The Society for Classical Reform Judaism advocates for the progressive spiritual values and worship traditions of our Reform heritage as creative resources for contemporary Jewish life.
- We promote opportunities for meaningful and accessible worship, primarily in the language of our own time and place.
- We demonstrate our religious commitment in ethical action inspired by the Biblical Prophets.
- We affirm the American experience and its ideals as central to our Jewish identity.
- We extend a warm welcome and unconditional support for interfaith families and all spiritual seekers.
- We understand Judaism to be foremost a religious/spiritual commitment rather than an ethnic identity.
Classical Reform Judaism: A Concise Profile
Rabbi Howard A. Berman
Executive Director, Society for Classical Reform Judaism
Like all religious groups, today’s Reform Judaism embraces a broad spectrum of interpretation, belief, and practice. A diverse range of philosophies and worship styles are reflected in this spectrum, appropriate to a liberal religious movement that affirms individual and congregational freedom and autonomy. “Mainstream” Reform in contemporary America, reflects the widespread embrace of traditional Jewish ritual and observance that has characterized the movement’s theological perspectives, liturgies, and approach to observance over the past forty years. These trends are primarily reflected in the 1975 Prayer Book of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, Gates of Prayer, and, to an even greater extent in its new liturgy, Mishkan T’filah.
The Pittsburgh Platform
The Pioneering Statement of Classical Reform Judaism in America
In November of 1885, the leading Reform rabbis in the United States convened at Temple Rodef Sholom in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to ratify a formal statement of the beliefs of American Reform Judaism. This eloquent and inspiring document became the foundation for the Classical Reform tradition, and remains an important source for our interpretation of our faith.