The Scene: A spinning class at a smartly appointed gym at a kibbutz in the Judean Hills, a few days before Yom Kippur. The instructor has yet to arrive. "We have a minyan, we can begin anyway," says one member of the class.They are taking a spinning class...they aren't even doing something Jewish and this comes up.
"Wait," says another, astride his exercise bike. "Women aren't counted in a minyan."
"Reform Jews do count women in the minyan," says a woman in the class.
The man on the bike is unmoved. His answer is matter of fact: "The Reformim aren't Jews."
Fundamentally, the ridicule of Reform ignores the fact that all over Israel, Jews raised in Orthodox homes have become active members of Reform and Conservative congregations because they believe both in religious Judaism and in equality for women within Jewish observance.BINGO!!!!
I suspect that much of the scorn directed toward Reform Judaism reflects a certain frustration over the inability of many Israelis to feel a part of any congregation, Orthodox, Conservative, or Reform.
It is Yom Kippur. It is time to lay anger aside. It is time, as the prayers of both Orthodoxy and Reform specify, to shelve slander, scorn, ridicule, and baseless hatred.And let it be God's will.
It is Yom Kippur. It is time to let Jews be Jews. It is time to recognize that Judaism itself is changing - even Orthodox Judaism. It is time to let individuals be alone with their God, and, at least this one day of the year, to accord that relationship the respect it deserves.
I wish you all an easy and meaningful fast. G'mar Hatimah Tovah.