JEWISH

BELIEFS

These are some of our stances on modern religious issues,
with a desire for maximal freedom motivating each position.
Rabbis

 

Judaism had a meritocratic tradition among its scholars, with the most respected rabbis rising to the peak both religiously and academically. We have recently abandoned this to embrace a priestly model. This has meant that local communities and individuals have been forced to cede normal Jewish religious functions to larger religious bodies. These aspects of religion should return to individuals, outside of obligatory oversight.

Abortion

 

Even though Judaism permits abortion under very few circumstances, the government should not involve itself in the relevant distinctions. The couple having the child can decide what would be sufficiently threatening to the life of the mother to justify an abortion, and they can voluntarily involve as many family members, friends, doctors, and religious authorities as they choose.

Religious Texts

 

The availability of Jewish texts translated into multiple languages has granted an opportunity for a complete decentralization of learning. Individuals can prioritize their learning however they prefer, and this will ensure Judaism stays broad in its many facets. If individuals invest in owning texts that they value for personal study, we can eliminate communal control of learning materials.

Drugs

Wine is spoken of in Psalms as gladdening the human heart, and tradition deals with alcohol as a good when used in moderation and for the right purposes. Knowing that alcohol is often genuinely damaging to the body, a broader stance on other substances can be taken. If other drugs gladden the heart and cause damage equal to or less than alcohol does, it becomes very easy to permit their use and stop controlling their users.

Kosher Certification

 

Kosher means many different things to different people, but the current state of kosher certification helps no one. We need to free individuals to simply say what standards they use and trust those who prove themselves trustworthy. If a Jew goes by the strictest kosher standards, it ought not be my place to worry about their denomination or lack of one. We need to decentralize kashrus to allow individuals their own choices.

Mikvah Use

 

Private mikvahs should be allowed to assert their own standards, but we really must consider the repercussions of obligatory religious standards. Having mikvah use contingent on allowing a mikvah attendant in with the woman, no one but religious authoritarians are served. Women who want attendants should be allowed them, but no one should be forced out for not wanting an attendant to inspect every aspect of a religious act.

The Israeli Rabbinate

 

We must not allow anyone the authority that the Israeli Rabbinate has claimed in recent years. Through threat of refusal to acknowledge them as potential Israeli citizens, they have asserted complete control over deciding who is or is not a Jew. By asserting standards for conversion that are blatantly ahistorical and by expecting Jews to have maintained proper paperwork as we fled pogroms, Israel's rabbinate has overstepped.

Conversion

 

Conversion has become an immensely complicated issue in modern Judaism, but being open about information and meeting historical standards can solve the problem. The previous local nature of conversion meant that this was never the critical issue it has recently become. We must accept the traditional standard by which immersing with three knowledgeable male witnesses was sufficient and not cede more ground.