Navonim - The Ramblings of Garnel Ironheart

Navonim - The Ramblings of Garnel Ironheart

Sunday, 30 August 2009

There Was a Matan Torah, Remember?

Years ago, Harold Kushner, author of Why Bad Things Happen to Good People, told his fellow Conservative clergy that their religion is not halachic. Although he seemed to be stating the obvious, there are still those in the Jewish Theological Seminary's sphere of influence that haven't gotten the message:

Critics are slamming Israel's religious affairs minister for comments asserting the primacy of Orthodoxy.
Letters of protest were sent to Yakov Margi this week by the Rabbinical Assembly of the Conservative movement and the newly installed chief of the Jewish Agency for Israel, Natan Sharansky.
“I wish to remind you that the Ministry of Religious Services is not governed by halachic law but rather charged with providing religious services to all Israeli citizens of all faiths, ethnicities and denominations in need,” Sharanksy wrote. “The Ministry of Religious Services is required to ensure freedom of worship and prevent infringement of the rights of citizens in this area.”
The Conservative rabbis protested against Margi's assertion that they were not “halachic.”
“Throughout our history, Jews have had many disagreements as to the nature of Jewish Law,” said the letter signed by three leading assembly officials. “While our interpretations may differ, contrary to your comments, we assert the primacy of halachah.”

Okay, so on one hand they want to change halacha based on voting. Their leadership denies canonical Jewish principles such as matan Torah and the Divine Authorship of our Law. Certainly they are free to believe whatever they want. But it is plain chutzpah to deny the underlying foundation of halacha and then insist "But we're halachic!"

Perhaps this is the reason that even most non-religious Israelis don't take them seriously.


Shalmo said...

On the religious court in Israel it is very rare, if not seemingly non-existant, for somebody to convert to Judaism because they feel its the truth.

All the converts do so because they want a better livelihood, because being recongized as a Jew in Israel makes life easier since they have different rules for Jews than other ethnicities.

PS: conservatives don't deny "divinity" in your law, they are just honest about problematic issues and prefer not to shut out modernity in their interpretation of halacha

Bartley Kulp said...

Shalmo said...

"On the religious court in Israel it is very rare, if not seemingly non-existent, for somebody to convert to Judaism because they feel its the truth."

There are plenty single converts from North America and Europe who have converted in Israel. Most of these people do not have a socioeconomic angle inwhich they will benefit that they do not have in their own countries of origin.

Bartley Kulp said...

I have a hard time swallow hearing any Shas politician laying down the law on how money should be spent.

I have said it once and I will say it again, the rabbinate needs dismantling.