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The Future of Reform Jewry: Interview with Rabbi Professor David Ellenson

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Publication Date: June 2007

Publisher(s): Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

Author(s): Manfred Gerstenfeld

Special Collection: Berman Jewish Policy Archive

Topic: Culture and religion (Religion and religious groups)

Keywords: Jewish Law (Halacha); Culture; Reform Judaism; Jewish Continuity

Type: Other

Coverage: United States


The author interviews Rabbi Professor David Ellenson, President of Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion, about the future of the Reform movement. Rabbi Ellenson contends that the role of Reform Judaism is to serve the broad swath of Jews whose life is not halachic (bound by traditional Jewish law). But he also argues that a Judaism devoid of substance will be unable to transmit itself over the generations, and that this explains why Reform is becoming more traditional. Other topics discussed include intermarriage, assimilation, patrilineal descent, day schools, attachment to Israel, and the nature of leadership within changing sociological realities.