True to mans purpose

Morality and empathy are the building blocks of civilization. By removing or diluting them the foundations of humanity are compromised which starts a process of dehumanization and ultimately leads to the reversal of the hierarchy of living creatures, where man is no longer at the top.
The reason man is on top is because he has free choice. Lesser creatures do not and are in essence more perfect than man, because they are true to their purpose. A simple example would be a lion. This creature cannot exercise its free choice and become vegetarian.
Man, on the other hand, can choose. If man chooses to do what is moral and good (for everyone and not in self-satisfaction of primal desires at the expense of others) despite being able to do the opposite then he becomes true to his purpose and validates his position at the top of the hierarchy of creation. If however, man forsakes morality and empathy for others then he is reduced to the absolute bottom, below lice and vermin who at least are true to their intended purpose.

Reformed Jew or gentile in trappings

Reformed Jew or gentile in trappings? I was recently asked by a gentile (non-Jew) “why can’t all of us (he meant orthodox Jews) just accept these other Jews and their desire to pray at the Kotel, whichever way they want?”…

On the face of it, the question posed is fair and is hard to argue with, because it promotes unity and solidifies a core of any religious aspiration. It is also a question which is hard to answer to a non-Jew because a certain degree of sensitivity needs to be applied, so I did my best in the circumstance and won’t bore you with my reply here, however, it got me to thinking how I would answer a non-practicing or someone who associates themselves with the Reform movement.

I think we need to remember what happened approximately 2000 years ago when some of the cosmopolitan and liberal Jews of the time decided it would be a great idea to welcome new members to gain influence in Rome… Christianity was born.

The Orthodox movement rejected such overtures and did not welcome them into the mainstream, and that is why we have traditional and authentic Judaism today, as well as the centuries of persecutions at the hands of these estranged wannabes. The Reform movement whilst noble in its fundamental ideal of being inclusive, relevant to the times and making it accessible to the wider world in an attempt to break down the historical prejudices against Jews, is, unfortunately, a slippery slope to the complete abandonment of Judaism. Ask yourselves a simple question, what would you call a third generation (I believe I’m being generous here) reform Jew?

I believe if you are honest the answer would be a non-Jew. If the reform movement was an outreach program, which drew disenfranchised and assimilated Jews out into the mainstream Orthodox path, then it would be a movement that most Orthodox Rabbis would endorse. Unfortunately, the Reform movement doesn’t have such aspirations and in many instances, holds their interpretation as the benchmark rather than the compromise that it is.

In this way, it becomes more fundamentally problematic than other religions for the Orthodox world, because the orthodox youth has the perception that these are Jews that live a different life as opposed to gentiles having a different religion. For the record, I’m not some Haredi that sets stones aside for Shabbos altercations, in fact, I come from a family that would insist to go once yearly to an Orthodox shul, for Yom Kippur.