Reform Judaism: Declaration of Principles: 1869 Philadelphia Conference
Reform Judaism sought to distance itself from the concept of a "Jewish Nation" or "Jewish People" as well as from traditional practices of orthodox Judaism. Early Reform Judaism asserted energetically in each country that its congregants were members of the nationality of that country and not of a Jewish people. In the USA, the Reform Temple of Charleston had stated in 1824: “This country is our Palestine, this city our Jerusalem, this House of G-d our Temple.”
The same attitude was evinced by the conference of German reform Jews in Frankfort in 1845, which eliminated the prayers for the restoration of the Jewish state, and in the Philadelphia conference resolutions of 1869. These stated:
1) The Messianic aim of Israel is not the restoration of the old Jewish state under a descendant of David, involving a second separation from the nations of the earth, but the union of all the children of G-d in the confession of the unity of G-d, so as to realize the unity of all rational creatures and their call to moral sanctification.
2) We look upon the destruction of the second Jewish commonwealth not as a punishment for the sinfulness of Israel, but as a result of the divine purpose revealed to Abraham, which, as has become ever clearer in the course of the world's history, consists in the dispersion of the Jews to all parts of the earth, for the realization of their high-priestly mission, to lead the nations to the true knowledge and worship of G-d.
7. Urgently as the cultivation of the Hebrew language, in which the treasures of divine revelation were given and the immortal remains of a literature that influences all civilized nations are preserved, must be always desired by us in fulfillment of a sacred duty, yet it has become unintelligible to the vast majority of our coreligionists; therefore, as is advisable under existing circumstances, it must give way in prayer to intelligible language, which prayer, if not understood, is a soulless form.
The last resolution is inexplicable, since it since to be an admission of hypocrisy within a declaration of principles. If Hebrew is to be abandoned, the surely its cultivation cannot be urgent, and if its cultivation is urgent, it is hard to understand why it should be abandoned.
The Pittsburgh platform of Reform Jews - 1885 *
The Columbus Platform of Reform Jews - 1937 *
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