Volume 5, Number 1, May 2009

The Journal of The Academy for Jewish Religion


This issue of the Journal is divided into two parts, each of which includes essays of new ideas and insights.
In the first part, David Greenstein shares with us his thoughts on reexamining Jewish marriage with an emphasis on equality of the sexes. Ellis Rivkin, who predicted the dissolution of the Soviet Union long before it happened, affirms the authenticity of all previous forms of Judaism and how it impacts on today’s Judaism. I look into the two different views of lighting the Sabbath candles.
The second part of our Journal is devoted to a symposium on the future of the different branches of Judaism. Herein lies a great difficulty ‘ a problem of sorts. Kol hathaloth qashot (all beginnings are difficult). Although we invited Rabbis from the different branches of Judaism ‘ Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist and Renewal ‘ to participate, you will note the absence of certain of those voices.

Our questionnaire contained the following:

  1. Do you currently identify with a particular denomination or movement? If so, which one?
  2. What do you think are the positives and/or negatives of identification with a movement?
  3. How would you describe the future of the current movements?
  4. What challenges or changes do you foresee?
  5. What are the realities and what are the possibilities of interactions among the different Jewish branches currently? In the future?
  6. What are and what will be the effects of pluralistic developments?
  7. Do you think new movements will develop?
  8. Is the denominational structure of North American Jewry meaningful abroad’in Israel or in other communities?

It is interesting to see the responses of Menachem Creditor (Conservative), Leonard Kravitz (Reform), Noam Marans (Conservative), Stephen Pearce (Reform), Robert Seltzer (Reform), Rav Soloff (Reform), Gilbert Rosenthal (Conservative), and Martin Rozenberg (Reform). The essays are brilliant, insightful and provide ample food for thought. Jerome Chanes (Orthodox) was kind enough, in a most skillful way, to respond to the essays.
Now it is for us, as Hillel put it, to go and study.

Editorial Board


Equality and Sanctity: Rethinking Jewish Marriage in Theory and in Ceremony
David Greenstein
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Lessons From the Past: Mutation As a Mode of Jewish Survivals
Ellis Rivkin
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How Are the Sabbath Candles to Be Lit?
Bernard Zlotowitz
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S Y M P O S I U M:
The Future of the Different Movements in Judaism

Conservative Judaism and Denominationalism
Menachem Creditor
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Reform Means Change
Leonard Kravitz
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Denominationalism and Its Discontents
Noam E. Marans
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Denominations in a Pluralistic World – Where We Are Headed
Stephen S. Pearce
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Prophecy and Predictions
Gilbert S. Rosenthal
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The Realistic Challenges Confronting the Liberal Jew
Martin Rozenberg
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Toward a Post-Ideological, and Therefore a Post-Denominational Liberal Judaism?
Robert M. Seltzer
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The Fifth Mutation
Rav Soloff
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S Y M P O S I U M ‘ ‘ R E S P O N S E

Denomination, Post-Denomination, Trans-Denomination: Whither, Indeed, American Jewish Movements?
Jerome Chanes
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Norman E. Tutorow: The Autobiography of Jesus: As Told to the Centurion Cornelius Nepos IV, A Tale of Everyman,
Reviewed by Martin S. Rozenberg

Bernard Avishai: The Hebrew Republic: How Secular Democracy and Global Enterprise Will Bring Israel Peace at Last,
Reviewed by Paul Kushner

Edward Kritzler: Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean
Reviewed by Harry A. Ezratty

Read book reviews (PDF)