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The Truth of the Exodus

Several years ago, before I had even enrolled in rabbinical school, I was sitting at my parents’ table for seder when my uncle looked at me pointedly and said: “You’re the religious one. Tell me, did the Exodus really happen?” Suddenly, it got very quiet around the seder table.

The Exodus from Egypt – the miraculous delivery from slavery that marks the formation of the Jewish people – is our core narrative, so central that Jews everywhere gather yearly to retell, and ideally re-experience, the tale. For me, the power of the ritual retelling and experiential re-enactment of this central story stems not from any knowledge I might have that the story is “real,” but rather from the connection I have to the truth of Jews past, present, and future who hold the ideas and ideals encapsulated in the story.

A few years ago, Rabbi David Wolpe raised a storm in the Jewish world by airing the same question my uncle did and concluding, based on available archaeological evidence, that it had never happened.

I think that Rabbi Wolpe is right–the Exodus is not a historical event and the Torah’s depiction is not (and does not in fact seek to be) a factual account. The Torah, after all, is not a book of history, as Professor Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi and others have argued, the idea of ‘history’ comes much later than the Torah itself. Rather, the Torah is sacred story, a telling that forges and shapes the Jewish people. As Rabbi Richard Hirsh writes in the introduction to the Haggadah “A Night of Questions”:

Is the story true? No, not if we mean an accurate account of events that happened more or less the way they are told… We do not tell the story of the Exodus because it is historically accurate; we tell the story because it is our story and we need to recover and uncover the eternal ideas that this story conveys.

Put differently, the story of the Exodus may not be historically accurate, but it can still be true. The story is true because it speaks powerfully to us of the experience of oppression, because it embodies God’s love for and partnership with the Jewish people, and because it emphasizes God’s central commitment to justice and freedom in the world. We, at the seder, feel moved to internalize this sacred story’s message – affirming our own distinctive history and identity while committing ourselves to work on behalf of those throughout the world who still are not free. We retell the story every year because its truth teaches, sustains us, and gives us purpose as individuals and as a people.

Read the Full Debate: Does It Matter If the Exodus Happened?

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    Tzvi

    posted March 26, 2007 at 7:11 pm


    I’m going to have to disagree with rabbi Waxman for a few reasons and yet he made a point where there is some agreement. Did the Exodus happen as we read/retell it every year, not directly. We know from historical evidence that something happened. We know because each of the 10 plagues is similar to what happens after a Volcano erupts. We know that a Volcano erupted at an island now called Santorini sometime prior to standardized history, and that said volcano is not really in line of sight with Egypt. Historians and Archaeologists have been debating this for years, and honestly the best answer is that it within the realm of posibility…At least That’s what I think the RAMBAM might have said, as a neo-aritotelian realist.



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    Grethel Jane Rickman

    posted March 27, 2007 at 12:02 am


    Two words: historical mythology Do we need to know if the Exodus happened exactly as it is recorded? No. Do we need to know what the story of Exodus teaches us? Yes. Is there truth involved? Yes. Is it important for the story to be as accurate as possible according to recorded history? No. The story is true because it is historical myth. {and I do not mean myth in the sense of something “not true.” I mean myth as in the stories and traditions spoken from each generation to the next to explain the very basics of human questioning and human existence: Why are we here? Where did we come from? Who created us? Do we have a purpose? Why do events happen as they do?}The Westernized mindset does not fully understand historical myth.Shalom!



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    sam

    posted March 27, 2007 at 5:28 pm


    Fable is more historical than fact, because fact tells us about one man and fable tells us about a million men. Gilbert K. Chesterton



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    Tzvi

    posted March 27, 2007 at 5:45 pm


    In western thought, we need validity…think of it in terms of the Story of the Iliad, thought just stories untill one Heinrich Schlielman(sp.) found the site of what was Troy. Part of the other side is that Reconstructionist thinnking(per M. Kaplan) did away with the Supernatural( there was a Book Judaism without Supernaturalism) so there’s bound to be a slant about it. I like to take a more extended view… the geographical evidence suggests that SOMETHING happened, there are other things that suggest that something happened, but the reality is that we don’t know, what EXACTLY happened, and it comes down to asking “does it matter if it happened the way that its written”?



