Reform Jews?

How do you feel when Orthodox Jews say that you don't follow the Torah or the laws.

Some say that you aren't Jewish at all!

Thanks for your responses


Actually this question is for Conservative, Reform, Recon. etc...

Not for Messianics though

Update 2:

Yea, I did see the previous question =)

17 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer


    Am guessing you saw the previous posts on this?

    I grew up attending a Reform synagogue. Although now I usually go to a more religious synagogue, there were and still are many aspects of Reform Judaism that are both enjoyable and valuable. Men and women get to sit together, for instance - this means families can experience the service together. I think this is a good thing.

    And contrary to what some people - JULIA D - say, there is a HUGE variety within Reform congregations. Some Reform Jews go to synagogue every week, twice a week, some go once a year. Some keep kosher - some don't. Some are actively learning about Judaism and becoming more observant - some are not.

    When *some* Orthodox Jews - again, JULIA D - start preaching and condemning other Jews, I get extremely upset. They should know better. We are all Jews and we all adhere to the sacred, core Jewish beliefs.

    JULIA D - no, we didn't get 'fired up', rather we were STUNNED at your absolute rudeness and HYPOCRISY.

    Less than four weeks ago, YOU, Julia D, defined yourself as an 'atheist' on this site and stated you had given up on religion. So how dare you now presume to judge the rest of us! Unlike you, I have NEVER 'given up' on Judaism.

    JULIA D - what, now you are lying as well as insulting the rest of us? Good grief - is there no END to your hypocrisy?

    Listen, I have every respect for atheists, and as far as I'm concerned, a Jewish atheist is Jewish, full stop. But given that I know YOU condemn them, how is it YOU defined yourself as one a mere three weeks ago? I READ at least two posts by you saying this. You can't actually be denying them?


    How is it lashon hara when it's TRUE????????

    How can I find your posts, when you have closed them???

    And the ONLY person guilty of lashon hara here is YOU.


    I DID EMAIL YOU!!! As soon as I read the post where you stated that you were fed up and were giving up on religion - I EMAILED YOU STRAIGHT AWAY!

    I suppose now you'll say you never got it?


    And by the way Julia, to even TRY and make out as though anyone is comparing anyone here to Messianics is a LOW tactic. And you know it. YOU started this whole debate by condemning ALL non Orthodox Jews. Nobody else initiated this - only you.

    ***************************JULIA D*****************

    - if as you claim I'm lying then HOW is it someone else has JUST mentioned seeing you declare yourself an ATHEIST?

    And you had the gall to condemn US just because we're not orthodox???

    You utter, utter hypocrite.

  • 1 decade ago

    I have to step in in this.

    There are no Orthodox Jews who say that Reform Jews aren't Jewish. What they say (and not all of us do), is that what they practice is not Judaism. That is not the same thing. And honestly, most Reform Jews (again, not all) would say that they "don't practice." So it's not a contradiction.

    The only exceptions are "patrilineal descent" Reform Jews - whom not only the Orthodox but also the Conservative Movement (not to mention all Sephardic Jews) do not consider Jewish - the concept is a direct violation of halacha. And yes, Reform and Conservative converts are not accepted by Orthodox Jews (and Reform converts are not accepted by Conservative either), BUT should they ever wish to convert to Judaism under Orthodoxy, they would be immediately embraced - and depending on how rigorous their conversion classes were, would probably sail through the process in very little time.

    The fact is, Orthodox standards are strict in all aspects of halacha, while the other denominations - while they can absolutely be as religious spiritually as the Orthodox (and in some cases more so) - are by definition less observant. Reform and Conservative converts chose a path of lower observance, and it works for them. Should they ever decide to accept the stricter standards of observing Shabbat, or kashrut, or Taharat HaMishpacha, they would naturally also accept the stricter standards of conversion, and go through the process again. It happens sometimes. Because once you see strict observance of the Torah laws as binding, then you believe that they are all binding - including conversion.

    The thing is, so long as they or their family don't want to marry someone of a stricter denomination, who would care about dotting all the i's and crossing every t, it honestly doesn't matter what those others think of them. And again, if they or their children did want to marry someone who didn't consider them Jewish halachically, changing that status would be a relatively easy fix. Once someone has already converted, whether Conservative, Reform or Reconstructionist, they will already have demonstrated sincerity about the religion and will know a good percentage of what an Orthodox convert needs to know. No Orthodox rabbi would turn them away if they ever decided they wanted to secure their status.

