3/02/2009

Austritt?

There's been some buzz about David Forman's article entertaining the idea that Reform and Conservative Judaism declare themselves to be a separate religion in order to gain independent recognition from the state.

The irony of the situation is that it is not new, even in a modern context. Beginning in the late 19th Century, Orthodox communities in Germany, Austria-Hungary, and eventually even the Land of Israel seceded from the main Jewish communities in order to gain independent recognition. R. Shimshon b. Raphael Hirsch was the prime mover behind this initiative, called Austrittgemeinde. In the Land of Israel, this secession created the Edah Chareidis. Its independence continues until today in certain crucial respects (it should be noted that the Chazon Ish was against this type of Austritt in the Land of Israel, though this was a major bone of contention within the Agudah in the late 1920s and through the 1930s).

To his point, though, he's dreaming if he thinks that Israelis will come flocking to R and C rabbis once they are enfranchised. They would be better served to try to end the Rabbanut monopoly.
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