Mizpah is a Reform Judaism congregation and a member of the Union for Reform Judaism. Throughout history, Jews have remained firmly rooted in Jewish tradition, even as we learned much from our encounters with other cultures. Nevertheless, since its earliest days, Reform Judaism has asserted that a Judaism frozen in time is an heirloom, not a living fountain. The great contribution of Reform Judaism is that it enables the Jewish people to introduce innovation while preserving tradition, to embrace diversity while asserting commonality, to affirm beliefs without rejecting those who doubt and to bring faith to sacred texts without sacrificing critical scholarship.
A Bohemian rabbi, Isaac Mayer Wise, introduced Reform Judaism to the United States in 1846. He brought with him a new Jewish orientation emerging in Central and Western Europe to Reform Judaism—that is, to introduce modifications to make Judaism relevant and meaningful in an emerging modern society. There were many shifts in thought and practice and even changes in the classical prayer book (Siddur). The early Reformers were the Jewish theological innovators of their generation.
Our Guiding Principles
- immersion in study (Torah), prayer (Avodah) and the performance of good deeds (gemilut chasadim);
- personal responsibility for religious choices based upon knowledge and commitment;
- a commitment to tikkun olam—the repair of the world in partnership with God—through acts of social justice;
- full equality of women and men in all aspects of synagogue leadership and religious life (the Reform movement ordained the first woman rabbi in 1972);
- welcoming all who wish to celebrate Jewish life—singles, families, LGBT Jews, interfaith couples, retirees and young adults;
- developing and maintaining close links with the State of Israel and its citizens.