The Rise of Reformadox Judaism

1024px Havdalah 192x300 The Rise of Reformadox JudaismWhat’s in a name? In this fast paced, brand managed, Tweeting world, the answer is: EVERYTHING. That’s why we Jews need to come up with a solid one for the members of our community whose beliefs and practices fall outside of the well-known denominations – Reform, Conservative, Orthodox, etc. (I’m not talking about people who are completely secular or otherwise removed from Jewish life by choice.)

Before we pick a name, we need to understand who these Jews are and why a label is useful. Here’s the deal: Jews in theirs 20s and 30s are less likely to affiliate with a movement than their parents and grandparents did in generations past. They’re also less likely to join a synagogue. “The powers that be” call these Jews-who-cannot-be-named or confined into one label “post-denominational Jews.”  In The Jewish Week’s December 28th, 2010 article “Generation F,” staff writer Steve Lipman, referred to the same slippery group as – you guessed it – “Generation F.”

With apologies to Lipman, I don’t see the term Generation F spreading any time soon. And the much-too-broad term “post-denominational Judaism” lacks the slick marketing appeal of something precise and descriptive like Modern Orthodox or Humanist. (Sorry to the Conservative Movement, but the attempted switch to “Masorti” is hopeless.)

I’m aware that trying to shove these wandering Jews into a box misses the point of post-denominational Judaism. But whether we like it or not, leaders in the community have been using the phrase “post-denominational Jews” for a long time. If we don’t coin better options soon, then that mouthful and eyesore of a name is going to stick. And “post-denominational” tells us where people don’t belong, not where they do.

Why do I care? What’s my stake in the game? Well, I’m a post-denominational Jew, but calling myself one doesn’t help me find others with similar practices. Isn’t that why we join movements anyway? To find people who share our beliefs and values?

Check out my rap sheet:

  • I was raised in an enormous Reform synagogue where A-K came to High Holiday services at one time, L-Z came next, and few came on Shabbat. Despite winning an attendance award at Hebrew school (I’m serious), I never learned to read, write, or speak Hebrew above a second grade level.
  • I made friends in college who came from youth group, day school, and Jewish camp backgrounds. I was the only one who didn’t pound the table during birkat hamazon. (I didn’t know the words.) When I spent my junior year abroad in Chile, I lived with a religious Catholic family who had many questions about Judaism I couldn’t answer, making me painfully aware of the holes in my education.
  • I married the poster boy for Camp Ramah Wisconsin–the very Jewish camp affiliated with the Conservative movement that bore no resemblance to the camp in Wisconsin I attended for eight years, which was full of Jews, but not remotely Jewish. (We ate bacon there. On Saturdays.)
  • I did not visit a mikvah before our wedding in 2000. Neither my husband nor I knew about the custom. But since early 2007, I go every month. (That story is here.)
  • Shabbat: My husband and I host big dinners on Friday nights. I light the candles, but rarely at the right time. We do Havdallah, but never at the right time. We forbid birthday parties or T-ball games, and spending money on Shabbat. But we’ll drive to shul, turn the lights on and off, and run the dishwasher.
  • The house is kosher, but not up to the highest standards (i.e. our dishwasher is mixed). I’ll eat chicken at restaurants.
  • We belong to a Conservative synagogue where our kids attend nursery school. However, my husband and our kids go to Chabad on Saturday mornings. (I stay home with our youngest and relish the relative quiet.)

Now I’m one mixed up Jew. People tend to call me Conservadox, but I don’t think that’s intellectually honest. Somebody truly “Conservadox” (perhaps  a potential sub-section of post-denominational Judaism) wouldn’t sneak a call on her cell phone on Shabbat when the kids are napping. Plain ol’ Conservative doesn’t fit either. Wouldn’t the average conscientious Conservative Jew feel “offended” by a mechitza and perhaps even the mikvah in a way I just don’t?

What about Reformadox? I’m thinking Reformadox captures my desire to fit as much traditional observance as I can into my modern life, but on my terms. Of course I realize some will balk at me treating our theology like a customizable iTunes playlist. But the truth is, if you tell people it’s all or nothing, many will choose nothing – no playlist at all. Maybe Reformadox Judaism can capture that middle ground. I’ll bet others like me exist – they’re simply not sure where to send their monthly dues.

Are you also a Jew who doesn’t identify with the current movements? How do you find other people who practice the way you do?

