Conservative Judaism

Conservative Judaism

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Conservative Judaism is a modern stream
Jewish denominations
Jewish religious movements , sometimes called "denominations" or "branches", include different groups which have developed among Jews from ancient times and especially in the modern era among Ashkenazi Jews living in anglophone countries...

 of Judaism
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

 that arose out of intellectual currents in Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 in the mid-19th century and took institutional form in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 in the early 1900s.
Conservative Judaism has its roots in the school of thought known as Positive-Historical Judaism, developed in 1850s Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 as a reaction to the more liberal religious positions taken by Reform Judaism
Reform Judaism
Reform Judaism refers to various beliefs, practices and organizations associated with the Reform Jewish movement in North America, the United Kingdom and elsewhere. In general, it maintains that Judaism and Jewish traditions should be modernized and should be compatible with participation in the...

. The term conservative was meant to signify that Jews should attempt to conserve Jewish tradition, rather than reform or abandon it, and does not imply the movement's adherents are politically conservative. Because of this potential for confusion, a number of Conservative Rabbis have proposed renaming the movement, and outside of the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 and Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, in many countries including Israel and the UK, it is today known as Masorti Judaism (Hebrew for "Traditional").

In the United States and Canada, the term Conservative, as applied, does not always indicate that a congregation is affliliated with the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism
United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism
The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism is the primary organization of synagogues practicing Conservative Judaism in North America...

, the movement's central institution and the one to which the term, without qualifier, usually refers. Rather, it is sometimes employed by unaffiliated groups to indicate a range of beliefs and practices more liberal than is affirmed by the Orthodox
Orthodox Judaism
Orthodox Judaism , is the approach to Judaism which adheres to the traditional interpretation and application of the laws and ethics of the Torah as legislated in the Talmudic texts by the Sanhedrin and subsequently developed and applied by the later authorities known as the Gaonim, Rishonim, and...

, and more traditional than the more liberal Jewish denominations
Jewish denominations
Jewish religious movements , sometimes called "denominations" or "branches", include different groups which have developed among Jews from ancient times and especially in the modern era among Ashkenazi Jews living in anglophone countries...

 (Reform and Reconstructionist Judaism
Reconstructionist Judaism
Reconstructionist Judaism is a modern American-based Jewish movement based on the ideas of Mordecai Kaplan . The movement views Judaism as a progressively evolving civilization. It originated as a branch of Conservative Judaism, before it splintered...

). In Canada, several congregations belong to the Canadian Council of Conservative Synagogues instead of the United Synagogue. The moniker Conservadox is sometimes employed to refer to the right wing of the Conservative spectrum, although "Traditional" is used as well (as in the Union for Traditional Judaism
Union for Traditional Judaism
The Union for Traditional Judaism is an ostensibly non-denominational Jewish educational, outreach and communal service organization. The UTJ, as it is known, sees itself as trans-denominational, and works to encourage traditional observance among all Jews. The UTJ maintains various educational...

).

Organizational structure


The Conservative-Masorti movement is unified on a global level by Masorti Olami
Masorti Olami
Masorti Olami builds, renews and strengthens Jewish life throughout the world, with efforts that focus on existing and developing communities in Europe, Latin America, the Former Soviet Union, Africa, Asia and Australia...

, representing affiliated congregations in the Americas, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia. Masorti Olami unites a number of smaller national and regional organizations, including:
  • The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism
    United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism
    The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism is the primary organization of synagogues practicing Conservative Judaism in North America...

     (USCJ) in the United States
    United States
    The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

     and Canada
    Canada
    Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

    ,
  • The Assembly of Masorti Synagogues in the United Kingdom
    United Kingdom
    The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

    ,
  • Masorti Europe in Europe
    Europe
    Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

    ,
  • Masorti AmLat in Latin America
    Latin America
    Latin America is a region of the Americas where Romance languages  – particularly Spanish and Portuguese, and variably French – are primarily spoken. Latin America has an area of approximately 21,069,500 km² , almost 3.9% of the Earth's surface or 14.1% of its land surface area...

