Viewing entries tagged
Reform Jews

A connection between New Jersey and Wroclaw

"Ordination in Wroclaw," an article in the Jewish Standard on September 19, 2014, caught my eye because it is about Wroclaw, formerly Breslau, which was my father's childhood home.

Two Ridgewood, NJ-based rabbis, Dr. David J Fine and Rabbi Daniel Friedlander, went to Wroclaw to celebrate the ordination of Reform and Progressive rabbinical students from Potsdam's Abraham Geiger College.

From the article:

The influential German theologian Rabbi Abraham Geiger proposed such a relationship between the Reform movement and the University of Potsdam . . . before World War II.

Wroclaw – Breslau – has been traded between Austria, Poland and Germany for centuries. It had been part of Germany from the 19th century until the end of World War II, and with Berlin and Frankfurt one of that country’s main cities. “According to some historians, the loss of Breslau was even more traumatic to Germany than the partition into East and West. It was the equivalent of what losing Chicago would be to us.” 

Breslau was a cosmopolitan hub, “the meeting point of so many cultures and nations.”

It has one of the most beautiful central squares in Eastern Europe.

It was where Abraham Geiger lived for most of his life, and where the first liberal seminary in Europe opened in 1874.

The space in Wroclaw where the seminary once stood is now a parking lot, marked just by a plaque. “There are a lot of places in Europe where there is an empty space on a block. Most of those places once were filled by buildings there were bombed to rubble. “It is very poignant. It was such an important place.”

Reform Jews in America

After the Pew Center's 2013 study of American Jewry, the Times of Israel published an interesting fact sheet about Reform Jews in America. I underwent a Reform conversion before my Orthodox conversion, and my husband is Jewish, so numbers about intermarriage and conversion tend to interest me. Here are some points I wanted to share:

One in three American Jews identifies as Reform; the movement constitutes America’s largest Jewish religious denomination.

Half of all married Reform Jews have non-Jewish spouses. The movement has moved away from discouraging intermarriage and has focused instead on welcoming intermarried families.

Every year, at least 800-900 people undergo Reform conversions to Judaism.

9 percent of all Reform Jews were raised as non-Jews.

About 10,000 campers attend the Reform movement’s 15 summer camps!

About half of new Reform rabbis are women! The gender breakdown of newly ordained Reform rabbis is about 50-50 these days, according to HUC. 

Read the article in the Times of Israel here: