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This profile was last updated on 1/1/99  and contains information from public web pages.

Mrs. Frances A. Hess

Wrong Frances A. Hess?


Local Address:  New York , United States
Temple Emanu-El

Board Memberships and Affiliations

Web References
Article Details, 1 Jan 1999 [cached]
Frances Hess, a trustee of New York's Temple Emanu-El, one of Reform's flagship institutions, declared: "I can quote someone who said, 'If this (the new platform) is going through, I'm joining a Unitarian church'...The principles are a drastic leaning back toward traditionalism.
Does Reform Judaism Need a New Platform?, 4 Aug 1999 [cached]
One notable example is Frances Hess, who is a trustee of Temple Emanu-El in New York City, probably the largest Reform congregation in the United States, with well over three thousand families.Mrs. Hess has been a Reform Jew for four generations.In fact, her grandfather attended the conference in Pittsburgh in 1885 when the first Reform Jewish platform was adopted.
That platform was radically anti-traditional.It proclaimed that we should abandon all Jewish laws that regulate diet and dress, meaning kashrut and the wearing of head coverings and prayer shawls.It went on to say that these practices originated in other types of environments that are altogether foreign to our present mental and spiritual state. The Pittsburgh Platform also stressed ethics over ritual and made social justice the centerpiece of Reform Jewish obligations.She claims that the anger is so great that she heard one individual say that if this document is passed, she is joining a Unitarian church.Hess herself calls the proposed principles a drastic leaning back toward traditionalism..
Mrs. Hess is also a member of the Board of Governors of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, our Reform rabbinical school.She mentioned that, at ordinations, she secretly cheers on the new rabbis who decide not to wear yarmulkes.She insists that there is dignity and meaning to the more classical (Reform approach) and not that the more tradition and ritual, the better..
At first, I could not really fathom the reasons for the hostility of many long-time Reform Jews to the proposed platform and to Rabbi Levy's photograph.This platform merely reflects a trend that is becoming increasingly strong even in formerly Classical Reform congregations, a trend that has proceeded seemingly without any outward opposition in recent years.I thought it had become a non-issue.In Temples where once yarmulkes were forbidden on the bimah or in the pews, now an increasing number of Reform rabbis wear them inside and outside of the Temple, and they are even provided at the door.
Where once chanting of Hebrew texts was banned in the Reform temple, in many congregations congregants are now chanting not only the Torah blessings, but also prayers like the Veahavta and the opening paragraphs of the Amidah.
In Memoriam: Frances A. ..., 20 May 2015 [cached]
In Memoriam: Frances A. Hess
In Memoriam: Frances A. Hess The leadership and staff of the World Union offer their sincerest condolences to the family of Frances A. Hess, whose sage wisdom guided the World Union for Progressive Judaism for decades. A long-time leader in North America, Fran also worked tirelessly on behalf of international Reform Judaism. Most recently, she served the Reform community as a member of the World Union for Progressive Judaism's North American Advisory Board and as a member of the Philanthropic Committee. In addition to her devotion to the World Union, Fran gave of her time to Congregation Emanu-El of the City of New York, the Women of Reform Judaism and the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion - where she served as Governor Emerita of the HUC-JIR Board of Governors. May Frances A. Hess's memory and good works be for a blessing and may her entire family be comforted amongst the mourners of Zion.
The World Union for Progressive Judaism | North American Council, 9 Jan 2014 [cached]
Frances A. Hess
The American Council For Judaism - Article Search, 1 Jan 1999 [cached]
Frances Hess, a trustee of New York's Temple Emanu-El, one of Reform's flagship institutions, declared: "I can quote someone who said, 'If this (the new platform) is going through, I'm joining a Unitarian church' ...
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