A reader asked me recently, “Which mitzvot do Reform Jews observe?”
My answer (this was on Twitter, so I had to be brief), “Like all Jews, some observe many mitzvot and some do not.”
I’ve noticed that we have interesting fantasies about our fellow Jews. Reform Jews fantasize that all Orthodox Jews (“the Orthodox”) observe all 613 mitzvot meticulously. Some do, to the best of their ability, which is to say that they do so imperfectly but with the intention of keeping them all: kosher home, kosher lifestyle, kosher family, a seamless way of life. Others identify as Orthodox, but in practice they live a much less observant life. I have met Jews who identified as Orthodox but who were not observant at all: they eat pepperoni pizza except when they think a rabbi is looking.
Correspondingly, there are Orthodox Jews who have fantasies about Reform Jews: we eat cheeseburgers with abandon, intermarry like crazy, and spend Shabbat…
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