NinaBadzin 150x150 The Rise of Reformadox Judaism

Nina Badzin is a published short story writer and aspiring novelist. She blogs about the writing life, marriage, and motherhood at http://ninabadzin.com. Follow her on Twitter @NinaBadzin.

(Havdalah Candle Image: Olaf.herfurth (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)

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About Nina Badzin @NinaBadzin

Nina Badzin is a published writer of stories and essays and a mother of four. She blogs about the writing life, parenthood, reading, and more at http://ninabadzin.com as well as the Huffington Post, Kveller, Writer Unboxed, and elsewhere. Find her on Twitter @NinaBadzin.

Comments. Add Yours!

47 comments

  1. You are one smart cookie — um, knish, Nina.

  2. Interesting points. I think that you make many valid arguments. It is so wonderful that you take many “traditional” jewish customs and incorporate them into you “modern” life.

  3. I’m one, I’m one…I won’t get into my mixed-up Jewish tale, but since you and Bry said reformadox, I have repeated it many times. Would love to hear and connect more with others…things to throw into this mix eco-kashrut. I would rather, at this point, know exactly how the animals I eat are raised and where than have a hechsher…but does it have to be this way. Chicken keeping is growing in popularity, can’t we slaughter them ourselves with the proper Judaic shechitah training???

  4. Classic, Nina! Am I the only Catholic who reads TCJewFolk? I hope not–good stuff here!

  5. I love it. I am in a similar boat (but the single guy version). I usually go to Chabad and feel uncomfortable a the giant Reform synagogue I grew up at. I keep a strict Kosher kitchen at home, but do cook on Shabbos. I try to say Kiddush every week, but often have to turn the stereo or TV off to to it. I love living a Jewish life, but it is hard to do so at the expense of my lifestyle.

    You hit the nail on the head.

  6. Why not just Reform? Just because you’re observant doesn’t mean you’re NOT Reform — it’s about whether you believe you can choose or not. And it sounds like you believe you can pick and choose your own “playlist” (I really like how you described that). I’m also curious how you feel your religious beliefs compare to those in the Reconstructionist movement.
    Nice piece!

  7. I enjoyed this article. You make some excellent points. I would suggest an alternative that i think is a more complete description: Partially Observant or Jewish Returnee.

  8. I think that you may really be a reconstructionist jew – applying modern life to traditional observances. Seriously though, I loved your rap sheet. I think the important part is that you and Brian really enjoy the practices that you follow. You have found the things that you connect with on a spiritual and practical level, so you practice with meaning and not just what you feel obligated to do.

  9. Like Confucius said, “he who defines the terms, wins the debate.”

  10. You say “I’m thinking Reformadox captures my desire to fit as much traditional observance as I can into my modern life, but on my terms.”

    And as Sara says, that is pretty much the definition of Reform: Keep one foot in tradition and one foot in the modern world. Learn about the mitzvot and adopt as many of them as you feel provide you with meaning. There is no need to try to create (yet another) new denomination or term for that.

    P.S. Don’t be turned off by the fact that your childhood Reform experience did not match the Reform ideal. In its earlier incarnation, Reform really did throw out a good part of the baby with the bathwater, but my experience is that recently Reform has been trending back toward the inclusion of more tradition.

  11. I think that by saying, “well-known denominations – Reform, Conservative, Orthodox, etc.” you miss out on a lot. I don’t think Reconstructionist falls under “etc.,” nor does Humanistic Judaism.

  12. I loved your article Nina. As to why you (me) we don’t describe ourselves as Reform, I simply don’t like the Reform service. I love the ideals and philosophy of Reform Judaism. But, I love a traditional service, filled with Hebrew, sitting and standing, and I even like a full service (no triennial Torah reading for me). It takes me a long time to engage in prayer, I need shacharit as a warm up and musaf as a cool down.
    I am truly post-denominational, but I love my Conservative Synagogue, Beth El in Minneapolis.

  13. I would label you a CONSERVATIVE Jew, just as I would label myself that way. What you are doing mirrors most of my practices and I am very very comfortable calling myself Conservative.

  14. Here’s another shout-out for Reconstructionism. While I’m converting so I obviously don’t have a cultural background in Judaism, I have been drawn to the mix of modernity and tradition. I think there are a lot of Jews drawn to Reconstructionism who value the egalitarianism of modern practice but want to hold traditions dear. In contrast to the Reform shul in which I’ve attended services, the Reconstructionist one has nearly everyone covering his/her head and wearing tallit. The ratio of Hebrew to English is reversed. A lot of people seem to observe Shabbat in various ways, but the timing is not so much important as that it’s done.

