A Reform Jewess' response to David Azoulay
After reading that the Religious Services Minister David Azoulay called Reform Judaism “a disaster for the people of Israel,” I am more inspired to remain, and extremely proud to be, a converted Reform Jewish woman living in Israel. Azoulay’s discriminatory statement actually goes against the philosophies of Judaism and basic democratic principles of Israel.In a manner of speaking, and they certainly are hostile to select religious movements.
Last August I made aliya with my son from the United States. I converted to Judaism via the Reform movement, and I have not regretted my decision as of yet. My journey to becoming, being and remaining a Jewish woman has been an interesting one – and at times, even challenging. So far, it has been a 20-year journey, and it has not ended yet. Many participants in the global community see Israel as the only democratic country in the region. Now that I am living in Israel, I would like to still believe that I am living in a democratic country and not a theocracy.
One reason why I appreciate living in Israel is I humbly understand the struggles of the Jewish people. I admire the Jewish people for their culture, survival skills and their entrepreneurship. More importantly, I decided to live in Israel because I want to teach an important value to my son, one of the most important human values: the inalienable right to exist. As Jews, we all know what that means. I believe that this inalienable right to exist is also associated with, and directly linked to, all conversions, practices and movements of Judaism. The Chief Rabbinate should not state which practice of Judaism is better and which one is worse. The human race remains, and forever will be, diverse and complex; so too are the Jewish people.
[...] It is even more degrading to me, a converted Reform Jewish woman who has brought her own son to live in Israel, who will eventually become an IDF soldier and sacrifice three years of his life to serve and protect the State of Israel. It also means my son will protect the ultra-Orthodox communities of Israel, including Minister Azoulay and his family and members of the Chief Rabbinate and their families, from bombs and terrorist attacks. Where is the reciprocity? Please tell me, now, what does it mean to be a Jew? It is time to make all conversions accepted in the State of Israel, and change the current rabbinate’s antiquated control over the laws governing birth, marriage and death. We are not a theocracy. I want to live in a democracy with Jewish values, but I want to decide for myself which Jewish values will work for me and my son. I do not want to hear Mr. Azoulay’s uncivilized remarks about any movement of Judaism. It is apparent that he clearly does not have the kind of intellect I am looking for in a leader of unbiased religious and governmental policies. His comments are racist.
But how about that: a Reformer who's not hostile to the state of Israel, and whose son will serve in the army, something people like Azoulay may not have done. I never got the vibe his dislike of Reform/Conservative Judaism was based on whether they were anti-Israel or anything like that. Seemed more to me like he just thinks they're too open to special roles for women in religion and stuff like that. By being so nasty, he's only ensured there will be Reform adherents around the world who'll stick with the sect no matter what it's sentiments are towards Israel. He might've even ensured that those who are anti-Israel will continue that way, yet given how unrepentant Azoulay's been, that probably wouldn't even concern him. People like him have never embraced the values of altruism, and that's surely the biggest problem about Shas.