Saving Books from the Fire eJewishPhilanthropy, September 10, 2017 I recently was speaking with a prospective donor about our work of bringing rigorous and relevant Jewish study to all, irrespective of practice or affiliation, and enabling Jews of all perspectives to own the the texts and ideas of Jewish life. He is a thoughtful person, highly intellectual, and deeply … Read more

אותנטיות יהודיות ואנטישמיות

מאז ומתמיד הסתייגתי מזהות יהודית המבוססת בעיקרה על אנטישמיות. ממצאי הסקר שערך מכון המחקר פְּיוּ בשנת 2013 על יהדות ארצות הברית מילאו אותי, לפיכך, עצב עמוק – משום שזֵכר השואה אובחן שם כבסיס הזהות החשוב ביותר. 73% מיהודי ארצות הברית ציינו את הגורם הזה כ”רכיב מהותי במשמעות היהודיוּת” – שיעור גבוה משיעורם של מי שהעמידו … Read more

Hearts and Minds Wide Open: A Response to Avraham Burg’s Critique of Women of the Wall

(Haaretz, June 27, 2016) Joel Levy and Leon A. Morris In his thoughtful and challenging essay, Avraham Burg critiques the Women of the Wall as yet another example of a Judaism that is “the essence of idolatry.” (“What’s Truly Absurd About Women of the Wall,” June 17, 2016).  Many Israelis – and many non-Orthodox Diaspora … Read more

קצת פוטושופ והר הבית נמחק

From Haaretz ליאון אריה מוריס 21.04.2016 20:00 PDF of original article יעל, בתנו בת החמש, חזרה נרגשת מהגן עם הגדה לילדים שקיבלה שם, ומיהרה להראות לי אותה. ישבתי אתה ליד שולחן המטבח, מאושר מיכולתה לשיר את “הא לחמא עניא”, את “מה נשתנה” ואת “דיינו”. התענגתי על המיומנויות שלה, על ביטחונה ועל כל מה שלמדה בבית … Read more

Reform Judaism and the Challenge of our Time

Published originally in Haaretz November 5, 2015 By LEON MORRIS As the Reform movement gathered for its Biennial Convention in Orlando, Florida – its aliyat ha’regel of inspiration, study and celebration – it did so just one month after the Reconstructionist Rabbinical School implemented the very admissions policy that a younger generation of Reform Jews … Read more

Pragmatism versus the Talmudic Process in Reform Judaism: The Minyan as Case Study?

Introduction The minyan, the required quorum of ten adult Jews needed for public prayer, has constituted a core component of Jewish life throughout the millennia. In the context of communal worship, the minyan represents a microcosm of the entirety of the Jewish people, whose primary spiritual experiences are public and communal. the notion of the … Read more

The End of Liturgical Reform as We Know It: Creative Retrieval as a New Paradigm

Rabbi Leon A. Morris (originally published in CCAR, Summer, 2013) Prayer book reform was always one of the most significant and defining features of Reform Judaism in both Europe and America. While some reforms of the liturgy were driven by practical concerns, such as abbreviating the service or removing passages that were deemed to be inconsistent with … Read more

The Calves of Our Lips: The Inescapable Connections between Prayer and Sacrifice

Rabbi Leon A. Morris Published in the summer of 2013 in CCAR Journal: The Reform Jewish Quarterly. See here for a PDF of the article. The notion of sacrificial offerings was an anathema in the shaping of a modern Jewish life. Since the earliest days of Reform Judaism, those most ancient forms of divine service were … Read more