The Reform Movement: From Classical Reform to the Present Essay

The Reform Movement: From Classical Reform to the Present Essay

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Reform Judaism started as a response to the Enlightenment that occurred in the late 17th and the early 18th century. The Jewish people needed to determine how to best combine new ideologies with their religious practices. The Jewish people suddenly had a new, non-Jewish world that they could be apart of. Some started to lose interest in religion. The Reform Judaism movement was created to adapt to these changes in society. The movement’s fundamental belief was that religious change is good (Kaplan 183). Platforms were created to define the boundaries for Reform Judaism and show how the Reform Movement is different than the traditional form of Judaism (Meyer & Plaut 195). The Reform movement has undergone many significant changes of their ideologies including Israel and the Halacha. These changes display their core idea of adapting Judaism to the social environments but simultaneously always keeping the Jewish community bound together. These changes are made from 1885 to 1999 with the Pittsburgh Platform, Columbus Principles, and Statement of Principles.

The position on Zionism and Israel shows one of the major changes that the Reform Judaism has undergone. In the Pittsburgh Platform written in 1885, it displays the first look into what the goals were for the Reform movement. The Pittsburgh Platform states that the movement does not support the idea of a Jewish homeland. The Reform movement has given up on the idea of going back to Israel, and having a Jewish homeland. “ We consider ourselves no longer a nation, but a religious community, and therefore expect neither a return to Palestine…” (Roiter, Urowitz, Zeliger 131). This passage conveys the idea that a Jewish state is no longer needed because they consider themselves no l...


... middle of paper ...


...Conference of American Rabbis. "A Statement of Principles for Reform
Judaism." Proc. of 1999 Pittsburgh Convention Central Conference of American Rabbis. A Statement of Principles for Reform Judaism - CCAR. Web. 14 Jan. 2014.

"The Pittsburgh Platform." Mikr'a Le' Histori'ya Modern Modern Jewish History. Trans.
Leila Roiter. Comp. Rachel Urowitz and Shira Zeliger. N.p.: n.p., n.d. 130-32. Print.


Meyer, Michael A., and W. Gunther Plaut. The Reform Judaism Reader: North American
Documents. New York, NY: UAHC, 2001. Print.

Kaplan, Dana Evan. "Reform Judaism." Encyclopaedia Judaica. Ed. Michael Berenbaum
and Fred Skolnik. 2nd ed. Vol. 17. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2007. 165-83. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 14 Jan. 2014. .

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