It’s going to be a rollercoaster, but don’t worry: it has a happy ending.
It’s easy to show and explain that ‘messianic synagogues’ are just churches where Jesus is reigning with a sauce of Jewish words and customs. That isn’t only fake Judaism and falsehood. (How can one promote falsehood and claim to believe in G^d?!) But when we look at the differences between the Orthodox and the non-Orthodox, things are much less clear.
Although no question is taboo in Judaism, the above one is so politically incorrect that, rather than looking for answers, most people may tend to just say that it’s s proof of disrespect and forbidden to ask.
One could counter that Reform and Conservative and Reconstructionist and Humanist Judaism are new and that everyone knows that all the shades of Orthodox Judaism only are continuations of historic Judaism.
However, Judaism always changed, over the ages, so why would the changes that happened in the last one-and-a-half century be deemed unworthy of being part of the Judaism of millennia?
One could say that it is a bridge too far to do away with the separation between the men’s and the women’s section, question the Divinity of the Torah, to let the public vote on what Jewish Law should ‘prescribe,’ to abandon exclusively maternal lineage, and to reject the Supernatural, etc.
Those are radical departures of the past, but we’ve been there before. Debates on biggies, like if there’s a future world, resurrection, or free will.
That is true, but the groups that held that these don’t exist, discontinued to be part of the Jewish Tradition. They may have meant well and have been sincere and honest and noble and holy. But not Jewish, in hindsight.
For now, we can’t tell which part(s) of Judaism have the future. So, that cannot be an argument to disqualify any specific way. Maybe Pluralism will win out. Maybe Purification will. Maybe neither. Prediction is hard, especially concerning the future. Moses didn’t even recognize the Judaism of Rabbi Akiva, the pillar of all Judaism we have today.
But, there is still a difference if you build on old Judaism or if you take modernity and give it a Jewish veneer.
That’s what you say about the non-Orthodoxy. But the great Maimonides adjusted Greek Philosophy to fit Judaism. His books were burned and his name was shunned, until it was discovered that he did not compromise Judaism at all. Same with Chassidut. Same with so many Jewish renewals.
Still, we don’t let anyone just invent his own lifestyle and philosophy and claim it to be a legit brand of Judaism. Not only would that be the end of a distinguishable Jewish People but it would also guarantee that every religious Jew began his own Judaism without any common denominator.
But, anti-Semites don’t distingue between the present different Jewish streams. They equally hate all of them.
Oh, that’s true. This is a serious argument, sadly so. They’re often the first and best in finding out who’s Jewish (for the wrong reasons, obviously).
However, all of the above mess might be the result of the tough situation that Jews found themselves in in the Germanic countries. Every tiny mistake could unleash a mass murder on the small communities, and those Jews became terribly over-precise. A strictness that never was part of Judaism. Then, it can be called a sign of assimilation. Non-Ashkenazic Jews don’t separate their communities into Reform, Orthodox, etc.
So, all of the above may be solved when the majority of Jews, the non-Ashkenazic Jews, will take the lead in shepherding the Jewish People.