    Source(s): I'm an Orthodox Jew
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Basically I ignore them when they say that, however that has not been said to me for many years. When I was a kid in Chicago some of the Orthodox and Conservative kids would say that Im not a good jew and we usually settled it in the back alley.

    Honestly, I feel we need both. If not for the Orthodox Jews, the Reform movement would of become so "Liberalized" that it would probably not even resemble Judaism today, but would of morphed into something New Age or just died out. If not for the Reform Movement, most Jews would of found the religion irrelevant and the Jewish religion would be just slightly larger than the Zoroasters.

    We are kind of like siblings that dont quite get along. No one can beat up on my brother...but me.

  • Bill
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    After first reading all the answers, I came to the conclution that Jewish people who say other Jewish people are not Jewish are full of bull. It. All the branches of Judaism are small compared to the rest of the world's faiths. Put us all together and we can barily make football team. But put two of us into a room together and we fight.

    I am a mismash of Judaism. My grandparents were Orthodox, my parents were Reform, and I think of myself as Conservative. The biggest problem with Judaism to me is the change in Hebrew in recent years. I speak the Hebrew of Russia, Poland, etc. and the Shules use the Hebrew of Israel. I personally do not like the change. I also believe that we as a people have made a mistake when Israel was formed. It should have been called Judea. Most Christians believe we are all Zionists and pro anything that Israel does. This is not true because we are all different. I was offered a commission in the Israeli Air Force a long time ago. But in order to wear that uniform I would have to give up being an American. That is something I cannot do. I consider myself an American first and Jewish second. I am not a Jewish-American, I am an American who happens to be Jewish. I am proud to be both.

    Personally, I could care less what the Goy think of my religious faith. I, also, could care less what the Members of the Tribe think. Each one of us has to choose the correct path to take for themselves. I admire the people who are brave enough to convert to Judaism, no matter what branch. It is difficult to be considered an outsider among your relatives and in some cases some of your fellow worshippers. No one can say I am not Jewish, anymore then they can say a Catholic is not a Christian.

    If we can't agree on whats for dinner, how can we agree on anything. It is time we woke up and smelled the roses and realized that we need each other more today then anytime in Jewish history. Remember the lesson born from Nazi Germany, "NEVER FORGET".


    PS Sorry for the rambling on, but this is something I believe strongly in. I am not ranting, I am calling it as I see it.


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  • 4 years ago

    An orthodox rabbi may invite a reform rabbi over but might be hesitant to accept such an invitation himself if he had any concerns the meal was not entirely kosher. Jews and non-jews alike are invited to Bar Mitzvahs. Orthodox jews do tend to keep themselves a bit insulated from the non-orthodox and gentile populations though. Orthodox jews do acknowledge reform jews but only consider the ones who are jewish by their mother as jews.

  • 1 decade ago

    Doesn't bother me. I was born Jewish and am proud to call myself a Jew. I will stand up and proclaim myself as Jewish, despite being harassed when I was a kid (and in fact, it's not exactly popular in other places I've been as an adult - edit: Harassed, but NOT by Jews!).

    I identify myself as Reconstructionist and very few, with the exception (surprisingly!) of one or two here at Y!A has ever questioned my credentials. In fact, I belonged to an Orthodox shul in a NY suburb and the Rabbi (wonderful man!) had no problem with the fact that I was originally Conservative and would have no problem that I am now Reconstructionist!

  • 1 decade ago

    I have to accept that that's how they feel, and how they understand halacha. It makes me pretty sad, however. And as I am a UK Reform convert, it seems that the Orthodox line is that I'm not Jewish. Someone (an Orthodox Jew) on here actually called my conversion process "laughable". To have my years of agonising before making the decision, the years studying and studying, going before the Beit Din, mikveh - to have all that dismissed as laughable, when it was one of the most important things in my life EVER, is something very difficult for me to come to terms with.

    However, most Orthodox Jews I have actually known have accepted that while my path may be different from theirs, it is equally valid. And I'll stick with that.

