While adult education is experiencing a resurgence in the Reform, Conservative and Reconstructionist movements of Judaism, the author argues that adult education in Torah and Talmud cannot fully succeed in the non-Orthodox world if it operates on an unspoken assumption that the only reason to study Torah is to learn practical lessons from it about how to be a member of the Jewish community. While this is true in the Orthodox world, the author notes, in Liberal streams of Judaism it is possible to be a fully functioning member of the community, and even a community leader, without expertise in text study and Jewish law. Yet, the author contends, text study is vital for Jews, including non-Orthodox Jews -- not because of the need to know, but because of the need for meaning and for transformational religious experiences.
In Agenda: Jewish Education, ed. By Arthur Vernon, no. 12, Summer 1999, p. 22-25