David Shneer, in a new collumn at Jewcy, has some interesting critiques of Reform Judaism. They’re given within the context of an analysis of RJ and Chabad in Russia and the FSU. What he has to say about RJ seems to be an academic analysis and is free of some of the vitriol that often accompanies other such critiques. Here’s an excerpt that resonated quite strongly with me:
Reform rabbis are trained to be educators and to give pastoral care, but ultimately many of them see their primary role as CEOs of the Jewish community, appointed by wealthy boards of donors, and charged with the operations of the community. For Reform Judaism, at least in its American and British forms [and might I (Jesse) add, Canadian], the rabbinate is a job, not a calling.
I should note that this article was brought to my attention via the blog of a Rabbinical student friend of mine. I suspect that it might have resonated similarly with him aswell, although I leave that to him to confirm or deny.
While there is a danger in over-generalizing about the Rabbinate, there is certainly a strong element of truth in what Shneer has to say. So what to do with it? More to the point…
– How do those of us that aren’t in Rabbinical school respond to this?
– How do those of us that aren’t Rabbis respond to this?