Back to the Yarmulke...

In a radical decision, Reform Jews embrace some religious rituals that were once shunned as archaic

They have been debating, avidly, for two years, and when their leaders gathered in Pittsburgh, Pa., to settle the matter, discussion dragged on for an unscheduled half a day. But at noon last Wednesday, the domed sanctuary of Pittsburgh's historic Rodef Shalom Congregation rang with cheers. By a vote of 324 to 68, the leadership of the 1.5 million-member Reform movement, the most liberal of American Judaism's three big branches, accepted the inevitability of the yarmulke.

That is a bit of an oversimplification, but American Reform had long defined itself by its distance from what the skullcap represented. Its founders in...

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