. The rabbi knew me and knew I wanted to convert. He invited me to attend shul, have lunch at his home, and he was always very kind to me. But then, a couple summers ago, he and his family move to Israel. And now I have to start over from scratch. So, maybe my reform conversion will give me a bit of a boost and shorten the orthodox one.

Anyway, I welcome your thoughts and comments.
If you are willing, could you write either G-d or Gd?...And welcome!...
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Old 05-29-2019, 01:00 PM
 
16 posts, read 1,371 times
Reputation: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rachel NewYork View Post
G-d willing, you will become more traditional in Judaism when you are ready. May you be surrounded by those who are nurturing to you in your faith, as well as encouraging and non-judgmental.

What Hebrew names did you and your family members choose for yourselves, if you don't mind saying? If you prefer to keep it private, no worries. I'm kind of a name nerd, and always enjoy hearing what names new Jews-by-choice take for themselves.

Welcome to the forum!

Thank you Rachel NewYork. I very much want to live a traditional Jewish life.

I was at the orthodox shul a couple months ago and it was very hard. I loved being there so much. It's a sephardic synagogue.

When I walk into the orthodox synagogue, I sense holiness. But the reform synagogue feels more like a secular community center. It's just not for me.

I'm really depressed over this conversion. But, as I said, I will continue working toward an orthodox conversion. I'm trying to think positive!

Names. Well, I'll start with my youngest. She chose Yakira Shoshana - precious rose. It suits her perfectly.

My older daughter wants to use the Yiddish name Zelda. I asked the rabbi about it and he looked at me like I have 3 heads! I told my daughter she needs to come up with a Jewish name, not a Yiddish one. She's not happy about that.

Zelda is a video game character she likes. She's 23, is in college and works for a bank. I feel she should be a little more grown up about it. I think she will change it, she's just not happy about it. But I told her someday, when she's in her mid and later life, she may not like Zelda anymore. She disagreed, but what ever.

For my son, I'm thinking about Tovi Chaim (good life). It's my wish for him. I also wanted something he can pronounce.

My husband is thinking about Yonaton or Yochanon. He is trying to take the easy route and find something that means the same thing as his own name.

And then there's me. I wanted a name that expressed who I am and what I stand for. I've been thinking about names for about 7 years, and didn't find one that really clicked with me until just a few days ago.

My name will be Tziona Chayil. Zion (Jerusalem) Warrior. Or Zion Soldier. Or Zion is Able. It says it all. It's who I am to the very core. I'm a fighter. I don't quit. And I have zionist views, and I believe Jerusalem and Israel is worth fighting for.

It's also a nice way to quietly resist being a reform Jew. ;-)

I've thought about not converting reform. But I was the one who first found the Jewish path. I was the one who recruited my family into it. It's taken a long time for them to come this far. How can I abandon them? What does it say to them - especially my daughters, if I don't convert?

They would probably convert without me at this point, maybe, but then I wonder, too, how that will look to the congregation that has been so kind to us.

And if they didn't convert because I didn't, where does that leave us? I go orthodox alone down the line and my daughters lose their faith? I don't think I could bear that. I want us to share Judaism together - even if my Judaism isn't the same as theirs.
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Old 05-29-2019, 01:01 PM
 
16 posts, read 1,371 times
Reputation: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard1965 View Post
If you are willing, could you write either G-d or Gd?...And welcome!...
I am willing! I wasn't sure how that would be received here. Thank you for letting me know.
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