Saturday, December 10, 2005

Liberalism and Judaism

Is the infusion of liberal politics into Reform Judaism causing people to stay away from the religion? In this case, yes:
I have chosen not to be a member of the Reform movement. There are various reasons for this, including that I do not like to hear lectures on the High Holidays about the high crimes of the United States, why Bush is bad, or if the Middle East conflict even comes up, why Israel is primarily responsible for the failure to achieve peace. Many of my friends routinely tell me every year that these themes are exactly the kind of verbiage that they get to hear in the sermons by their Reform rabbis. I can get this kind of political indoctrination in the New York Times. I do not care for it in shul.
Just today, the Reform Judaism Religious Action Center issued an "action alert" entitled "Urge Your Representative to Oppose More Tax Cuts." I hope none of my temple dues are going to support this effort with which I so heartily disagree.

Let's take a quick look at the results of the Bush tax cuts: more of the income tax burden has fallen on the rich, federal tax receipts have increased to record levels, the economy has shown consistent growth and unemployment is significantly down. I wonder which of these results the Reform Jewish leadership does not like.

(Related post below.)

Update: Rabbi and blogger Mark Ankcorn writes in reaction to the URJ's position against confirmation of Judge Alito:
This, for me, is a symptom of the real problem with American organized Judaism. We seem to be much more concerned about enacting a political agenda than in bringing God into the presence of people's lives. "The scope of federal power" is a matter of "core concern" to the URJ? Funny enough, I don't really remember reading that in the Torah or anywhere in the Talmud.