Religion: Reforming Reform

One steaming July day in 1873, representatives of some 30 Jewish congregations met in Cincinnati to make a historic break with Orthodox Judaism. They formed themselves into a society to be known as the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, dedicated, as they saw it, to a newer, more contemporary vision of the Jewish faith. In Manhattan last week, U.S. Reform Judaism celebrated the 80th anniversary of this birthday.* More than 3,000 delegates from 465 Reform temples were on hand; the five-day conference of U.A.H.C. was the largest Jewish religious gathering in U.S. history.

The assembled rabbis and laymen had more than...

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