    So, yes, Reconstructionism is where it’s at, in my humble opinion.

  15. Sara writes, “Why not just Reform? Just because you’re observant doesn’t mean you’re NOT Reform.”

    I had a similar thought when I read your piece the first time.

    Then I reread it.

    I agree that post-denominational describes what one isn’t and not what one is.

    Going back to what Sara said, the Reform movement was meant to give people the autonomy over their own Judaism. AND that autonomy ought to come from a place of knowledge. In other words, if one choses NOT to make monthly mikvah visits, the choice should come only after that same individual has learned about it and, I daresay, tried on the mitzvah instead of rejecting it outright.

    However, as many of us know, most of the folks in the Reform pews are there not because of any theological or philosophical allegiance. And that goes for the Conservative folks as well.

    How about “Jewish?” I mean, when people ask me to identify, and by people I mean non-Jews, I don’t qualify my Judaism. My answer is Jewish. I am Jewish. I am a Jewess. I am a Jewess who grew up in a Reform family where Shabbos and Biblical Kashrut (plus no mixing) was observed. And I could go on with my own rap sheet.

    I think that the way of the Movements is a paradigm that worked very well. In earlier generations.

    This was a great post and I look forward to ongoing conversation.

  16. Frume Sarah -

    You make a great point. It would be great if we would all go back to just calling ourselves Jewish, without qualifications, and then people could just shul shop to find the one that appeals to them according to the culture and the services there. (Or minyan shop if they’re not interested in joining a synagogue).

    There is a lot of overlap between denominations and a lot of differences within denominations. So instead of further fracturing it with more denominations, it would be great to drop the denominations and view it as a continuum of different practices, which is what it is now, anyway.

  17. Wow! I stepped away for part of the day and came back to this fantastic conversation.

    RE: Why not Reform? I agree that a good portion of my identity and the way I approach tradition would fall under Reform in THEORY. But in practice, many Reform synagogues do not have a Saturday morning service unless there’s a bar/bat mitzvah scheduled. I think it’s hard to build a truly connected community when the focus is on an individual (an individual child, I may add) rather than that child learning to part of an already existing and thriving community. As a family we really value being part of a Shabbat community (no bday parties on Saturdays, etc).

    In general I agree with many of you that just saying “Jewish” is the ideal, but for practical purposes, as well as plain old human ones, it makes sense to find others who want to observe the way you do.

    Loving this discussion! Thank you to everyone who has participated so far.

  18. Interesting…I didn’t know many Reform synagogues don’t have a Saturday morning service unless there is a bar or bat mitzvah. All of the Reform synagogues I have belonged to do have a service every Saturday morning.

    That being said, at least where I’m a member now, most of the “regulars” come on Friday nights and only a handful of us come regularly to services on Saturday mornings. So the community is found on Friday nights (as well as holidays, classes, etc.)

  19. I am not Jewish but I can understand where you are coming from Nina. Fitting religious tradition into the modern secular world is challenging. I am Greek Orthodox and I frequently “edit” certain traditions out of my life. Sometimes I feel a little guilty but other times I think that I am just being realistic about what I am prepared to practice. There are many aspects of my faith that I love but there are also some that I can do without. I don’t know if tailoring our faith to our lifestyles is really the right thing to do, but it works for me.

  20. Great post, but I think one of the main reasons that Jewish practice and affiliation has suffered is that the modern world takes the life cycle out of much of our modern life, something that was not the case in the past, so I had a slightly negative reaction to segmenting this movement by age. Wouldn’t we be just substituting one split — reform, conservative, and orthodox for another one, by age? While I can see a movement that focuses on those in the 20s and 30s, it rather takes away from the concept of a people, with a broad range of events, from birth to death, since most of these folk will have similar experiences — getting their careers going and starting families. The American Jewish experience is already like that. Most of us go to some sort of Hebrew School and then immediately quit after our bar mitzvah, because we aren’t taught that there is anything important to the faith after thirteen. Some of us get reacquainted in college or in our twenties, and this is either because of youthful searching or wanting to connect with a Jewish mate. Once that is accomplished, we leave again until we are married and our children are old enough where we start thinking about THEIR bar mitzvah, or we worry about their Jewish identity. Because of the segmentation, we rarely feel Judaism as an essential part of our lives. And then we rarely attend synagogue again until we are old, and we think of our mortality.

