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July 10, 2015 10:30 am

Israeli Government to Form Jewish Denominations Roundtable

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The decision to create the special forum came after Israeli Religious Affairs Minister David Azoulay belittled Reform Judaism in a recent interview. Photo: Avi Ohayon/GPO.

The decision to create the special forum came after Israeli Religious Affairs Minister David Azoulay belittled Reform Judaism in a recent interview. Photo: Avi Ohayon/GPO.

JNS.org – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday told Cabinet Secretary Avichai Mandelblit to put together a special forum to discuss religious issues affecting the different streams of Judaism. The decision follows Religious Services Minister David Azoulay’s recent controversial remarks that he does not consider Reform Jews to be Jewish.

The forum will include representatives from all religious streams, from haredi through Conservative to Reform, and will be headed by Mandelblit and by Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky.

The forum “aims to facilitate an open dialogue between the denominations, and avoid actions and remarks that would undermine the fragile fabric of life formed between them,” a source in the Prime Minister’s Office said.

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Azoulay had told Army Radio, “A Reform Jew, from the moment he stops following Jewish law, I cannot say he is a Jew.” Netanyahu reprimanded Azoulay, saying he rejects the minister’s “hurtful remarks about Reform Judaism, which do not reflect the government’s position.”

“I have spoken with Minister Azoulay to remind him that Israel is the home of all Jews, and that as minister of religious services, he serves all Israelis,” Netanyahu said.

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  • Rambam, in his Hilchot Teshuvah, chapter 3, paragraph 8, teaches that:

    If any Jew denies that even ONE WORD of the Torah is Divinely revealed, then he or she is a heretic [apikuris].

    In the same paragraph, Rambam teaches that any Jew who denies the Oral Law* [Torah SheBeAl Peh] is also a heretic [apikuris].

    In paragraph 6 of the same chapter, Rambam teaches that a heretic [apikuris] has no place in the afterlife of the righteous, and will be punished eternally.

    What percentage of Reform Jews and Conservative Jews qualify for these categories?

    * NOTE: The Oral Law can be found in:
    The Mishnah, the Jerusalem Talmud, the Babylonian Talmud, the Minor Tractates of the Talmud, and ancient midrashim like: Pirkei DeRabbi Elizer, Mechilta, Tanna DeBei Eliyahu, Midrash Tanchuma, etc.

    • Tzvi

      Who cares? we live in a modern society. Being Jewish is more an ethnicity than a religion.

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