Reforming Orthodox Judaism

Joe emails:

1. No second day of Yom Tov.

2. Davening should be shortened to just the shema, the shemonah esreh and the psalm of the day. The rest of the time alloted should be for communal and interactive torah study. Same with shabbat.

Reading to oneself approximately 30-50 psalms by rote is not workable anymore. I know of few orthodox men who view minyan as something more than a behavioral chore – it is fine if you also have time for study, but most do not.

A study of something that changes day to day is more productive,

3. Modify Davening to be much more user friendly. Making it shorter would help. Singing in unison works. The shabbat prayers should be more like the happy minyan and less like torah readers enunciating things so super clearly so they can impress their friends. There are certain yom kippur hymns that everyone gets into. That should be done everyday.

4. Make Talmud study compulsory for men, women and children beginning at age 8 and the rabbi should be involved in having the community study talmud together. It is the one thing that judaism has above all other religions. Your father’s analysis of forensic justification is not as complex as even the most straightforward of topics in the Talmud.

5. Allow women to wear loose fitting pants to synagogue.

6. Allow driving to Shul on shabbat for those who live far away and allow those who drive to participate in the service, provided they cannot lead torah reading or serve as cantor.

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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