    ,


The international association of Conservative/Masorti Rabbis is known as the Rabbinical Assembly
Rabbinical Assembly
The Rabbinical Assembly is the international association of Conservative rabbis. The RA was founded in 1901 to shape the ideology, programs, and practices of the Conservative movement. It publishes prayerbooks and books of Jewish interest, and oversees the work of the Committee on Jewish Law and...

; the Cantors Assembly
Cantors Assembly
The Cantors Assembly is the international association of hazzanim affiliated with Conservative Judaism. The CA was founded in 1947 to develop the profession of the hazzan, to foster the fellowship and welfare of hazzanim, and to establish a conservatory for hazzanim...

 is the organization of chazanim. The global youth movement is known as NOAM
Noam
Noam is a Hebrew name which means "pleasantness" . Noam may refer to:-People:In political activism:* Noam Chomsky, linguist and left-wing political activist...

 (an acronym for No'ar Masorti); its North American chapter is called the United Synagogue Youth
United Synagogue Youth
United Synagogue Youth is the youth movement of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism. USY operates in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The goal of the movement is to bring Jewish teenagers closer to Judaism and Israel through learning and social interaction...

. The movement maintains numerous Rabbinical seminaries and other educational institutions.

History


Like Reform Judaism
Reform Judaism
Reform Judaism refers to various beliefs, practices and organizations associated with the Reform Jewish movement in North America, the United Kingdom and elsewhere. In general, it maintains that Judaism and Jewish traditions should be modernized and should be compatible with participation in the...

, the Conservative movement developed in Europe and the United States in the 19th century, as Jews reacted to the changes brought about by the Enlightenment and Jewish emancipation
Jewish Emancipation
Jewish emancipation was the external and internal process of freeing the Jewish people of Europe, including recognition of their rights as equal citizens, and the formal granting of citizenship as individuals; it occurred gradually between the late 18th century and the early 20th century...

, a confluence of events that lead to Haskalah
Haskalah
Haskalah , the Jewish Enlightenment, was a movement among European Jews in the 18th–19th centuries that advocated adopting enlightenment values, pressing for better integration into European society, and increasing education in secular studies, Hebrew language, and Jewish history...

, or the Jewish Enlightenment. In Europe the movement was known as Positive-Historical Judaism, and it is still known as "the historical school."

Historical antecedents


Positive-Historical Judaism, the intellectual forerunner to Conservative Judaism, was developed as a school of thought in the 1840s and 1850s in Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

. Its principal founder was Rabbi
Rabbi
In Judaism, a rabbi is a teacher of Torah. This title derives from the Hebrew word רבי , meaning "My Master" , which is the way a student would address a master of Torah...

 Zecharias Frankel
Zecharias Frankel
Zecharias Frankel was a Bohemian-German rabbi and a historian who studied the historical development of Judaism. He was born in Prague and died in Breslau...

, who had broken with the German Reform Judaism
Reform Judaism
Reform Judaism refers to various beliefs, practices and organizations associated with the Reform Jewish movement in North America, the United Kingdom and elsewhere. In general, it maintains that Judaism and Jewish traditions should be modernized and should be compatible with participation in the...

 in 1845 over its rejection of the primacy of the Hebrew language in Jewish prayer and the rejection of the laws of kashrut. In 1854, Frankel became the head of the Jewish Theological Seminary of Breslau (then in Prussia
Kingdom of Prussia
The Kingdom of Prussia was a German kingdom from 1701 to 1918. Until the defeat of Germany in World War I, it comprised almost two-thirds of the area of the German Empire...

, now Wrocław, Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

). At the seminary, Frankel taught that Jewish law
Halakha
Halakha — also transliterated Halocho , or Halacha — is the collective body of Jewish law, including biblical law and later talmudic and rabbinic law, as well as customs and traditions.Judaism classically draws no distinction in its laws between religious and ostensibly non-religious life; Jewish...

 was not static, but rather has always developed in response to changing conditions. He called his approach towards Judaism "Positive-Historical," which meant that one should have a positive attitude towards accepting Jewish law and tradition as normative
Norm (sociology)
Social norms are the accepted behaviors within a society or group. This sociological and social psychological term has been defined as "the rules that a group uses for appropriate and inappropriate values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors. These rules may be explicit or implicit...