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    Dave

    posted March 27, 2007 at 5:48 pm


    It depends. If one is Reform it doesn’t make sense to believe in Exodus as historical fact. That way you can eat chometz during Pesach (except at the seder table), and treif the year round. (Oh please tell me that Reform Jews don’t do this.) If you believe in Torah Judaism then it makes sense to believe in the Torah including Exodus and obey as many of the mitzvot including the ritual mitzvot as you can. BTW If you believe that myth can be ‘true’, why not believe in Zeus, Odin, etc. They are equally valid as myths.



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    Grethel Jane Rickman

    posted March 27, 2007 at 6:58 pm


    Dave,There is such a thing as a scholarly view. The statement that you made about “myth” from your viewpoint is not the viewpoint of what “myth” actually is for the cultures that “myth” is a part of. Your view contains a bias of your own culture and understanding. One can’t examine all elements of an issue that way. It leads to fallacies. Religion is more than statements of beliefs written out like scientific methods. Religion is more than “belief.” Religion is more than “faith” and it is more than “head knowledge.” It is living; it is the process of being human. It is the defining of being human. It is explaining the Divine which is beyond human understanding. Religion is the stories, the traditions, the rituals, the time {past, present, and future}. Religion is the way to connect to that which is the Mysterious Tremendum.Please research the Internet for World Religion studies from credible colleges and universities. Also do some study into the development of religion.Shalom



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    Tzvi

    posted March 27, 2007 at 7:05 pm


    Dave, you wrote: >If one is Reform it doesn’t make >sense to believe in Exodus as >historical fact. That way you can >eat chometz during Pesach (except at >the seder table), and treif the year >round. (Oh please tell me that >Reform Jews don’t do this.) I have to ask this, only because of the absurdity of your comment…How many jews do you know that consider themselves “reform”? This discussion was not supposed to have been about bashing one group or another. I could bash orthodox for their slavish ways they follow Torah, and talmud, ignoring key issues like the fact that from a text based analysis, there are 3 or 4 texts in Torah known as, J, E, and P(I think there was a 4th but I forget). Its not a case of believing in Torah or not. I believe in G-d, I accept the fact of the Mitzvot, but to quote/paraphrase from RAMBAM, :”anyone who takes literally expressions such as ‘the hand of G-d, the Finger of G-d” should be stoned as a heretic”. Please don’t bash others, they will bash back. I did one of my Majors in College in History, with a Concentration in Jewish History. I may not be 100% on the laws, but i understand the soul of the people.



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    Grethel Jane Rickman

    posted March 27, 2007 at 7:14 pm


    Ah, I found an explaination of myth that is better than what I gave! Look here: http://meaning-and-purpose-of-life.com/myth.html “When we think about religion today we tend to think about Christianity, Judaism, Islam or Buddhism. When we think about myth or mythology we think about stories about heroic adventures and quests. In fact, we often referred to something as a myth when it really didn t happen. But, for most of human history myth and religious parables were the only way that any information about the world around us was communicated.” (from The Meaning of Life by Thomas Miezejeski.} Copyright 2002-2007 by Brookside Books. All Rights Reserved.



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    Iris Pellerano

    posted March 27, 2007 at 7:45 pm


    I am sorry that so few Jews truly believe in the G-D that they have given the rest of us. Of course the Exodus happened, as did Creation, and battle with Golliath, the miracle of lights,etc I believe the Torah, whether the ‘scientists’ can confirm it or not. We are not asked to trust and love and believe G-D only when we understand everything He has made and how He has made it, but we are required to trust and love and believe and obey Him the way Abraham did, by faith. (That was Hashem’s answer to Job, too.) Who are we? Who is G-D? Even if the ‘spiritual’ applications are important, they would be pure conjecture, if the story that validates their moral is only a human fabrication.



