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Affirmations of the Liberal Jewish Fellowship

Adapted from "Affirmations of Liberal Judaism" by Rabbi John D. Rayner, z"l

To be a Jew is to inherit a religious and cultural tradition.


To be a practicing Jew is to accept with love and pride the duty to maintain and transmit that tradition.


To be a practicing Liberal Jew is to believe that tradition should be transmitted within the framework of modern thinking and morality. It is to live according to the prophetic ideal of doing justice, loving kindness, and walking humbly with God.


Liberal Judaism aspires to a Judaism that is always an active force for good. It respects tradition by preserving the values of our past while making them practicable in our modern world. It confronts the challenges of our time, welcomes gladly all advances in human knowledge, and responds constructively to changing circumstances. It values truth above tradition, sincerity above conformity, and human needs above legal technicalities. Liberal Judaism is the Judaism of the past in the process of becoming the Judaism of the future.


These are the affirmations of the Liberal Jewish Fellowship:


  1. Judaism: We affirm our commitment to the religious and cultural heritage of the Jewish people, which proclaims the sovereignty of the One God, and calls us to manifest God’s unity in our world. 

  2. God: We affirm God is One and indivisible, transcendent and immanent, all genders and no gender at all, the Creator and Sustainer of the universe, the Source of the Moral Law, the God of justice and compassion who demands justice and compassion of us.

  3. Human Beings: We affirm we are created in the Divine Image, endowed with free will, capable of both sublime goodness and terrible evil, mortal yet possessing an eternal soul, capable of entering into direct personal relationship with our Creator, and empowered, through repentance, to repair that relationship when it is broken.

  4. Human History: We affirm human history is a drama of progress and setback, triumph and tragedy, destined to culminate in a Messianic Age when all will worship the One God, good will vanquish evil, and the reign of freedom and justice, love and peace will be established permanently throughout the world.

  5. B’rit: We affirm the unique and everlasting covenant that developed between God and our Hebrew and Israelite ancestors, as well as the responsibility that devolves to us, their descendants, to be God’s witnesses and servants.

  6. The Jewish People: We affirm our commitment to the material and spiritual welfare of the Jewish People, bearer of the Jewish religious and cultural heritage, wherever it dwells. 

  7. Jewish History: We affirm our pride in our past: a unique record of survival and creativity, in many lands and diverse circumstances, deeply intertwined with all of human history, and integral to its ultimate culmination.

  8. Eretz HaQodesh: We affirm the importance of the Holy Land to our religious and cultural past, present, and future, as well as our commitment to justice and peace for all its inhabitants.

  9. Jewish Literature: We affirm our devotion to all great literary expressions of the Jewish spirit, both within and beyond our tradition, as inexhaustible sources of wisdom to which we constantly turn for guidance and inspiration.

  10. Torah: We affirm the continuing process of revelation and inspiration through which our people gains an ever-growing understanding of God’s will, as well as our role in fulfilling it.

  11. Mitzvah: We affirm all Jews are commanded to lead a life of exemplary ethical quality, to work for the betterment of human society, and to practice a devotional discipline of study, prayer, and observance.

  12. Education: We affirm our commitment to the formal and informal education of children and adults in Jewish history and literature, thought and practice, as the foundation of Jewish life and the precondition of its perpetuation from age to age.

  13. Jewish Ethics: We affirm the centrality of Judaism’s ethical values, which include reverence for life, respect for person and property, love of neighbor, practical kindness and charity, social justice and peace, the conservation of nature and the humane treatment of animals.

  14. The Jewish Home: We affirm our understanding of the Jewish home as a miniature sanctuary, chiefly defined by hospitality, filled with the beauty of holiness, in which the values and traditions of Judaism are exemplified, taught, and transmitted.

  15. The Synagogue: We affirm the Synagogue’s threefold function as a house of prayer, study, and fellowship, and its role as abiding successor to our ancestors’ Temples. 

  16. Prayer and Worship: We affirm the importance of Divine Service, through which we seek ever anew to experience God’s presence, to enter into dialogue with God, to draw spiritual sustenance, and to dedicate ourselves to our responsibilities.

  17. Jewish Liturgy: We affirm the importance of maintaining the contours of our inherited liturgy, as well as its use of the Hebrew language, even as we are resolved to say with our lips only what we believe in our hearts.

  18. Shabat: We affirm the centrality of the Sabbath, which we observe each week on the seventh day as a day of rest and joy, study and worship, through acts of cessation and celebration.

  19. Jewish Festivals: We affirm the importance of celebrating the Pilgrimage Festivals (Pesaḥ, Shavuot, Sukot, and Sh’mini Atzeret) and the Days of Awe (Yom HaZikaron, or Rosh HaShanah, and Yom Kipur), which we observe for progressive Judaism’s customary durations, and we encourage the exploration of the Jewish calendar’s range of minor holy days.

  20. Lifecycle Rites: We affirm the importance of appropriate acts of traditional ritual relating to birth, coming-of-age, marriage, and the consecration of a new home, as well as death and mourning.

  21. Jewish Diversity: We affirm with pride our kinship to a mixed multitude whose members have always included many races, ethnicities, nationalities, identities, and abilities, as well as many Judaisms, and we strive to nurture behaviors and observances that communicate our pride.

  22. Freedom of Conscience: We affirm the respect due all conscientious options available to our people as a result of the Emancipation of the Jews of Western Europe, and we stand in solidarity with all non-coercive expressions of our religious and cultural heritage.

  23. Wissenschaft des Judentums: We affirm the academic study of Judaism, including biblical criticism, as a source of continuing religious and cultural regeneration, and we seek to weave its discoveries into the fabric of our collective memory.

  24. Egalitarianism: We affirm the equal treatment of all genders and sexualities in every aspect of Jewish life, including descent, education, marriage, ritual life, congregational governance, and spiritual leadership, and we seek to transform any rite that compromises the dignity of any gender or sexuality.

  25. Personal Status: We affirm all good claims to Jewish identity, we welcome all sincere proselytes, and we seek to make conversion no more difficult than it needs to be.

  26. Prophetic Mission: We affirm the ethical emphasis of the Prophets: What God chiefly wants of us is right conduct and the establishment of a just society, and ritual observances are valuable insofar as they are means to these ends.

  27. Halakhah: We affirm the adaptability of Jewish Law to time and place, as well as our inherited responsibility to harmonize it with the social realities and ethical perceptions of the modern world. 

  28. Other Faiths: Committed though we are to Judaism, and profoundly convinced of its unsurpassed excellence, we affirm ultimate truth is mysterious and manifold, and compels us to engage in respectful dialogue with all religions, particularly among our fellow Abrahamic traditions, to promote mutual understanding and friendship, enrichment and the greater good.

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