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August 28, 2015 / 13 Elul, 5775
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Letter to a Reform Jew


Rabbi Meir Kahane

Many Jews, both Orthodox and traditional, could no longer be sure of the authenticity of the Jewishness of the young man or woman their child had met. The first calls arose for the establishment of a sefer yuchsin, a documented genealogy that would have inscribed in it only those Jews who were clearly Jewish. The Reform rabbinate had set into motion the first step in the division of the Jewish people. And now the next step has been taken, and we are but moments before the midnight of Jewish collapse.

My fellow brother/sister, it is important that you know that your Reform rabbinate has now “ruled” that the child of a gentile mother and Jewish father is Jewish. My brother/sister, it is important that you know that Jewish Law clearly, starkly declares that ONLY the child of a Jewish mother can be considered Jewish. My fellow brother/sister, it is important that you know that your rabbis are moving to the day when I may no longer be sure that your child is my brother/sister.

Can you understand what I say to you? Do you appreciate the magnitude of the crime that the Reform rabbinate has committed? There can be no forgiveness for people who, through egoism or pressure, brazenly trample upon the National Law and who split us into two peoples, barred from marriage and joining together! And it is the same fraud that they perpetrated upon you when they disguised the efforts of religious Jews in Israel to insist on conversion only according to halacha, as aimed at making Reform Jews second-class or non-Jews.

Nonsense! Any Jew is as much a Jew as any other, in the eyes of Torah law, and no Jew who calls himself “Reform” is any less of a Jew than the one who is “Orthodox.” The issue never was one of the Reform Jew but of the definition of a Jew per se and of the status of the Reform rabbi. The real anger of the Reform rabbis was not that the Orthodox did not recognize the Reform Jew but that they recognize the illegitimacy of the Reform rabbi. Any Reform Jew who is born of a Jewish mother is recognized as being FULLY JEWISH. And any Reform Jew in Israel can set up his own temple (there are many such institutions there). Anyone can set up his own form of service and hire his own leader of the service whom he calls a rabbi. His rights are in no way stopped.

What the religious Jews in Israel do not recognize is the Reform rabbi and his right to manipulate the law. The fact that a Reform Jew wishes to adopt a counterfeit form of “Judaism” is his affair. But the religious Jew is not bound by that. The State of Israel does not have to recognize on an official level the falsehood that every Jew may adopt on a private level. And so, what infuriates the Reform rabbis is not that you, my brother/sister, are not recognized, but the fact that he, the rabbi, (or she) is not.

And now, another fraud. Reform rabbis would have you believe that a Jew is anything they say he is. He is not. To be Jewish is not some game to be played with rules we change to suit ourselves. Because influential Jews have so many of their children intermarrying, they have pressured Reform rabbis to find them a solution. And the rabbis accommodate them.

But in so doing, they guarantee the division of the Jewish people into two separate camps, separated from each other, unable to marry or to join together. My dear brother/sister. Is that what you want? Are you prepared, by your silence, to acquiesce in this? Do you not realize the immense difference between your throwing away the Jewish law on a private level and this destruction of the very foundation of the Jewish nation? Who are your rabbis to do that to all of us? You, and only you, can prevent it. Speak up and tell your rabbis that you reject their ruling. After all, if Reform Judaism is based on the fact that the Torah is not Divine and can be rejected or changed as we see fit, then surely you can tell your rabbis that the time has come to reject their dangerous tampering with the foundation of Judaism. We are One people. Let us keep it that way.

About the Author: Tzvi Fishman was awarded the Israel Ministry of Education Prize for Creativity and Jewish Culture for his novel "Tevye in the Promised Land." A wide selection of his books are available at Amazon.

The author's opinion does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Jewish Press.

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15 Responses to “Letter to a Reform Jew”

  1. Muriel Coudurier-Curveur says:

    I thinks this letter shows a dangerous hatred of those who differ from you in their understanding of Judaism. While I am not a Reform Jew, I think that it isn't for you, but for Hashem alone to decide who is a Jew among those who claim to be. According to your letter, the Reform Jews are destroying the unity of Israel, and I disagree with you: All Jews, from the most ignorant -or deluded- to the most enlightened in the Torah, are part of Israel. I fear more those who profess their hatred of Israel, like the pro-Palestinian extreme left and the Neturei Karta, than I do those who are loyal to both Israel and the Torah, whether or not they have same conception of Mitzvot I have.

