Jewish Journal


February 22, 2011

Glenn Beck: Reform Judaism akin to ‘radicalized Islam’


No matter what you say about the Liberal Jewish theology, it couldn’t be as bad as what Glenn Beck said Tuesday. (Welcome back, old boy.) Speaking on his radio program, Beck said that Reform Judaism is “almost like ... radicalized Islam.”

Why? I’m missing the leaps of logic here, but Beck’s point was based on the premise that many Reform Jews are not spiritual. While it’s true that you can be a pretty good Reform Jew without believing God even exists, Beck’s comment is a bit dated. In fact, spirituality has been making a bit of a comeback in Reform Judaism.

Here’s what Beck said. Keep in mind that there are no “reformed” rabbis, not unless Beck is talking about the spiritual leader at Beit T’Shuvah, a reformed con man. Via Media Matters:

BECK: OK, you have to—hang on just a second. When you talk about rabbis, understand that most—most people who are not Jewish don’t understand that there are the Orthodox rabbis, and then there are the reformed rabbis. Reformed rabbis are generally political in nature. It’s almost like Islam, radicalized Islam in a way, to where it is just—radicalized Islam is less about religion than it is about politics. When you look at the reform Judaism, it is more about politics. I’m not saying that they’re the same on—

To be sure, Beck would not be the first person to say that there is a branch of Judaism in which politics is religion. Steven Windmueller, the dean of the L.A. campus of the primary Reform seminary, told me that years ago. But, for one thing, it’s not true that radical Islam is “less about religion than it is about politics”—it’s about using religion to manipulate politics. Reform Judaism, on the other hand, is religion; it’s just a different interpretation of the Jewish religion.

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