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    Tzvi

    posted March 27, 2007 at 8:49 pm


    I thought we as jews were not tied by faith, that the concept of “faith leading to action” was not a jewish idea. I was brought up doing and faith will follow. For me, its not a case of Did the events in Torah happen as was written, but more, what can i uncover from Torah that I did not know before. what new mystery will be revealed this time around that wasn’t revealed before



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    Grethel Jane Rickman

    posted March 27, 2007 at 11:16 pm


    It is Christianity that is about “faith” and “believing”; Judaism is about doing. In the Torah at Sinai, it is recorded anywhere that HaShem said to “believe in” HaShem? There is a faith that requires belief. But, there is a faith that requires action! Jewish faith is doing! It is stepping out, doing that which is expected, and trusting that HaShem will place the road beneath your feet. That’s action!I agree with Tzvi. But, to add my own perspective. It isn’t if the events in Torah are recorded as they happened, it is what do the events as recorded teach me? How does the Torah apply to life now? And how does it apply to where HaShem is leading us?Shalom



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    livingwithhope

    posted March 28, 2007 at 12:51 am


    If the Torah is accurate? in the creation story why would it not be accurate in all else. In the 12th century (I think) a kabbalist – Isaac of Akko – worked out, using biblical texts, that the world was 15,340,500,000 years from the start of its creation. Selection from Ozar ha-Hayyim, pp 86b-87b. Scientists in the 20th century figured it out at being over 15 billion years old. Surprise, surprise!!!



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    Elly Egenberg

    posted March 28, 2007 at 12:20 pm


    So now you have the audacity to call 3 thousand years of grandfathers and grandmothers retelling the events of our Exodus liars? Shame on you. My grandparents never lied to me.



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    Don Andrews

    posted March 28, 2007 at 2:30 pm


    The EXODUS DECODED is a documentary aired recently on both the History and the Discovery Channel, explains with geological and archaelogical evidence, the ten plagues as they occurred and how each effected the others. There is much discussion on this on the web but I think that if you view this film, you will have a better understanding of historic and Biblical texts merge.



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    Grethel Jane Rickman

    posted March 28, 2007 at 2:47 pm


    Elly, no one said that the Torah was a lie.Geez! Has a Westernized mindset become that contagious to the world! Judaism came from the East. In the context and content of a non-Westernized world, myth is not lies. Myth is truth. It is tradition! To say that the Torah contains the mythology of our people is not calling our ancestors liars! Torah is historical myth–the traditional stories handed down from generation to generation based on events that did take place in history, that also teach us important details pertaining to ourselves, the world around us, and the Divine. Everyone shake off the modern influence of Westernized society! Now, slip into the shoes of our mystics! Yes, our mystics. Think Chasidic! {Our Chasidic masters are very much our shamen.} What are the difference between Western and Eastern cultures? http://www.1000ventures.com/business_guide/crosscuttings/cultures_east-west-phylosophy.html



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    Grethel Jane Rickman

    posted March 28, 2007 at 2:53 pm


    The Exodus Decoded, is a prime example of the scientific, annalytical, and logical mindset that underlines modern Westernized civiliation. So, what? Does it really matter if we verify everything the Torah says? Or does it really matter what the Torah teaches and shares with us about the world around us? When our ancestors passed down the Torah, they didn’t pass down to us scientific, detailed, annalytical, and logical methods of confirming the stories within the Torah to details found via research and archological digs! Shalom!



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    Grethel Jane Rickman

    posted March 28, 2007 at 2:56 pm


    archaelogical, I meant Sorry, for those who are new here, I sometimes make errors such as this. It is something more than just typcial typos; yet, I haven’t had myself tested for any LD or any other situation. Too late in life for me; I have learned how to cope. Shalom!



