September 3, 2007


In New Prayer Book, Signs of Broad Change (LAURIE GOODSTEIN, 9/03/07, NY Times)

Religious denominations have learned that rewriting their prayer books can result in rebellions from their worshipers, both those wedded to tradition and those hoping for dramatic change.

Now the nation’s largest Jewish movement, Reform Judaism, is preparing to adopt a new prayer book that was intended to offer something for everyone — traditionalists, progressives and everyone else — even those who do not believe in God.

The changes reveal a movement that is growing in different directions simultaneously, absorbing non-Jewish spouses and Jews with little formal religious education while also trying to appeal to Jews seeking a return to tradition.

Traditional touches coexist with a text that sometimes departs from tradition by omitting or modifying some prayers and by using language that is gender-neutral. References to God as “He” have been removed, and whenever Jewish patriarchs are named — like Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, so are the matriarchs — like Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah. The prayer book took more than 20 years to develop and was tested in about 300 congregations. Its release has been delayed for a year because the initial printed product was shoddy, said people involved with the project.

A religion about nothing is shoddier.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 3, 2007 7:22 AM

And thus the so-called,self-proclaimed "Progressives" progress backwards to a time before Yawehism took hold.

Of course I have not seen it. I hope the other changes are not too bad. It least we have Pope Benedict, and Y.O.S. lives not too far from an Italian ethnic parish with a Latin Mass every Sunday.

Posted by: Lou Gots at September 3, 2007 8:15 AM

...even those who do not believe in God.

Those kind of people tend not to read prayer books.

Posted by: Brandon at September 3, 2007 8:40 AM

My parents' temple was one of the test congregations. The membership rejected the new book and created their (based on the previous Reform prayerbooks and other sources).

Posted by: Foos at September 3, 2007 7:07 PM

Reminds me of a play from my youth, "The Religion Store", that featured a cool church called "Bill and Fran's Church of Fun".

Of course the real problem is that preaching truth does not bring about church growth. Jesus began with thousands of disciples and ended up with only one.

Maybe what the Jews really need is a temple with a fertility goddess. Baal was once popular. Aphrodite was more fun.

Posted by: Randall Voth at September 3, 2007 8:42 PM

Rabbi: And this offends you as a Jew?

Jerry: No, it offends me as a comedian!

Posted by: flanman at September 4, 2007 4:46 PM
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