, yet one should be open to developing the law in the same fashion that it has always historically developed. Frankel rejected the innovations of Reform Judaism
Reform Judaism
Reform Judaism refers to various beliefs, practices and organizations associated with the Reform Jewish movement in North America, the United Kingdom and elsewhere. In general, it maintains that Judaism and Jewish traditions should be modernized and should be compatible with participation in the...

 as insufficiently based in Jewish history and communal practice. However, Frankel's use of modern methods of historical scholarship in analyzing Jewish texts and developing Jewish law set him apart from neo-Orthodox
Torah im Derech Eretz
Torah im Derech Eretz is a philosophy of Orthodox Judaism articulated by Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch , which formalizes a relationship between traditionally observant Judaism and the modern world...

 Judaism, which was concurrently developing under the leadership of Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch
Samson Raphael Hirsch
Samson Raphael Hirsch was a German rabbi best known as the intellectual founder of the Torah im Derech Eretz school of contemporary Orthodox Judaism...

.

United States


The differences between the more modern and traditional branches of American Judaism came to a head in 1883, at the "Trefa Banquet" at the Highland House entertainment pavilion
Mount Adams, Ohio
Mt. Adams is a geographic landmark and residential neighborhood of Cincinnati, Ohio, located directly east of downtown Cincinnati, south of Walnut Hills, south-west of East Walnut Hills, and west of the East End....

, which was at the top of the Mount Adams Incline
Mount Adams Incline
The Mount Adams Incline was a funicular, or inclined plane, located in the Cincinnati neighborhood of Mount Adams. Completed in 1872, it was the longest-running of the city's five inclines, closing in 1948. It has since been demolished.-External links:**...

 – where shellfish
Shellfish
Shellfish is a culinary and fisheries term for exoskeleton-bearing aquatic invertebrates used as food, including various species of molluscs, crustaceans, and echinoderms. Although most kinds of shellfish are harvested from saltwater environments, some kinds are found only in freshwater...

 and other non-kosher dishes were served at the celebration of the first graduating class of Hebrew Union College
Hebrew Union College
The Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is the oldest extant Jewish seminary in the Americas and the main seminary for training rabbis, cantors, educators and communal workers in Reform Judaism.HUC-JIR has campuses in Cincinnati, New York, Los Angeles and Jerusalem.The Jerusalem...

 in Cincinnati. The adoption of the radical Pittsburgh Platform
Pittsburgh Platform
The Pittsburgh Platform is a pivotal 19th century document in the history of the American Reform Movement in Judaism that called for Jews to adopt a modern approach to the practice of their faith...

 in 1885, which dismissed observance of the ritual commandments and Jewish peoplehood
Jewish peoplehood
Jewish peoplehood is the awareness of the underlying unity that makes an individual Jew a part of the Jewish people....

 as "anachronistic", created a permanent wedge between the Reform movement and more traditional American Jews.


In 1886, prominent Sephardic Rabbis Sabato Morais
Sabato Morais
Sabato Morais was an Italian-American rabbi, leader of Mikveh Israel Synagogue, pioneer of Italian Jewish Studies in America, and founder of the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City.- Early years :...

 and H. Pereira Mendes
Henry Pereira Mendes
Henry Pereira Mendes was an American rabbi who was born in Birmingham, England and died in New York.-Family history and education:...

 founded the Jewish Theological Seminary
Jewish Theological Seminary of America
The Jewish Theological Seminary of America is one of the academic and spiritual centers of Conservative Judaism, and a major center for academic scholarship in Jewish studies.JTS operates five schools: Albert A...

 (JTS) in New York City as a more traditional alternative to Hebrew Union College. The Seminary's brief affiliation with the traditional congregations that established the Union of Orthodox Congregations
Orthodox Union
The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America , more popularly known as the Orthodox Union , is one of the oldest Orthodox Jewish organizations in the United States. It is best known for its kosher food preparation supervision service...

 in 1898 was severed due to the Orthodox rejection of the Seminary's academic approach to Jewish learning. At the turn of the century, the Seminary lacked a source of permanent funding and was ordaining on average no more than one Rabbi per year.