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    Tzvi

    posted March 28, 2007 at 3:29 pm


    Elly, you wrote: >So now you have the audacity to call >3 thousand years of grandfathers and >grandmothers retelling the events of >our Exodus liars? Shame on you. My >grandparents never lied to me. 2 things, First from a professor I had in college when I did my Seminar/Senior Thesis on jewish thought. The idea behind passover is the “unwritten script” that keeps us asking questions. keeps us doing. The way we do passover today is not necesarily the way that our parents did Seder when they were our age, nor is it done the way our Bubbe’s and Zeide’s did it when THEY were our ages. The big issue for passover is that :”you should feel as if you yourself were brought out of Egypt”. The other thing I thought of was a quote from the movie Star Wars:Return of the Jedi. In the scene on the planet Dagobah, when luke has the conversation with Obi-wan’s Ghost Obi-wan says: Obi-Wan: Your father… was seduced by the Dark Side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and BECAME Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was TRUE… from a certain point of view. Luke: A certain point of view? Obi-Wan: Luke, you’re going to find that many of the truths we cling to… [sits down] Obi-Wan: depend greatly on our own point of view. Anakin was a good friend.Again this illustrates the point that I think Grethel jane was trying to make, it comes down to your “point of view.I could even pull a reference from Star trek(I had a professor for all of 1 class who declared that it was “a jewish thing to quote”) so I shall from the episode HIDE and Q: “But I never wanted to compound one… illusion with another. It might be real to Q, perhaps even you, sir, but it would never be so to me. Was it not one of the captain’s favorite authors who wrote, “This above all, to thine own self be true”? Sorry, commander. I must decline” Needless to say no one is accusing anyone of telling an untruth. The collective stories are part of our histories, they make us who and what we are. Its all a matter of perspective.



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    Dave

    posted March 28, 2007 at 4:53 pm


    I had my Bar Mitzvah and was confirmationed at reform Temple Beth Shalom in Montreal (since then forced to merge with Temple Emmanu-el on account of the diminishing number of Reform Jews) so when it comes to the actual actions of Reform Jews I know of what I speak (as opposed to a University textbook). (I was also at a reform wedding in White Plains where treif was served at the reception-I’m not bashing, I’m merely describing actual events) And why shouldn’t the Reform do what they do. If the Reform didn’t do what they do they would be Orthodox, and vice-versa



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    Tzvi

    posted March 28, 2007 at 8:18 pm


    Dave, you wrote: >I had my Bar Mitzvah and was >confirmationed at reform Temple Beth >Shalom in Montreal I also had a bar Mitzvah at a reform Synagogue(Temple Shalom in NJ) though i refused to do Confirmation, as I felt that anything that was borrowed from the Goyim was not worth doing. I guess the whole :”reform is moving to the more ‘traditional’” thing has gone past you. they are encouraging the members to keep kosher, or rather saying that if you do, they won’t act like you’re from another planet. Otherwise, I promise to not bash the Orthodox, if you promise to not bash the Reform(even though I’m a Reconstructionist), and we can debate in a scholarly fashion, minus the name calling.



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    Grethel Jane Rickman

    posted March 28, 2007 at 10:02 pm


    Thank you, Tzvi! I am tired of the comments about Reform AND the comments about Orthodox! I am a member of a Reform shul. Guess what? When I converted, I faced a Beit Din {sp?} and I immersed in a mikveh. The mikveh we had to use was at a Conservative shul in another area about 2 hours from here!BTW, I also study Judaism from Breslov and other Chasidic views–not just Progressive views. And yes, Tzvi, I also study from material that comes from Reconstructionist–and Renewal, too! However, I stick with the tradition. I have only one rabbi; I am his student. I always let him be the one to answer my questions. I also let him guide me toward finding any answers. {Shh!! I also love to tap into authentic Kabbalah, so does my Rabbi. :) } Now, this is to Dave: A Jew is a Jew is a Jew. I agree with a Chabad article that is entitled, “Labels are for Shirts!” Shalom, bat Avraham Avinu v’ Sarah Imenu



