Phony Baloney Judaism?

I’ve never been to Ikar.

I fear that if I go, I will love it.

I hear the music’s great and almost all the prayers are sung and the services are like snorting cocaine, only the high is more intense.

I hear the talk from the bima is largely about social justice which reminds me of a bon mot from a professor at Hebrew Union College in the 1930s: "There are two types of Reform Jews: Those who believe that Judaism is social justice and those who can read Hebrew."

I know Ikar is Conservative but the phrase still fits.

Would any shul that seriously studies Torah (say, a daf yomi class) ever put anything on its website as hyperbolic as Ikar’s offering?

We believe that serious, passionate, and authentic engagement with Torah is an enduring response to the deepest cry of the human heart.

We believe that prayer and learning in a kehillah kedoshah, a holy community, can be soulful, inspiring, and profoundly impactful.

Only people who don’t learn write like that, just as the only people who call themselves "proud Jews" are ignorant Jews.

I guess I got up on the wrong side of the floor this morning.

(The only reason I don’t sleep in a bed is that I’m mourning the destruction of the Temple.)

About Luke Ford

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