This situation was resolved due to the efforts of Cyrus Adler
Cyrus Adler
Cyrus Adler was a U.S. educator, Jewish religious leader and scholar.-Biography:Adler was born in Van Buren, Arkansas, a graduate of University of Pennsylvania in 1883 and gained a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University in 1887, where he taught Semitic languages from 1884 to 1893...

, professor of Semitic languages at Johns Hopkins University
Johns Hopkins University
The Johns Hopkins University, commonly referred to as Johns Hopkins, JHU, or simply Hopkins, is a private research university based in Baltimore, Maryland, United States...

 and founder of the Jewish Publication Society, who convinced a number of wealthy German Reform Jews
German Reform movement (Judaism)
The German Reform movement in Judaism identifies a period of disputes and innovation during the first two thirds of the 19th century. The ideas, practices, and debates of this period lead to the current denominational structure of Judaism....

 including Jacob Schiff
Jacob Schiff
Jacob Henry Schiff, born Jakob Heinrich Schiff was a German-born Jewish American banker and philanthropist, who helped finance, among many other things, the Japanese military efforts against Tsarist Russia in the Russo-Japanese War.From his base on Wall Street, he was the foremost Jewish leader...

, David and Simon Guggenheim
Simon Guggenheim
Simon Guggenheim was an American businessman, politician, and philanthropist.-Life:He was the son of Meyer Guggenheim and Barbara Guggenheim, and was the younger brother of Daniel Guggenheim and Solomon R...

, Mayer Sulzberger
Mayer Sulzberger
Mayer Sulzberger was an American judge and Jewish communal leader; born at Heidelsheim, Bruchsal, Baden, June 22, 1843. He went to Philadelphia with his parents in 1848, and was educated at the Central High School of Philadelphia, and after graduating he studied law in the office of Moses A. Dropsie...

, and Louis Marshall, to contribute $500,000 to the faltering JTS.


The fortunes of Conservative Judaism underwent a dramatic turnaround when in 1902, the famed scholar Solomon Schechter
Solomon Schechter
Solomon Schechter was a Moldavian-born Romanian and English rabbi, academic scholar, and educator, most famous for his roles as founder and President of the United Synagogue of America, President of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, and architect of the American Conservative Jewish...

, lecturer in Talmud at the University of Cambridge
University of Cambridge
The University of Cambridge is a public research university located in Cambridge, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest university in both the United Kingdom and the English-speaking world , and the seventh-oldest globally...

, accepted the invitation to become president of JTS. Under Schechter's leadership, JTS attracted a distinguished faculty, including Louis Ginzberg
Louis Ginzberg
Rabbi Louis Ginzberg was a Talmudist and leading figure in the Conservative Movement of Judaism of the twentieth century. He was born on November 28, 1873, in Kovno, Lithuania; he died on November 11, 1953, in New York City.-Biographical background:...

 (author of Legends of the Jews), historian Alexander Marx
Alexander Marx
Alexander Marx was an American historian, bibliographer and librarian.-Biography:Born in Elberfeld, Germany, the son of George Marx, a banker, and Gertrud Simon-Marx, a published poet. Alexander Marx grew up in Königsberg . He spent a year in a Prussian artillery regiment where he excelled in...

, Arabist Israel Friedlander
Israel Friedlander
Israel Friedlander, also spelled Friedlaender was a rabbi, educator, translator, and biblical scholar...

, and future founder of Reconstructionism Mordecai Kaplan
Mordecai Kaplan
Mordecai Menahem Kaplan , was a rabbi, essayist and Jewish educator and the co-founder of Reconstructionist Judaism along with his son-in-law Ira Eisenstein.-Life and work:...

, and became a highly regarded center of Jewish learning. In 1913, the Conservative Movement founded its congregational arm, the United Synagogue of America, which would later become the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism.

