Last month, I published an opinion article in these pages arguing that Reform Judaism’s theology contributes to the sociological factors that are weakening the Reform movement in our open, pluralistic society. In my February 25 article, “The Theological Roots of Reform Judaism’s Woes,” I wrote that contemporary Reform Judaism’s pluralistic theologies and focus on individual autonomy had made it difficult for Reform congregations to make demands upon their members. The result is that Reform laypeople are too often apathetic, and their synagogues are therefore unable to provide a vibrant shared religious experience.
These days, everyone seems to have something to say about what they think is wrong with Reform Judaism. We have heard that the Reform movement is, at best, in stasis and, at worst, facing a significant decline in its membership rolls. Some argue that Reform institutions are insufficiently nimble and overly bureaucratic. Others point to what they see as an underlying ideological or theological malaise, suggesting that Reform Judaism does not galvanize Reform Jews to acknowledge and act upon their covenantal obligations.