Challenges within the Jewish People

As I walk into the closed door roundtable on the “Challenges of the Jewish People” here at the Presidential Conference, I need to state something for the record. I have no issues with orthodox Jewry, same with conservative and reform for that matter, and I AM NOT attacking orthodox Jewry in any way shape or form with my opinions.

I am not attempting to stifle orthodox Judaism, and certainly not their legitimacy. I am attempting to halt the stifling of the orthodox run Israeli rabbinate of other equally relevant and legitimate forms of Judaism.  Those who know me, know that my friendships range across the religious spectrum, and our opinions are what brought us closer, not divided us.

Wait, except for the one time when my beloved orthodox rabbi and his wife attempted to stop me from marrying my husband, because they wanted to bring me further into the fold. That did end the relationship. With my rabbi and his wife.

I love and respect all forms of Judaism; I believe that we all have our unique added value that helps to mold us as the Jewish People living in the modern world.

My beef is not with the orthodox institution, within which I was educated and from which came most of my childhood friends, never has been, never will be. It just isn’t me.

But when an institution that is run solely by orthodox rabbis, effectively disengages the vast majority of Jews from their legitimate right to their religion, we have a problem. The vast majority of us are not orthodox, so why are we being choke held by a small minority? We need to work together, not against each other.

I am constantly under attack by orthodox individuals, and wonder what they are so afraid of? I do not want to take away their Judaism, I LOVE their Judaism.  It is a beautiful expression of our love for Torah and G-d and all of the good in the world. But so is conservative Judaism, so why aren’t conservatives good enough?

Why is orthodoxy so threatened by other beautiful forms of Judaism? No one is saying they need to be conservative or G-d forbid, reform. All we are saying is let us be, and stop delegitimizing us when we make Aliya, or when conservatives and reform institutions perform conversions. These are lively living and breasting entities, from which come amazing figures in the Jewish world.

The concept is to embrace one another, not divide. Two Jews, three opinions. Let’s get ten and make a minyan.



About the Author
Safra made aliya in 1997, and has been involved in the Jewish world both professionally and voluntarily throughout her life. She currently resides near Haifa and owns a small translation business. Safra is married and has one son.