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Evolving Halakhah: A Progressive Approach to Traditional Jewish Law download epub

by Moshe Zemer


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Evolving Halakhah affirms the system of traditional Jewish law, halakhah, as a developing and moral structure

Evolving Halakhah affirms the system of traditional Jewish law, halakhah, as a developing and moral structure. Moshe Zemer's Evolving Halachah is indeed a late 20th landmark in liberal Jewish thought, for it is the first time a comprehensive philosophy of Jewish law has been in articulated in English. Zemer's position as Chairman of Israel's Reform Jewish Bet Din, or religious court, gives him the authority to speak on his subject.

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Read unlimited books and audiobooks on the web, iPad, iPhone and Android. The product of Zemer’s thirty-five years of work in the Israel Movement of Progressive Judaism, Evolving Halakhah includes chapters on matters ranging from personal status, especially marriage and conversion, through the political Halakhah of a response to the intifada. It shows that the traditional framework for understanding the Torah’s commandments can be the living heart of Jewish life for all Jews-including Reform, Reconstructionist, Conservative, and Modern Orthodox. Read on the Scribd mobile app.

Affirms the system of traditional Jewish law, Halakhah, as a developing and moral structure, flexible enough to accommodate the changing .

Affirms the system of traditional Jewish law, Halakhah, as a developing and moral structure, flexible enough to accommodate the changing realities of each generation. Shows that the traditional framework for understanding the Torahs commandments can be the living heart of Jewish life for all Jewsincluding Reform, Reconstructionist, Conservative, and Modern Orthodox.

Book Format: Choose an option. Innovative and provocative, Evolving Halakhah affirms the system of traditional Jewish law, Halakhah, as a developing and moral structure, flexible enough to accommodate the changing realities of each generation.

Bibliographic Citation. Woodstock, VT: Jewish Lights, 1999. Re-Examining Progressive Halakhah . Jacob, Walter and Zemer, Moshe (2002). Related Items in Google Scholar.

Evolving Halakhah: A Progressive Approach to Traditional Jewish Law, Moshe Zemer. Basic guide to Jewish observance and practice from a very traditional point of view. 10. The Jewish Religion: A Companion, Louis Jacobs. Liturgy/Home Practice. 1. Prayer Book (Siddur).

Innovative and provocative

Innovative and provocative. Affirms the system of traditional Jewish law, halakhah, as a developing and moral structure, flexible enough to accommodate the changing realities of each generation. Format Hardback 480 pages. Dimensions 15. x 24. x 4. mm 88. 2g. Publication date 30 May 2000. Publisher Jewish Lights Publishing. Publication City/Country Woodstock, United States.

A Progressive Approach to Traditional Jewish Law. by Moshe Zemer. Published March 2003 by Jewish Lights Publishing. Jewish law, Orthodox Judaism, In library, Reform Judaism, Controversial literature. There's no description for this book yet.

Moshe Zemer is one of the leading intellects of Progressive Judaism in Israel. There are, he notes, two fundamentally different approaches to the halakhah fighting for supremacy within Orthodoxy. One approach is what he labels "fundamentalist" or "objective. He has spent much of his professional career responding, in halakhic terms, to the decisions of the Orthodox rabbinate in Israel and producing a body of Progressive Israeli responsa. His book is largely a product of those efforts. This view holds that the halakhah has its own internal nature and content and so is self-sufficient and never to be influenced by outside conditions.

Evolving Halakhah affirms the system of traditional Jewish law, halakhah, as a developing and moral structure, flexible enough to accommodate the changing realities of each generation. In this accessible analysis of halakhah, Moshe Zemer issues a clarion call to follow the ancient and modern principles of evolving halakhah, which demands ethical deeds, the discovery of holiness in the Commandments, a critical approach to the Tradition, and responsibility of the entire Community of Israel. These principles are viewed as the framework in which the other commandments are applied.It shows that the traditional framework for understanding the Torah's commandments can be the living heart of Jewish life for all Jews - including Reform, Reconstructionist, Conservative, and Modern Orthodox.

Comments: (7)

JUST DO IT
Rabbi Zemer's Evolving Halakhah: A Progressive Approach to Traditional Jewish Law, takes a novel and I think very fruitful method and applies it to Jewish law. Rabbi Zemer is a progressive Rabbi in Israel (as the branch of Reform is called there) and is well versed in the vast literature of Halakhah, or Jewish law. As such, he does not simply play the Reform card by saying "Halakhah is no longer valid" and endorse a spiritual, cultural, or ethnic Judaism. Rather, he takes Halakhah on its own terms, using its very rules and precedents to show that in the past lenient, more humane rulings were far more common than today.

As an Israeli rabbi, much of Rabbi Zemer's book applies to Jews living in Israel, where such matters as marriage, divorce, and `who is a Jew' are handled by an established religious body. In America, things are much more fractured. Issues such as these come up, but are treated quietly within the confines of particular American communities and denominations. In a way, American Judaism is far more like the kind of Judaism that Zemer espouses: pluralistic, open to disagreement, fluid.