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    Grethel Jane Rickman

    posted March 28, 2007 at 10:04 pm


    My first name vanished!I am: Geulah bat Avraham Avinu v’ Sarah Imenu



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    Dave

    posted March 29, 2007 at 5:18 pm


    When I was a kid no Reform temple had same-sex weddings/commitment ceremonies. But now they do. When I was a kid no Gentile would’ve been allowed to do anything religious on the Bimah. But now they are. I guess this is what is meant by ‘reform is moving to the more ‘traditional’ thing’. Oh well. Yes a Jew is a Jew is a Jew. And as I said it makes sense (why is this bashing?) for Reform Jews to not be Orthodox Jews (and vice-versa). Otherwise why would people like Moses Mendelssohn and Isaac Mayer Wise bothered to have invented Reform Judaism in the first place? And at least the Reform aren’t disappearing as fast as the Conservatives are. That is definitely to the Reforms credit. personally I don’t understand why anyone would have converted to Judaism through the Reform. Reminds me of that Simpsons episode where Apu has something hidden behind the non-alcohol beer case. Bart asks if this would interfere with non-alcohol patrons. Apu replies that strangely enough no one has complained.



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    Tzvi

    posted March 29, 2007 at 6:16 pm


    dave, I’m not sure which movement you are currently with, and not having a home page for me to go to, i can’t look and say :”AHHHHH I get it now, he’s bashing everyone because there’s a reson no one understands him” You made 2 statements that are totally false in your post, and one that while not false(it was an opinion, did make me cringe with your lack of knowledge of things. False statement #1 where you wrote: >Otherwise why would people like >Moses Mendelssohn and Isaac Mayer >Wise bothered to have invented >Reform Judaism in the first place? Moses Mendohlsohn didn’t invent reform judaism, he was one of the early philosophers who gave it credence, but he is no more seen as a founder, than Abe lincoln was the Founding father of the USA False statement 2: >I guess this is what is meant >by ‘reform is moving to the >more ‘traditional’ thing’ If you didn’t read my last post to you, and you should, I stated that they are moving towards accepting and tolerating people who choose to keep kosher and be more observant of the laws. Reform Judaism is more coming into line with the more liberal strains of the conservative movement. Opinion piece that while not false left me in the lurch: >personally I don’t understand why >anyone would have converted to >Judaism through the Reform.people convert into judaisnm for different reasons, perhaps if they were in love with someone who went to a reform Congregation, perhaps said congregation was the closest one to them, or they don’t like how orthodoxy treats its womenfolk…its rather personal, and again neither of us has any right to say why or even ask. I was estranged from my Jewishness for many years, but came back, my Ex converted to judaism at our Reconstructionist Cong. because we liked the then rabbi.



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    Scott R.

    posted March 29, 2007 at 11:16 pm


    Dave, Have you ever said anything nice to anyone else on these boards who wasn’t Orthodox? Just curious. So much for k’lal y’Israel. Maybe it’s for the best that we break into two people. P.S. I was raised Orthodox. It didn’t work for me anymore. But I don’t go out of my way to bash my former movement the way you do. And you do. You’re a very better man.



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    Grethel Jane Rickman

    posted March 30, 2007 at 1:26 am


    Okay. Since I am the “Reform convert” here, I’ll make some statements–though I converted to accept the covenant and HaShem not Reform Judaism!!!I chose my Rabbi very carefully. The Rabbi I chose is Reform. Quite frankly, I didn’t care. He is a teacher as opposed to a “clery.” Most importantly, he leads by example. He’s human and he’s humble. Also, he shares various viewpoints not just Reform.I chose the community I did because of how they welcome the stranger. It is also the only shul in this particular town. The overall kavana of the my shul family is quite remarkable. We are not perfect, but the kavana good.I also am not frowned upon for taking on certain more tradtional aspects. No one makes fun of me for being interested in Breslov or Kabbalah.I also can spread my wings and express my Jewish feminist side–like wearing teflin. I was given a set by a female shul mate/friend. The teflin belonged to her deceased brother.I don’t abhor Orthodox, but I want to be able to participate, too!So, I am traditional in many ways but also liberal in many ways, too. Could I be Conservative? Easily. Modern Orthodox? Maybe. Regardless, I am a Jew. I realize some don’t accept that I am. But, oh well. God knows my heart. BTW, I also am single and divorced. So, no I didn’t convert because I am in love. Actually, yeah I did! I converted because I am in love with HaShem and Israel, HaShem’s people. My soul is Jewish. Shalom! PS Why was the Temple in Jerusalem destroyed? What does our traditon say?



