Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Bar Ilan's Religious Zionism Conference: Proof of the Problem

Monday, I attended the Bar Ilan Conference on the Future of Religious Zionism. It was convened in response to a year that was filled with intra-mural crises in the 'sector' (the מגזר, as the Israelis say). The room was packed. The debate was heated. Indeed, there was more heat shed than light.

The first session, which I attended in full, addressed the charges made by R. Yehoshua Shapira of Yeshiva Ramat Gan, that there were irredentist elements within the Religious Zionist camp that are fomenting 'Neo-Reform.' [R. Shapira later claimed that his remarks were distorted, but I didn't see much difference between them and that which he said at the conference.]

R. Shapira reiterated his charges. He singled out a number of developments for excoriation: 1) The writings of Rivka Lubitsch, who has made a number of aggressive solutions for resolution of the plight of Agunot (see here, here and here.) were deemed a rebellion against rabbinic authority. 2) He excoriated the acceptance of gays in the religious community. 3) He condemned both delay of child raising by young couples and 4) the bearing of children by single women who have not found a mate. 5) He declared the Shira Hadasha congregation in Jerusalem to be outside the pale of Orthodoxy.

In order to back his claims that these phenomena are incipiently Reform, he quoted the Wikipedia (sic!)article on Reform Judaism.

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