Perhaps the meta-conclusion that this books shows, but which Rabbi Zemer never quite spells out enough, is that more often than not Halakhah is decided based on political considerations. When all Jews were observant (and largely poor) rabbis tried to take a lenient approach for the sake of compassion. There was nothing riding on allowing a couple to marry, for instance, rather than the pain or suffering caused by their inability to marry due to mamzer, or illegitimate issues. Today, strictness in Halakhah has become a way for the Orthodox to both differentiate themselves from secular Jews, and from other Orthodox groups. Strictness becomes a way to prove one's Orthodox credentials and in some instances have gone so far as to become mannerist in appearance.

Rabbi Zemer offers a well-reasoned and detailed book on the rationale behind more liberal, humanistic halakhic decisions. As much as possible he tries to take the politics out of religious Jewish law, and place it on a more humane footing.
Zan
I found Evolving Halakhah to be a fascinating book. It covers everything fro converts to Judaism, to the peace process. Rabbi Moshe Zemer put a positive interpretation on Halakhah, enabling progressive jews to awake to the possibilities of jewish tradition. I strongly recommend it to anyone searching more about Halakhah.
monotronik
Interesting take on Jewish Laws.
TheFresh
I am reading this book with a group as part of a class at my Synagogue (Reform). We are reading slowly and discussing each page. Reading it with a knowledgeable group has added a great deal of meaning to the content. I think I would be missing much of the meaning and back story if reading this on my own. Our instructor is a Reform rabbi. Of course, I think if you are not a Reform Jew, you might find some of the arguments too liberal. Although I am not a Reform Jew by birth (raised "Conservadox"), I agree with the premise of the book that laws have to evolve and suit the times in which we live. Anything that does not grow with the times will become obsolete and out of step with humanity. Interesting arguments among the religious scholars in each age.
Atineda
Moshe Zemer's Evolving Halachah is indeed a late 20th landmark in liberal Jewish thought, for it is the first time a comprehensive philosophy of Jewish law has been in articulated in English. Zemer's position as Chairman of Israel's Reform Jewish Bet Din, or religious court, gives him the authority to speak on his subject. The book looks mostly at Halachah from the vantage point of Jewish issues in Israel, such as conversion, Sabbath observance, military service in the territories, women's rights in marriage, divorce and the synagogue; Jewish burial customs and issues; and many others.
However, the problem this writer sees with the work, is the nature of the author is up against. Solomon Freehof, the pioneering American Reform Halachist, compiled a series of Reform Responsa or letters of commentary on Jewish legal issues over the nearly five decades he was active in this field, and so has his successor, Rabbi Walter Jacobs. However, Freehof's vast compendium of published work is not once alluded by Zemer, and only 2 of his responsa are noted in the entire book, while the volumes Jacobs compiled are nowhere noted.
Further, the principle notion of Reform has always been accommodation to modernity, but the limits of that accommodation have never really been clearly articulated. From the earliest days of reform in Germany 200 years ago, convenience has played a large role in determining the Reform outlook, which is why for example the Reform movement has issued 4 major `platform statements' on theology and Jewish Practice in the last 130 years.
Zemer's biggest problem though is twofold: the ignorance of his Reform laity on the one hand, and the deeply embedded charisma of a clear, and charismatic Orthodox worldview on the other. Of his 11 proposed principles to govern halachic change, only one reminds the worshipper of God or would provide even the slightest incentive to practice, which is the inherent holiness of the mitzvoth. In the Orthodox realm, they have 13 principles of halachic change, fist articulated in the Talmud 1500 years ago, and part of the daily prayer service every day to this day.
This writer would say therefore, that while Zemer's book is an outstanding pioneering effort, it bites off more than it can chew, essentially arguing it's principles without an adequate philosophic grounding. However, while the grounding of this work is week, that doesn't mean none exists; merely that it must come from another quarter. In "Jewish History and Divine Providence(available here on Amazon.com)," I supply the rationale missing from Zemer's text: namely an argument which examines the relationship between Jewish law, Jewish history and it's actual practice, shows how the mitzvoth have actual effect in the real world, and how Jewish practice or the lack of it has influenced modern Jewish history.
With "Jewish History and Divine Providence" and "Evolving Halachah," the reader will have a complete praxis of liberal Judaism, one by which to live and practice, not avoid.
Xanzay
This book is about technical jewish laws. It is NOT about current affairs in Israel, which i was told it
was about. If you are interested in nitpicking do's and dont's and need to see someone's proof of the
downside of inflexible following of rules, this book may be for you.
Otherwise, though well written, i would say it was a waste of time.
Risky Strong Dromedary
WE ARE STUDYING THIS BOOK AT THE TEMPLE RIGHT NOW.IT IS EXACTLY WHAT I EXPECTED.
Evolving Halakhah: A Progressive Approach to Traditional Jewish Law download epub
Judaism
Author: Moshe Zemer
ISBN: 1580230024
Category: Religion & Spirituality
Subcategory: Judaism
Language: English
Publisher: Jewish Lights Pub (September 1999)
Pages: 480 pages