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    Tzvi

    posted March 30, 2007 at 2:32 am


    Grethel, You wrote:”PS Why was the Temple in Jerusalem destroyed? What does our traditon say?” There is a story that says that both Temples in Jerusalem were destroyed because of causeless hatred, and perhaps the 3rd will be built because of causeless love.you are a better person than I, I inherited a set of T’filin from my Zeide, but can’t wear them, as he was right handed and I am left handed



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    Scott R.

    posted March 30, 2007 at 4:26 am


    Dave, I wrote “You’re a very better man.” I meant to write: “You’re a very bitter man. If you are the face of Orthodoxy, I do not want to come near it ever again.



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    Dave

    posted March 30, 2007 at 4:47 pm


    1/ I’m not the ‘face’ of Orthodoxy. In fact I’m not Orthodox at all. I belong to the disappearing Conservative movement (notice how I’m ‘bashing’ my own movement simply by using knowlege of basic arithmetic. Every movement should be ‘bashed’ from time to time. this is known by others as ‘criticism’. Is that okay?) 2/ I would put it that the whole Conservative movement is coming in line with the whole Reform movement, especially with recent Conservative decisions. But that doesn’t bode well for the Reforms, does it. 3/ If I’m wrong about Mendelssohn and Wise, and I could be, being the founders of the Reform movement (the latter the Reform movement in the US) who (could be plural) did? 4/ Leviticus forbids the wearing of garments used by the other sex. Of course Vayikra forbids other things that the Reforms allow. Perhaps the URJ should shorten the Torah to 4 books like they shorten the repetition of the Amidah. 5/ Is ‘bashing’ (ie criticism) the same as hatred? Interesting.



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    tzvi

    posted March 30, 2007 at 4:58 pm


    Dave, Based on your most recent post you are probably what most jewish scholars/writers would call “conservadox”, that is where you are too liberal to be Orthodox, and walk to services, but not liberal enough to be say Reform, reconstructionist, or similar. A ctually Reform Judaism came about because of the French revolution bringing the Enlightenment and the Emancipation to Germany in the early 1800′s. I take it then though that your synagogue is one of the few that :1)don’t give an aLLyah to a woman, 2) your rabbi has gone on record that homosexual couples will not have equal rights in your congregation and 3), that if need be you will be joining Modern Orthodoxy in the near future. My ex converted and has moved to the right looking for more ‘tradition”…it boggles the minds of many in our small community here.



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    Grethel Jane Rickman

    posted March 30, 2007 at 5:32 pm


    Perhaps, Jews should let HaShem be HaShem and Jews be Jews? Dave, Judaism isn’t about movements or “religiousity.” Actually, rituals aren’t the key either. What has our prophets said? What does HaShem demand? Isn’t it righteousness and justice?If one is not careful, criticism can turn into Lashon Ha-ra. Shall we all be careful, eh? Shalom.



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    tzvi

    posted March 30, 2007 at 6:02 pm


    here here grethel jane. someone understands the Haftorah portion from Yom kippor, so we give that lady a Prize!! Jeremiah wrote that practice w/out honest kavahnah is empty, and G-d don’t like Empty doings, and will reject for that. Now if we understood why you sign yourself as “grethel Jane” I’d be in awe. Chaim Zvi ben Kochav



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    Scott R.

    posted March 30, 2007 at 9:06 pm


    Tzvi, He’s Orthodox. He just won’t say it because he’s trying to prove a point.



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    Tzvi

    posted March 30, 2007 at 10:42 pm


    Scott, there’s nothing wrong with being “conservadox”…near where I was from in NJ there was a Congregation like the one I described..they were affiliated with the Conservative movement, but Women were never given aliyot, et al. but still the labels are for clothes thing was the best. Tzvi



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    Scott R

    posted March 31, 2007 at 12:10 am


    Tzvi, Of course there’s nothing wrong with being conservadox – except he speaks like a haredi!