    EDIT: Julia - my understanding is that Beit Din and mikveh make the conversion valid, but that Orthodox Judaism does not accept the validity of the Reform rabbinate. Exactly what you mean when you say we (in this case, UK Reform, which is different from US Reform) do not follow Torah, I am not clear. I could not fit in within the Orthodox framework, given my views and sexuality. I appreciate your comments and welcome the spirit in which you make them - but I think it would be fairer to say that our understanding of Torah is different from yours, not that we do not follow it. What I have found is so DEEPLY meaningful to me that I simply cannot accept that the Orthodox approach is somehow 'more' or 'better' or 'more valid'. I value the Orthodox approach and have learned a lot from it, but it is not my path.

    EDIT 2: Thank you to Michelle for an Orthodox view of Reform that doesn't feel demeaning, but, on the contrary, accepts and respects difference. I'd just like to point out that UK Reform does not accept patrilineal Jews (of which I'm one - I had to convert). I would also like to point out that, as mama pajama says, there are Reform Jews who are distinctly more observant that some Orthodox Jews.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    This is ridiculous! At a time in our history, when anti-Semitism is growing, that we as Jews should point fingers at each other and say nyah! nyah! nyah! You're not really Jewish! is absurd. I go to a Reform Temple; I am as Jewish as anyone else. As to Orthodoxy, I totally respect Orthodox Jews for their devotion to Torah. That, however, does not mean that they are the only real Jews. I believe in God; I believe God is One.....the rest is details. Please, fellow Jews, please let's not do this to each other.

    Edit: Who's the coward giving the thumbs down?

    Edit: My grandmother always used to say that we Jews should never make our disagreements public because it's fodder for anti-Semites. I have no respect for Jews who unilaterally decide that other Jews are not really Jews. I have no respect for the superior attitude that many Orthodox Jews have. Julia should be ashamed of yourself!

  • 1 decade ago

    I like Barrel Bottom's answer:"We are kind of like siblings that dont quite get along. No one can beat up on my brother...but me."

    I am Reform. I grew up in an area that has few Jews. Some of our congregation lives more observant than some Orthodox relatives I have living in another state. We have a wide spectrum of level of observance in our ranks.

    However Reform may have begun in the United States, it has come to embrace a return to much more traditional forms of worship and observance in the past 40 years.

    My Orthodox relatives embrace me as Jewish, but online I have met a very few Orthodox Jews who appear to hold as much misconception about Reform Judaism as we note is held about Jewish belief, history and Tanakh overall.

    I won't mention names, but more than one Y/A Orthodox Jewish user here has sent me a note telling me that after reading the responses from Reform Jews here, their perception of Reform changed to improve somewhat.

    I've connected with and respected Jews here of every Branch and note that we are more often than not, in agreement on what the Torah says and means. It is a Jewish way of debate and argument, but let someone come from outside to pick on one of us and we are all together.

    I think that sometimes questions such as this have more a purpose of a desire to see us bicker among ourselves than genuinely seeking knowledge.

    I still sincerely believe, from all that I've studied and from my own family, whose observance ranges from Orthodox to nothing at all, that the branches in Judaism are more about level of observance of ritual and custom than over the purpose and meaning of Torah.

    I do not believe that every aspect of Orthodox Judaism has remained unchanged..I see that the Talmud was an ongoing debate and dialog of how to apply the precepts and ethics of Torah to each new land and time. I respect Jews who try to live an observant life. I may be a bad Jew to them because I am not particularly ritually observant, but I still fit the definition of a Jew.

    And I stand side by side with all Jews even though I might debate you until we both turn blue.


  • ringo
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    Rarely am I ridiculed for my level of devotion... or lack there of. In Judaism we do not have specific religious leaders. Rabbi's are merely teachers not holy anointed sexless drones. We tend to speak directly to our spiritual light . And for the most part do not define our level of devotion by the number of times we attend shul or how often we chose to talk to G-d. We judge through works not faith. And thank you very much for not inviting messianic Christians to reply. That is a level of devotion you can take much pride in.

    What a strange and emotional conversation we have going on in the community. For what it is worth, I have been observing Julia D. for quite sometime and can only describe her as an observant and kind member of the Jewish community. And although for my taste a bit restrained. (I being more JDL then JPA) I find it odd that no one has mentioned that most all conversions these days at Mikva are officiated by three Rabbi's from each Reform, Conservative and Orthodox groups. This was initiated in hopes of resolving the dilemma of who's who.

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