IRAC by the Numbers

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In a recent post, I asserted that IRAC — the Israel Religious Action Center, affiliated with the Reform movement — was spending its money fighting Orthodox Judaism, and failing to provide a full and truthful disclosure of its activities to its donor base in the United States.

IRAC says that it was founded “with the goals of advancing pluralism in Israeli society and defending the freedoms of conscience, faith, and religion.” Examine their issue papers, whether about marriage, conversion, or burial, and one comes away with the impression that their only concern is to provide Reform alternatives to Halacha. On a page entitled “Highlights of Achievements,” one can read about “IRAC’s 22 Major Achievements in 22 Years.” On this page, there seems to be balance: the word “Orthodox” is found nine times (excluding two occurrences of “non-Orthodox”), while “Reform” and “non-Orthodox” are found eight times. In one case, “Orthodox” is even used positively, in a case in which IRAC defended a Sabbath-observant man with regards to his employment.

Turn to their news, however, and you’ll get an entirely different story — or, rather, a collection of stories, nearly all of which talk about Orthodox Rabbis and/or Orthodox Jews, and nearly all of which express negativity, if not outright derision. Articles about Reform, even adding a collection of one-sided portrayals of the “Women of the Wall,” are vastly outnumbered by articles about their opposition to voluntary gender separation on buses, demonstrations against Orthodox Rabbis, interference with Charedi education and unsavory comparisons between Rabbis and Imams.

Under Legal Work, IRAC acknowledges a change in focus:

Originally initiated to win recognition and gain equal government funding for Reform & Conservative Judaism, IRAC’s legal department has since become experts on the issue of fair distribution of government funds for other minority groups as well as combating corruption. Other core issues include fighting racism, with special attention paid to the racist speech of state rabbis.

What they mean by “state rabbis” is any Rabbi in any part of the national, Army or any local rabbinate — all of whom are Orthodox. So without saying so, IRAC has singled out Orthodox rabbis for special attention.

Is that what Reform Judaism is supposed to support?

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4 Responses

  1. Jon Baker says:

    Don’t forget, the director of the IRAC, Anat Hoffman, is also the chairperson of the Women of the Wall.

  2. Yaakov Menken says:

    That’s hardly a surprise — according to IRAC, the Chumash is racist. Chosen people, anyone?

    Israel recognizes most any religion that applies — Catholics, Greek Orthodox, and assorted Protestant denominations are all recognized separately. If Reform would apply for separate recognition, they would get it — but they know that secular Israelis may never go to shul, but the shul they never go to is Orthodox.

    So instead of being honest, they try to coerce the Rabbinate to change the definition of Judaism. Let’s put people who know nothing about, nor care about, things like the Laws of Niddah, in charge of the Mikvah. What a brilliant idea!

  3. rejewvenator says:

    Reb Yaakov, they’ve singled out all state rabbis who use racist speech. If those rabbis don’t like being targeted, they should stop using racist speech, not stop being Orthodox… that all state rabbis are Orthodox is a separate problem IRAC tries to fix, too.

  4. Bob Miller says:

    They are part of the modern liberal religion, with all that carries with it.