Many people who are born into Jewish homes affiliate with one of these branches, but there are also those who do not. Merely believing in the precepts of Judaism is not enough to make someone a Jew.
Why Be Jewish? - Questions & Answers
They must complete the conversion process in order to be considered Jewish. The most stringent conversion process is accomplished in Orthodox Judaism and can be recognized by all sects of Judaism. Reform, Reconstructionist, and Conservative conversions may be recognized within their own branches of Judaism, but may not be acknowledged according to Orthodox standards or in the state of Israel.
Though the different branches of Judaism have varying requirements for conversion, it is safe to say that the conversion process is very meaningful for whoever decides to undertake it. Ultimately, to be Jewish is to be a member of a culture, a religion, and a peoplehood.
Being Jewish Today
For better or for worse, those are the clean slates from which we must begin. Square one. Why do you do what you do? What product or service — to use the language of the marketplace — does Judaism deliver for you? And how might Jewish institutions focus on it in a way that makes it appealing to the unconverted, trimming away the extraneous parts, while not diluting the authenticity of the core?
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Lots of Jews are not interested in the things affiliated Jews are interested in. If we have a desire to preserve or grow liberal Judaism, we might start by asking why that desire exists, rather than wringing our hands that not enough people share it yet.
‘You don’t have to be Jewish…’
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