Are Liberals Open-Minded?

Dennis Prager writes:

I can personally attest to the closed-mindedness among Jewish liberals. Despite having written two best-selling Jewish books and hundreds of articles on Jewish issues, and having lectured to virtually every major Jewish organization in North America for 35 years, and despite the fact that I have been an active member of a Reform synagogue for 20 years, I am almost never invited to speak at a Reform synagogue. I don’t take it personally — it isn’t personal. The Reform movement is essentially closed to politically conservative speakers even if, as in my case, they would be happy to speak only on Judaism. There is every reason to believe that far more Reform temples would invite a fervent Muslim speaker before a fervent conservative Jewish one.

Another example: Last year I was invited to be the speaker at the annual banquet of a Jewish day school in liberal Northern California. I have a 30-year record of raising funds for Jewish day schools and persuading Jewish parents to send their children to day schools. Nevertheless, the invitation was rescinded because some liberal members of the school’s board would not allow a prominent Jew who was known to be a conservative to speak — even though the entire talk would have been about supporting Jewish day schools. They actually threatened to withdraw financial support from the school unless the invitation was rescinded. Their view is that only liberals can speak at that school, just as only liberals can speak at almost any Reform synagogue. Open-minded?

Contrast this with the fact that two years ago, the Orthodox Union invited me, a non-Orthodox Jew, to address its annual West Coast convention. That would have been impressive enough. But far more impressive was the subject I was asked to speak on: “Why I am not Orthodox.”

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been noted in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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