Tuesday, December 11, 2007

"God"or "G-d"? A responsum

Here is an interesting responsum by Reform Rabbi Solomon B. Freehof on the question of writing the word "God" with a dash ("G-d")1.

Reform responsa, you say?

From the abstract of Joan Susan Friedman's dissertation "Solomon B. Freehof, the 'reform responsa', and the shaping of American Reform Judaism":

Between the world wars, the influx of East Europeans into the Reform rabbinate and the decline of historicism led the CCAR to view ritual in a more positive light and to reopen the question of standards of Reform observance. Solomon Freehof was chosen to address this issue. Though ideologically a classical Reformer, he was the logical choice due to his expertise in halakha acquired as Jacob Lauterbach's protégé, his wartime service as chairman of the Jewish military chaplaincy's Responsa Committee, and his personal stature in the movement. In the 1940's Freehof developed a taxonomy of Reform Jewish practice whereby only personal status and liturgical matters were to be decided authoritatively by the CCAR, while in all other areas of practice, popular creativity or “minhag” was determinative, subject to loose rabbinic oversight guided by the “ethical spirit” of the halakha.

See also this post.

1 The responsum is undated, but it is from a collection from 1963 called "Recent Reform Responsa."

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