Conservative Judaism enjoyed rapid growth in the first half of the 20th century, becoming the largest American Jewish denomination. Its combination of modern innovation (such as mixed gender seating) and traditional practice particularly appealed to first and second-generation Eastern European Jewish immigrants, who found Orthodoxy too restrictive, but Reform Judaism foreign. After World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, Conservative Judaism continued to thrive. The 1950s and early 1960s featured a boom in synagogue
Synagogue
A synagogue is a Jewish house of prayer. This use of the Greek term synagogue originates in the Septuagint where it sometimes translates the Hebrew word for assembly, kahal...

 construction as upwardly mobile American Jews moved to the suburb
Suburb
The word suburb mostly refers to a residential area, either existing as part of a city or as a separate residential community within commuting distance of a city . Some suburbs have a degree of administrative autonomy, and most have lower population density than inner city neighborhoods...

s. Conservative Judaism occupied an enviable middle position during a period where American society prized consensus.

By the 1990s Conservative Judaism continued to flourish, yet dichotomies of practice and belief, which had been present for years, began to formulate. After a substantial gift from Los Angeles
Los Ángeles
Los Ángeles is the capital of the province of Biobío, in the commune of the same name, in Region VIII , in the center-south of Chile. It is located between the Laja and Biobío rivers. The population is 123,445 inhabitants...

 philanthropist Ruth Ziegler, a new rabbinical school was formed at the American Jewish University (then University of Judaism) in Bel Air, California. Established in 1996, the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies
Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies
The Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, informally known as the "Ziegler School" or simply "Ziegler", is the graduate program of study leading to Ordination as Conservative Rabbis at the American Jewish University...

 became the first independent Jewish seminary
Seminary
A seminary, theological college, or divinity school is an institution of secondary or post-secondary education for educating students in theology, generally to prepare them for ordination as clergy or for other ministry...

 to be established on the west coast. In 2001, all graduates of the Zieger School were formally admitted as members of the Rabbinical Assembly
Rabbinical Assembly
The Rabbinical Assembly is the international association of Conservative rabbis. The RA was founded in 1901 to shape the ideology, programs, and practices of the Conservative movement. It publishes prayerbooks and books of Jewish interest, and oversees the work of the Committee on Jewish Law and...

.

Working with this 1990s trend of diversity and institutional growth, Conservative Judaism remained the largest denomination in America, with 43 percent of Jewish households affiliated with a synagogue belonging to Conservative synagogues (compared to 35 percent for Reform and 16 percent for Orthodox). In 2000, the NJPS showed that only 33 percent of synagogue-affiliated American Jews belonged to a Conservative synagogue. For the first time in nearly a century, Conservative Judaism is no longer the largest denomination in America. At the same time, however, certain Conservative institutions, particularly day schools, have shown significant growth. Conservative leaders agree that these contrasting trends indicate that the movement has reached a crossroads as it heads into the 21st century.

Schisms


The first split in the Conservative coalition occurred in 1963, when followers of Mordecai Kaplan
Mordecai Kaplan
Mordecai Menahem Kaplan , was a rabbi, essayist and Jewish educator and the co-founder of Reconstructionist Judaism along with his son-in-law Ira Eisenstein.-Life and work:...

 seceded from the movement to form a distinct Reconstructionist Judaism
Reconstructionist Judaism
Reconstructionist Judaism is a modern American-based Jewish movement based on the ideas of Mordecai Kaplan . The movement views Judaism as a progressively evolving civilization. It originated as a branch of Conservative Judaism, before it splintered...

. Kaplan had been a leading figure at JTS for 54 years, and had pressed for liturgical reform and innovations in ritual practice from inside of the framework of Conservative Judaism. Frustrated by the perceived dominance of the more traditionalist voices at JTS, Kaplan's followers decided that the ideas of Reconstructionism would be better served through the creation of a separate denomination. In 1968, the split became formalized with the establishment of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College
Reconstructionist Rabbinical College
The Reconstructionist Rabbinical College , is located in Wyncote, Pennsylvania, about 10 miles north of central Philadelphia. RRC is the only seminary affiliated with Reconstructionist Judaism. It is accredited by the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and...

.

