Pittsburgh Platform

Pittsburgh Platform

The Pittsburgh Platform is a pivotal 19th century document in the history of the American Reform Movement in Judaism that called for Jews to adopt a modern approach to the practice of their faith. The Union of American Hebrew Congregations (UAHC) adopted it in 1885.

This founding document of what has come to be called "Classical Reform" ideology was the culmination of a meeting of Reform rabbis from November 16-19, 1885. It explicitly called for a rejection of those laws which have a ritual, rather than moral, basis. An example of a ritual rejected by the Pittsburgh Platform is "kashrut", or the observance of Jewish dietary laws. These ritual laws were seen as detracting from Jewish life in the modern era by placing undue emphasis on ritual, rather than ethical considerations.

Instead of a "nation", the Pittsburgh Platform envisioned Jews as a "religious community" within a nation. For this reason, there was an explicit rejection of Zionism, which was viewed as unnecessary because American Jews were at home in America. The Pittsburgh Platform also calls for a recognition of the inherent worth of Christianity and Islam, although it still held that Judaism was the "highest conception of the God-idea."

The Pittsburgh Platform helped shape the future of American Reform Judaism by calling for American Jews to engage in acts of social justice. Today this principle is adopted by the Reform Movement among others through their commitment to "Tikkun Olam" (the repair of the world).

There were many early leaders of the "Classical Reform" ideology, including Rabbi Kaufmann Kohler, Isaac Mayer Wise, and David Marx.

External links

* [http://ccarnet.org/Articles/index.cfm?id=39&pge_id=1606 Text of the Pittsburgh Platform]


* Marylynne Pitz (2007). [http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07284/824582-85.stm "Pittsburgh Post-Gazette": Reform Judaism made its mark here: Historical marker unveiled on North Side to celebrate 1885 Pittsburgh Platform] . Retrieved October 11, 2007.

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