Liberal Judaism

Estimates indicate 13.5 million – 14.2 million Jews in the world. Roughly 40% thereof are Progressive (Liberal, Reform or Reconstructionist), creating the largest segment. 20% belong to the Conservative segment. The two groupings are closely related.

More than 1.7 million of the Progressive Jews are members of the more than 1,200 congregations forming the World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ). These congregations are located in 42 countries. In Germany some 20  liberal congregations are member of WUPJ – one of them Beth Shalom Munich.

Key beliefs

  • The revelation of God’s existence and will—expressed by Moses’ receiving the Torah—was not a one-time act. Rather, this revelation has been conveyed and better understood through the study and contemplation undertaken during our 5000 years of our history. These revelations were written down in the Talmud and rabbinical literature.
  • Services are held in both Hebrew and in the congregation’s daily language.
  • No distinctions are made between men and women. No preferences are expressed for family situations or sexual orientation.
  • There is an implicit endorsement of the central ideals of civilization: prevention of and liberation from tyranny in all its forms, democracy, social justice, and openness to other religions and ways of life.
  • Prayers are not formalistic parts of the liturgy. They are, rather, heartfelt expressions of beliefs and aspirations. This insistence on looking at prayers’ messages has led to the ridding from the liturgy of those no longer relevant to the synagogue-goers’ lives.