Thursday, November 22, 2012
Orthodox Jewish conversion?
This was sent to me in a email; any thoughts?
"The Orthodox Movement (Union) was founded in 1898. Their claim to being the only authentic version of Judaism simply isn't correct. Due to the Haskalah (Enlightenment) movement of the late 1800's a group of rabbis began the Orthodox Union and claimed themselves to be the only way to be a Jew. The vast majority of Jews then and now reject their claim. Conversion through the other movements is not accepted by them but it is by about 90% of other Jews worldwide -- its religious politics. Prior to 1898 there was only Karaite and Rabbinic Judaism. The Reform Movement (of the the World Union for Progressive Judaism) was formed only a few years after the Orthodox because they were offended at the Orthodox claims of holding a Jewish monopoly. The majority of Jews today worldwide are Reform, second is Conservative, a distant third is Orthodox -- even though they hold greater sway in the Jewish community on matters of Law (especially in Israel). Traditionally and historically (and according to the Shulchan Aruch) one is a Jew if three rabbis form a beit din and make that determination, one is circumcised (if male) and emerges from the mikvah regardless of affiliation with any movement. The Orthodox then can dictate who they accept into their fellowships but not who is Jewish and who is not. To deny the authority of other rabbinim is not right.
The sages of Israel have always taught that every Jew was personally present at Sinai and entered into the Covenant then and for all times. One can not therefore actually "convert" into Judaism. One can only gain acceptance by other Jews as a Jew. If one was not present at Sinai to accept Torah initially, one is not a Jew -- even if one is a high ranking Haredi Rebbe. IF you (and I) are to ever "become" truly Jewish you (and I) already are according to the Jewish scholars throughout history. You (we) are simply not recognized yet by our fellows. The Orthodox can accept or reject anyone they wish into their movement, but a Jew is a Jew is a Jew. This is an ancient and well established Jewish dogma."