    This isn’t to say that your idea isn’t a great one, what exactly is being changed about the religious outlook of this movement, other than a demographic one? Is there some specific ideology or principle or theology that unifies this movement, other than they “hate going to synagogue?” And if so, why no try to energize everyone in the faith, from teenagers to the elderly?

    So basically, I agree with you, except for the fact that this is a movement of a new Generation. My 70 year old mother left the synagogue a long time ago for the same reasons.

  21. You’re a cafeteria Jew. No quite as alliterative as a Cafeteria Catholic.

  22. Tiffany (and Robyn)
    Hi! I guess I really don’t know enough about Reconstructionist Judaism. However, I should say (this is in reference to Tiffany’s comment) that I’m not at all interested in a wearing a tallis (or having my daughters wear one), or wearing a kippa. I don’t care if other women wear them, but it’s really not my thing, personally. I guess that’s part of my challenge in some Conservative shuls, too.

  23. My oh my where to begin and what to say. I am the boy that went to Ramah in California and Canada. I read Torah every year on YK from 1982 until last year and then I got bumped.

    In ’95 I was moments away from making aliyah and I am still surprised I didn’t. I walk among the Reform, the Conservative and the Orthodox. My friends are BT, FFB and confused.

    I worked for a short period of time at YULA and my kids to a Conservative day school.

    I feel like a bridge sometimes- is this scattered yes- but I have a 6.5 year old trying to get my attention. How can you type when she pulls on your lip he said.

    Back later when she isn’t yanking on my arms.

  24. Hey there Neil- I didn’t at all suggest segmenting by age. I simply stated that “the powers that be” are asking why people in their 20s and 30s aren’t joining synagogues.

  25. This actually aligns fairly well with the post I ran yesterday, Just Jewish (plug, plug!). In terms of Reformadox, or post-denominational, or Jewnitarian, my thought is: who cares? The important question is not what you should call yourself, but why you do what you do. Judaism doesn’t ask you give yourself a label, or adhere to certain expectations. Unlike believing in Jesus, for instance, Moses didn’t die for our sins. (He died for his own sins, really, of which there were many).

    Judaism is unconditionally welcoming. We don’t say that you must believe a certain way, or that there is one infallible person whose example you must follow. All people are welcome; provided that they want to be Jewish, that they’re committed to being Jewish, and that, regardless of how they choose to express that Judaism, they do it loudly and proudly. I admit that labels are important for defining our world, but Reformadox just sounds like you can’t make up your mind. I say, make up your mind, stick to your guns and be a Jew however you want to be one, but calling yourself just Jewish is a label enough.

  26. Hi Brad! I read your piece and enjoyed it as well as your comment here. As I said in one of the comments above, in theory it’s great to say “just Jewish,” but in practice it’s helpful to find others who practice the way you do. For example, when looking for other families who celebrate shabbat the way we do, my husband and I have had to really identify where we could find that community. Labels are a start to that . . . not the end, but for sure a starting point.

    We are all, of course, “just Jewish,” but that doesn’t help me know if there will be anything for my kid to eat other than pepperoni pizza and non-kosher hot dogs at the Jewish kid’s bday party my son is going to soon. See what I mean? One person’s Jewish can be quite different from another’s. I’m not talking right vs. wrong–just different.

  27. A recovering table-pounder

    Thought-provoking post, Nina! I really enjoyed it. If nothing else, the exercise of pondering a fitting label makes someone pause and evaluate their Judaic priorities and values — and actually reflect on what customs and practices resonate the most for them and their families. I agree with Nina that it seems easier to make connections if there’s some kind of way to easily identify yourself. At the same time, as a former day-schooler who existed for BBYO in high school, I appreciate that as I get older– move across the country, explore my career, start a family– I’m not locked into any label I may have had growing up as a benching table-pounder. As so many other commenters noted, it really is the beauty of Judaism that you can freely build your own untitled playlist — and your playlist may evolve organically as you move through different chapters of your life.

  28. Very interesting, and I totally agree that “post-denominational Jew” is not a term we should continue using. How much of this is geographical, do you think? Do the major cities with bigger Jewish populations fit into the more traditional molds of Reform, Conservative, Orthodox (sorry if I am missing any) or is this a national or even international issue?

  29. Nina! I’m so glad you tweeted this to me. Because I definitely missed it. I am so excited about your observations because I have been saying for a long time that the number of Jews who say they are “Just Jewish” is going to start overtaking everyone else.
    I must say, though, this post makes you sound like a Reconstructionist. Not so much because of what you do or do not do but because of how you went through a process to decide what your Jewish practice would look like.
    I’ll play this game, though, just because I think it’s fun.
    First, obviously, I’m a Reconstructionist rabbi. Okay.