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    David

    posted April 1, 2007 at 4:37 am


    1/ I can’t be indulging in Lashon Hara since I’m not gossiping, calling anyone names, or in any way being personal. 2/ Mendelssohn was already philosophising before the 1800′s 3/ My shul is not Conservadox. 4/ Criticism of the Orthodox-too many sects with too many meaningless quarrels. See, I can criticise all. Nevertheless Orthodox is closer to Torah and therefore to true Judaism, and the Chasidim and the Haredim closest of all. But I am neither-see, criticism of myself.



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    Scott R

    posted April 1, 2007 at 5:08 am


    Nevertheless Orthodox is closer to Torah and therefore to true Judaism First you get dig in. Then and the Chasidim and the Haredim closest of all. No. That’s a myth. Chasidism are mystics and haredi are fundamentalist reactionaries that withdraw from the world – much like Xtian evangelicals. The ultra-Orthodox are a right wing movement that really didn’t exist 40 years ago.Modern Orthodox would be the closest inheritor to previous Orthodoxy.



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    Grethel Jane Rickman

    posted April 1, 2007 at 2:46 pm


    Actually, LaShon Ha-ra covers a lot more than what you have stated, David. Torah.org offers good understanding into what LaShon-Ha-ra is. http://www.torah.org/learning/halashon/ Here’s another good understanding: http://www.ahavat-israel.com/am/gossip.php The standard is to look upon other Jews with favor. The criticism of other Jews is rechilut.



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    Grethel Jane Rickman

    posted April 1, 2007 at 2:48 pm


    Tzvi, I sign with “Grethel Jane” because my mother didn’t want to call me a “Junior.” ;) It is my secular/given name. Would you much prefer my Hebrew name, Geulah?



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    Tzvi

    posted April 1, 2007 at 4:16 pm


    Scott, you wrote: >No. That’s a myth. Chasidism are >mystics and haredi are fundamentalist >reactionaries that withdraw from the >worldActually Scott, Chasidism merged with the Orthodox was back during the 1800′s…don’t ask me why I forget. But initially they were a “populist”movement, wgich actually brought Judaism to the people and engaged them in personal piety. This whole attacking of other sects reminds me of the old adage…2 jews 3 opinions Tzvi



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    David

    posted April 1, 2007 at 5:48 pm


    1/ I am criticising the movements not the people within. 2/ Menachem Schneerson of blessed memory was the 7th leader by inheritance of the Lubavitchers I believe-that goes farther back than 40 years. Schneerson’s life alone went back more than 40 years. The Chassids in totoal go back to the Bal Shem Tov. 3/ Its modern Orthodoxy that is modern. Says so in its name. And the rest of the Ultra-Orthodox are those who opposed and continue to oppose the Chassids.



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    Some Parting Reflections
    Well, loyal readers, all good things must come to an end and we’ve been informed that this particular experiment in blogging as a forum for creating wide-ranging discussion on topics of interest to contemporary Jews has run its course. Maybe it’s that blogging doesn’t lend itself so well to t

    posted 1:00:29pm Mar. 31, 2008 | read full post »

    Obama's Lesson and The Jewish Community
    There are few times in this blog’s history when I have felt that Rabbi Grossman was one hundred percent correct in her criticisms of my ideas. However, a few weeks ago she called me out for citing a few crack websites on Barak Obama’s advisors. She was right. I never should have cited those web

    posted 12:09:08pm Mar. 31, 2008 | read full post »

    The Future of Race Relations
    As a post-baby boomer, it is interesting to me to see how much of today’s conversation about racial relations is still rooted in the 1960s experience and rhetoric of the civil rights struggle, and the disenchantment that followed. Many in the black and Jewish communities look to this period either

    posted 4:04:41pm Mar. 25, 2008 | read full post »

    Wright and Wrong of Race and Jews
    Years ago, as a rabbinical student, I was one of a group of rabbinical students who visited an African American seminary in Atlanta. My fellow rabbinical students and I expected an uplifting weekend of interfaith sharing like we had experienced in visits to other (largely white) seminaries. We were

    posted 12:50:11pm Mar. 24, 2008 | read full post »




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