Thursday, June 27, 2013

A Template for an Inclusionist Committee on Jewish Law

So we'll have to depart from the Conversative Movement's template in several ways (e.g. ours will not be halachic decisors or promulgators of a "Shulchan Aruch", but merely a committee to construct a non-binding guide on halachah for those in the Inclusionist Messianic Denomination), but this is a good template to observe for precedent:

 "Our Committee on Jewish Law must become the center of our activity.  It can do so only if boldly yet reverently it undertakes to formulate Halachah for Conservative Judaism.  Its technique must include at least six elements:

(a) a careful study of legal tradition with special concern for minority views;

(b) a survey of present practices within the various sections of Catholic Israel [i.e. all of Israel];

(c) an effort to establish optimum standards in terms of contemporary needs;

(d) wherever possible, the delimitation of divergent patterns of observance varying from minimum to maximum, and corresponding to the phrases frequent in the traditional codes' 'be lenient' or 'be stringent.'  These patterns would clearly point out the varying importance of the details of observance, indicating the basically essential, the optional and the tangential elements in each area of practice;

(e) the reinterpretation of traditional Halachah to validate those new practices found acceptable for today;

(f) the publication of guides for American Jewry in various areas of Jewish observance, which would indicate the specific values inherent in each rite, as well as the method for observing it.  A Guide to Jewish Practice for Conversative Judaism should combine the functions of a Sefer Ta'amei Ha-mitzvot, a rationale for Jewish observance, and a Shulhan ARrukh, a presentation of Jewish practice, couched in the modern idiom and sensitive to the human condition in our day," pg. 74 of Conservative Judaism and Jewish Law by Siegel

NOTE:  See the next post for examples of how our movement will deviate from Conservative Judaism's principles of halachah.

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