Date: Tuesday, Dec. 5 (one session only)
Time: 7 – 9 p.m.
Enrollment: 12 min./45 max.
Explore how and why Judaism became multi-denominational. Until the late 1700s, there were no Jewish religious denominations. All Judaism was Orthodox. However, when Jews were emancipated from the ghetto, especially in Germany, Reform Judaism was born. It evolved in two phases: first, synagogue ritual was altered to make it more compatible with Western culture. Then, Reform leaders began to justify these changes by emphasizing Divine inspiration rather than Divine revelation. Though Reform originated in Germany, it reached its full flowering in the United States, when German Jews immigrated here in the mid-1800s and established Reform Temples throughout the country. While Reform Judaism continued to make headway in Germany into the late 1800s, a group of rabbis decided that Reform Judaism had gone too far (particularly at the infamous Treif Banquet, when non-Kosher seafood was featured at the dinner celebrating the first Reform Movement’s Hebrew Union College Rabbinical Ordination, in 1883). Thus was Conservative Judaism, originally called Positive Historical Judaism, created. It has the motto of “Tradition and Change.” The movement grew quickly and moved to America soon after its creation. Both Reform and Conservative Judaism thrived in America. Rabbi Stahl will open the course with a presentation on Reform Judaism, and Rabbi Abraham will follow with an exploration of Conservative Judaism. Then both will participate in a panel inviting class
Rabbi Samuel M. Stahl became Rabbi Emeritus of Temple Beth-El in San Antonio in 2002 after 26 years as the Temple’s Senior Rabbi. He is the author of Making the Timeless Timely: Thoughts and Reflections of a Contemporary Reform Rabbi and Boundaries, Not Barriers: Some Uniquely Jewish Perspectives on Life.
Rabbi Jeffrey Abraham joined Congregation Agudas Achim as Senior Rabbi in July 2014. He was ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary and received a Master’s in Jewish Education as well as double Bachelor’s degrees in Jewish Studies and Hebrew Letters.
He is a Professional Affiliate with the Jewish Outreach Institute, reaching out to interfaith families.