Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Judaism into the C of E?

David here, 

It seems to that my sister Hannah  has been thinking (always an interesting sign) about the possible reunification of Judaism and using the Church of England as a model (don't worry, she did ask me to post a response to these ideas)  : 
' the problem of a national state religion depends upon the culture you are in. I'll give my country, England, as an example; England has a national Church with Bishops in the Parliament, but we are hardly a theocracy like Iran. When Henry VIII created the Church of England and broke away from Rome there resulted about 100 years of war, strife and persecution on and off, back and forth between Catholicism and Protestantism . That was bad. But eventually the C of E became a giant moderated compromise of the different brands of Christianity (Catholic, Evangelical and Liberal) , because the English had had enough of extremist religion in the form of the Puritans of Cromwell. & of course, eventually, non Anglicans obtained tolerance and then political rights, Catholics got the vote and Jews re-entered the country after a decade of civil war in 1656. Today the Anglican or Episcopalian Church is seen as one of the most moderate brands of Christianity. Could not Judaism do the same? So, imagine if Sephardi, Orthodox, Conservative and Reform were all in one grouping .The problem with Israel is that Israel has surrendered the Rabbinicate to the worst excesses of Haredi Judaism- a distinct minority in Judaism. That is the problem, not religion per se.'
We can ignore the sweep of history here and also overlook the fact that the Anglican Church, precisely because it wields together numerous fractions into one body, often divisive fractions at that, it always seems somewhat incoherent & about to tear itself apart. 

But is she right or wrong? Should we put aside our various traditions for the sake of greater unity or just accept the current status quo of agree to disagree with our religious differences, but be united when it comes to defending the overall 'arch' of Judaism in respect to Israel, male circumcision, kosher slaughter and general Jewish welfare ?

I agree that SOME form of 'reformation' of the Israeli Rabbincate is required, but is this a step too far for Orthodoxy? Or is the idea of, say, restoring a Sanhedrin of  Orthodox, Reform, Conservative, Sephardi Rabbis & Sages too much to happen before the coming of Messiah? And to add to this, do we not have to wait until Messiah comes for a new Sanhedrin and then a new Temple in Jerusalem? Or should we at least seek to be more co-operative between Jewish traditions and denominations, even as we acknowledge in maturity our glaring theological differences?  


  1. Dominique Vasilkovsky30 July 2014 at 16:21

    Wishful thinking??

  2. Hi Dov,

    I was just 'pondering'. I wasnt sure if this had any merit, just 'thinking out aloud' re Achdus....

  3. Hi Dom,

    Perhaps it is, but it is at least worth Davening for ...

  4. "Moderate" [Scoffs contemptuously]

    If you want to find a good example of a moderate, I suggest you look for the dead armadillo lying on the yellow stripe in the middle of the highway.


  5. Good question. A subject of another post, perhaps. But I'm not going to tackle that right now.

  6. Carl,

    Very true in one way. I believe the conversation started with a discussion on how far/to what extent Israel should be religious or secular and if religious, who is controlling that religion, because in Israel each religion controls things like conversion, marriage, burials (right now in Israel, as far as the Jewish religion is concerned, it is Ultra Orthodox, whereas globally 'reform' Judaism is the larger, mostly in the US strangely enough, whereas Orthodoxy in the UK is about 2/3rds of the Jewish population). It's been going on for years.

  7. Esther,
    Well put and I agree with you.

  8. Interesting idea. It could work, but how much compromise would it take to get Haredi and Reform sitting together ?


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