  2. Gideon Jones says:

    Muriel,

    Did you even read the letter? I believe Kahane openly stated at least two-separate times that Reform Jews are as Jewish as Orthodox and vice versa. It is the Reform Movement which perverts and otherwise simply throws out long standing Jewish Law which is the problem. I suggest you re-read the letter.

    But since you are having trouble I'll give you the Cliff's Notes version: Judaism has always said that in order to be considered a Jew you have to have come from a Jewish mother or converted in a very specific way. The leadership of Reform Judaism however has perverted that long standing Jewish Law to serve their own purposes stating (without basis) that neither is necessary. Thus as a result individuals who are not actually Jewish according to Judaism itself (Jewish Law) grown up thinking they are Jewish, and having children who believe the same & so on. The problem is that Judaism isn't some game where the Reform Movement can just change the rules as they please – it is a G-d given religion. So, although generation of people might think they are Jews, they won't actually be counted as such because they do not satisfy the legal requirements.

    Thus, the perversion of Jewish Law by Reform Judaism (not Reform Jews) has created a situation where those following Jewish Law (often called Orthodox) won't be able to marry the actually non-Jewish so-called "Jews". This creates a horrible division between the One Nation of Israel. ("Israel" meaning Am Yisroel (the People), not Medinat Yisroel (The State)).

  3. Muriel Coudurier-Curveur says:

    Thank you for the clarification

  4. what was it like when The Temple stood…Hashem the same yesterday today and forever….who is the closest to this, some are richer in wisdom leaving lies behind , who's evolving into what and joining who.

  5. Interesting opinion. However, I don't think Kahane understands the complex challenges liberal Jews face living in an open free society. Judaism has always adapted to changing times. Yet the fundamental difference lies on the belief that Torah is or is not divine from Sinai.

  6. Max Chaiken says:

    Disgusting and enraging.

  7. what was so disgusting and ENRAGING???

  8. Max Chaiken says:

    Responding in full would take time that I don't have right now. But I will say that this is little more than hatred—שנאת חינם—for any Jew who does not believe exactly as Fishman does. This kind of hatred is not just about patrilineal descent or the fairness of women being allowed to initiate divorce. The State of Israel is unquestionably doing the right thing by recognizing Reform Rabbis, in my opinion, whether or not Fishman and the Orthodox world likes it or agrees with it.

  9. But a JEWISH State recognizing the Reform movement would be like the United States recognizing Communism. They're two complete opposites.

  10. Max Chaiken says:

    I'm sorry to say that to me, at least, your comments are hateful and misguided.

  11. I think you're a bit extremist and narrow minded. I never said anything hateful, racist or negative whatsoever. If you are capable of hearing a different opinion then do so… if not, then you're the hateful one. The "thing" that made Jews what they are… Jews… is the Torah. The Torah says (for example) no pork (EVER). Then a group comes and says NO!. we will eat it because we don't believe the Torah is right on this one. It's basically denying the basis of what made the Jewish Nation. So then it's evidently like two complete opposites.

  12. Doug Molina says:

    Thank you. Never argue with an idiot.

  13. Muriel Coudurier-Curveur says:

    La critique est aisée, mais l'art est difficile. Rather than insulting me, it would have been more constructive to let us know your actual thought on the matter. I may be an idiot, but at least I try to think for myself

  14. Misha Ben-david says:

    How cynical and narrow minded. I am a liberal Jew ( not reform ) and I don't care what the ultra orthodox think about me and my practices. I do care when they seek to make me a second class citizen.

  15. Misha Ben-david says:

    How cynical and narrow minded. I am a liberal Jew ( not reform ) and I don't care what the ultra orthodox think about me and my practices. I do care when they seek to make me a second class citizen.

Comments are closed.

Tzvi Fishman, author of the Jewish Press blog Felafel on Rye and author of more than a dozen books.
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