The Reform movement is indeed in crisis of losing its youth “with the last hora of the bar/bat mitzvah party” (“Reform Meets Amid Challenges,” Dec. 23).
Rabbi Eric Yoffie characterizes Reform Judaism as “we’re not a halachic movement and we don’t profess to be … we live with this contradiction.” The younger generation will not see this “contradiction” as some sort of spiritual or philosophical koan. Rather, this position will reflect inconsistency, shortcomings in conviction, convenience and hypocrisy (such as lighting candles at the conference three hours after Shabbos has entered).
In a culture that is spinning so quickly out of control, why not offer a Judaism that delivers structure, meaning and a life direction and purpose? This is a unique opportunity for the Reform movement to redefine itself with a more organic and authentic synthesis. This might consist of operating within a halachic system, but one that offers some degree of openness and a moderate degree of flexibility.