    “More observant” things I do:
    Keep kosher
    Only drive to shul on Shabbat
    Don’t cook on Shabbat
    Visit the mikvah monthly
    Say brachot before I eat
    Say “HaShem” instead of “God”
    say superstitious things like “baruch HaShem” and “kein ayin hara”
    Wear tzitzit

    “less observant” things I do:
    Wear pants
    eat gelatin and mainstream cheese
    use electricity on Shabbat
    read Torah and lead prayers
    don’t daven three times a day
    wear tzitzit

    But I think more and more Jews are patching together their own “brand” of Judaism these days, and it makes me feel very hopeful.

    Thanks for your post, lady! You are fabulous.

  30. My Jewish life is not vastly different from yours (including addiction to Fishman’s Challah.) But I think you are missing the fundamental distinction between two kinds of Jews. Those who accept the REQUIREMENT (in Hebrew “the burden”) to follow Torah and Mitzvot, and those who want to re-write the Halachic Law to make it easier to follow. I belong to the first type. I try to follow as much as I can. No, I don’t follow it all, but I have not redefined the Halachic law. I am not saying: the Halachic law should now permit driving to shul on Shabbat. Nonetheless, between not driving and not davening in shul, I choose to break the former (and I still know that I am required to observe them both!)

    If you think about it, most (or maybe all) orthodox Jews break some Halachic law from time to time (perhaps even unintentionally). They are human beings, and human beings make mistake. So “all” in “all or none” is meaningless, if the yardstick is “doing”. Again, the key distinction is between those who accept the obligation, and those who want to re-write the obligation to make life easier for them. Lastly, Halachic law permits revisions; it’s an open book. But the rules of revision and the motivation for revisions require revision from within; revisions that fit the principles of the law. “Let’s allow driving to shul because I can’t get to shul from home otherwise” is reformadox.

  31. Eyal–actually I’m more with you. I have no interest in re-writing for convenience. Using Shabbat as an example, I fully acknowledge that driving breaks halacha, but, like you said, not driving there would keep us away from any Shabbat community. I wouldn’t expect to see the law change to accommodate me, but I guess I don’t feel bound enough by the law to walk the 8 miles in the snow. But yes, I’m still “reformadox” because while I am constantly learning about halacha and growing in it, I don’t see myself ever doing the full enchilada, so to say. ;)

  32. Actually, the distinction is not, as Eyal puts it, “between those who accept the obligation, and those who want to re-write the obligation to make life easier for them.”

    Rather, it is between those who believe halacha, which historically has changed over time, should be frozen where it was one or two hundred years ago, and those who believe it should continue to change over time to reflect our current understanding of the world and God’s will.

    It is not about personal convenience, and to say otherwise is insulting.

  33. I am a liberal CJ Rabbi (for 37 years) in a dual-affiliated shul. Friday nights (and Kol Nidre) we daven Reform, mornings we daven Conservative. Most of my people have little idea of the words they daven, never mind the theology of the respective movements. So what are we? Clueless? Dumb? Nope, we are 170 families who LOVE being together, and that’s good enough for me. Somehpw, we make it work, and we’re celebrating our 40th in April.

    As I like to say to them: the best thing about “your” seder, is that I’m not there to tell you what to do. I like that a lot!

    It keeps me hopping, I’ll say that, and I wish y’all (I’m from Atlanta, y’heah??) were ALL members of my shul, What a great time we would have…Nina, thanks for creating this wonderful community. Keep it up…
    Coming to Colorado Springs? Call me, we’ll have dinner…

  34. My 30s are long past but grew up as a child of religiously observant parents who wouldn’t identify themselves with any denomination. We attended a Conservative synagogue, but were among the few who didn’t drive on Shabbat. We had ties with Reform as well. I attended an “independent” day school where only a handful of classmates–no other girls as it happened– kept Shabbat. This severely limited my social possibilities. In high school I became Orthodox.

    There is value in raising children to appreciate diversity and non-conformity. There is also value in being part of a group where you know you belong.

  35. While I could say a lot about this myself (my own level of observance is continuing to evolve–no driving on Shabbos, but we turn lights on and off), I wanted to make one quick point about Reconstructionism. I grew up in a Reconstructionist shul, but became a Bar Mitzvah at a Conservative shul.

