Saturday, March 20, 2010

Is The Reform Movement Reverting to Its Previous Siddur Content Lack?

I have a suggestion for Reform Rabbi Yoffie after reading this:

Top Reform rabbi: Freeze building in 'East Jerusalem'

NEW YORK (JTA) -- Rabbi Eric Yoffie, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, the largest synagogue movement in the county, is calling on Israel to enact a construction freeze in eastern Jerusalem.

He expressed his views during remarks to rabbis and members of URJ's board of trustees on Thursday.

"There is also a substantive question of great importance that needs to be addressed: Should Israel continue to build now in East Jerusalem? I believe that it should not," Yoffie said.

Maybe he should return to the period when Zion was extracted from the Reform siddur:

David Friedlander, for example, demanded that all mention of Zion and Jerusalem be removed from the Siddur (traditional prayer book), given that "the Jews have only the Prussian Fatherland, for whose welfare they are obliged to pray." In France, Samuel Levi adopted a similar position in his declaration that

"France, which was the first country to remove the shame of her Jews, is our land of Israel. Her mountains are our Zion, her rivers - our Jordan."

Check this, too.

And he should be careful:

In nineteenth-century German Reform prayer books, such references to Jewish nationalism were altered or eliminated. In an age of growing European nationalism, this attempt to 'de-nationalise' Jewish identity was virtually unique. Responding to accusations that Jewish citizenship in the modern nation-state was incompatible with Judaism, Reform rabbis, who were engaged in the struggle for Jewish emancipation, claimed that patriotic loyalty to the German fatherland must supersede Jewish national identity. This article discusses the offending nationalist content of the siddur and the historical context in which it was suppressed. It concludes that the German reformers, by drawing attention to the nationalist potential of traditional Judaism, indirectly prepared the way for the rise of Jewish nationalism in reaction to racial anti-Semitism in the late nineteenth century.

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