    From my understanding of Nina’s observance, I would certainly NOT call it Reconstuctionist. That is, in my opinion, much more of a revisionist (for lack of a better term, I hope it is not taken offensively) outlook than what I hear Nina espousing.

    With that said, I am also of the “label me not” crowd, and simply identify as being “Jewish”. However, from my reading of this, that is exactly what “post-denominationalism” or “Reformadox” is. Labelling the labelless. It is putting a label to the idea that movements are largely inadequate for the purpose of defining personal daily observances.

  36. I think that that people of all religions have customized their observances to suit them – probably since the beginning of time. You’re just being honest and upfront about it and that’s worth a great deal.
    In addition to the value of living a life that is true to who you are, your kids will hopefully get the benefit of not being confused about who’s rules you (or they) are trying to live up to.
    You are being a good example of living life freely and creatively; something that is sorely missing in many people’s lives, causing much unhappiness.
    You go girl!

  37. P.S.
    1) There should be more Rabbi Glazer’s in the world
    2) I think you should make a point of going to Colorado and meeting him and his congregation

  38. “Reform, Conservative Jewish Renewal, and Reconstructionist all under one trans-denominational roof!” That’s from our synagogue’s web-site http://www.shalompcs.com. So good news, Nina:

    Yes, Nina, there is a Reformadox!

    Well…almost. As you notice, we don’t include Orthodox in the mix. Early on I think a number of us wanted to. But we soon realized that there are boundaries to every community (or it isn’t a community). We could not include and exclude women from the minyan; could not have and not have a mechitza; could not welcome gay and lesbian families and members and not welcome them.

    That was a good lesson to learn. So now we practice what might be called “informed inclusion.” Everyone is welcome, but our community is founded on values that not everyone will be comfortable with. We’re OK with that. We have a three hour Shabbos service, and yet we daven in English as well as in Hebrew. We have a kosher kitchen, but there are Asian, African, and Latino Jews sitting around that table. We study traditional Jewish commentaries, and we also practice yoga and meditation.

    We’re been doing this for fourteen years. I know there are others out there as well. It’s an exciting time. Oh, and as for the label: We call our synagogue trans-denomonational. Trans, not post. We’re trying to be a bridge. I know: It doesn’t flow trippingly from the tongue. Maybe one day we’ll think of something better. But like you, we’re not interested in defining ourselves as post-anything. Come by if you’re ever in Westchester County, New York! (And visit as well at http://www.twitter.com/fourbreaths).

    All the best!

    Rabbi Mark Sameth

  39. Kudos! I very much identify the don’t-box-me-in sentiment. In fact, I feel like I’ve heard it before. The Baal Shem Tov was all about breaking down these artificial barriers and classifications. He reminded us that a Jew’s relationship with G-d is a real, live, messy, organic one. It’s a personal thing, not just a list of check-boxes. That’s why he faced so much opposition from the establishment. I’m a devotee of the Hassidic movement and I cringe whenever someone calls me Orthodox. I’m sure he would too. He used a term I like better than post-denominational or even Reformadox for those of us who don’t want to take part in these ideological rifts.

    Simple Jews.

  40. Shalom, Nina–

    Kol haKavod on all that you do Jewishly–don’t put a label on it, but (I would) just feel proud of it. It seems like you have infused your life with a great deal of halacha and Judaism and that your spiritual life has great meaning to you.
    I do have one question: Have you ever tried to be shomer shabbot? Obviously, this would be easier if you were within driving distance of a shul.
    Best of luck!!

  41. I like the way Reformadox implies reforming Orthodoxy. I think Halacha should be revised and modernized without disposing of it altogether. I think all the extensions and “fence-around”, medieval rabbinic laws should be reconsidered and perhaps dispensed with. Some Torah laws should be more literally interpreted. Especially with kashrut. Poultry should not be considered meat. Banning pork should be revisited if it is raised in a clean way. Gay sex is okay if you don’t dress up like women. Etcetera. I am in a Modern Orthodox shul, but many of the members would barely accept more change/progress.

  42. I am Reformadox, and love it – except that it’s a little lonely. I go to a Reform synagogue where very few men wear kippahs, let alone wrap teffilin, pray three times a day, keep kosher to any degree, have mezuzahs on all their doors, light Shabbat candles at the published time, etc. etc. (I do all of these things.)I am very comfortable with my approach to Judaism but, as I said it’s a little lonely.

  43. It is the opinion of this rabinical student that anal sex between men is forbidden. Dressing up like a woman has nothing to do with it, not sure where you got that.