Another schism in the Conservative ranks, this time from the movement's right wing, would come when a number of the traditionalist Rabbis led by JTS Talmudics professor David Weiss Halivni
David Weiss Halivni
David Weiss Halivni is an American-Israeli rabbi, scholar in the domain of Jewish Sciences and professor of Talmud.-Biography:...

 split from the United Synagogue to form the Union for Traditional Judaism
Union for Traditional Judaism
The Union for Traditional Judaism is an ostensibly non-denominational Jewish educational, outreach and communal service organization. The UTJ, as it is known, sees itself as trans-denominational, and works to encourage traditional observance among all Jews. The UTJ maintains various educational...

. The dissenters were discontented with the general leftward trend in USCJ policies over the previous decades, such as "prayer book revision, egalitarianism, redefining halakhic boundaries of sexual relationships, and advocacy of Israel accepting conversions that are non-halakhic even by Conservative standards"., and the Union suggests that "The Conservative Movement thus appears to endorse the notion that changing societal norms can supersede the proper application of halakhic sources". The Union today describes itself as "trans-denominational" and maintains a Rabbinical seminary, the Institute for Traditional Judaism.

United Kingdom


The Masorti movement did not establish a presence in the United Kingdom until much later and came about largely because of a series of incidents known colletively as the "Jacobs affair": Rabbi Louis Jacobs, a leading scholar of Anglo Jewry
History of the Jews in England
The history of the Jews in England goes back to the reign of William I. The first written record of Jewish settlement in England dates from 1070, although Jews may have lived there since Roman times...

, joined the faculty of the Jews College, leaving his post as Rabbi of the New West End Synagogue
New West End Synagogue
The New West End Synagogue, located in St. Petersburgh Place, Bayswater, London, is one of the Oldest synagogues in the United Kingdom still functioning. It is one of two synagogues which have been awarded Grade I listed status by the British government and has been described by English Heritage as...

, under the impression that he would eventually be made principal. However, in 1962 the London Beth Din
London Beth Din
The London Beth Din is the Ashkenazi Beth Din of the United Synagogue, the largest Ashkenazi synagogal body in London, England. In its capacity as Court of the Chief Rabbi, it is historically the supreme halakhic Authority for Mitnagdim Ashkenazim several Commonwealth countries and additionally is...

 and the Chief Rabbi Israel Brodie
Israel Brodie
Sir Israel Brodie KBE was the Chief Rabbi of Great Britain and the Commonwealth 1948–1965.He was educated at Balliol College, Oxford. He served as a Rabbi of Melbourne Hebrew Congregation in Australia from 1923-1937, was evacuated from Dunkirk, and finished the War as Senior Jewish Chaplain...

, who formed the leadership of the United Synagogue
United Synagogue
United Synagogue is an organisation of London Jews that was founded with the sanction of an Act of Parliament, in 1870. , it remains the largest religious grouping within the British Jewish community and indeed in Europe, covering 62 Orthodox Jewish communities...

, the UK's Orthodox establishment, refused to allow his appointment on grounds of heresy
Heresy in Orthodox Judaism
Heresy in Orthodox Judaism is principally defined as departure from the traditional Jewish principles of faith. Mainstream Orthodox Judaism holds that rejection of the simple meaning of Maimonides' 13 principles of Jewish faith involves heresy, although the status of creed in Medieval Jewish...

 because in his 1957 book We Have Reason to Believe, Jacobs had rejected the conception of a literal, verbal revelation of the Torah. In 1964, when the committee of the New West End Synagogue wanted to reappoint Jacobs as their rabbi, Brodie again vetoed his appointment on the same grounds. In response, Jacobs and many of the New West End congregants established the New London Synagogue, which became the center of Masorti Judaism in the United Kingdom.

In the United Kingdom, congregational observance is somewhat more traditional than in the United States. There are no female Rabbis among the British Masorti, for example, and some Masorti congegations maintain non-egalitarian practices with regard to gender, such as the mechitza
Mechitza
A mechitza in Jewish Halakha is a partition, particularly one that is used to separate men and women....

 and the prohibition of women reading from the Torah, while nearly all American congregations are fully egalitarian and the American Rabbinical schools ordain women as Rabbis.

There are now 13 Masorti congregations in the United Kingdom. Most Masorti Rabbis are trained at Leo Baeck College
Leo Baeck College
Leo Baeck College is a rabbinical college and centre for Jewish education located in north London. As well as being the smallest academic college in England, it is also the largest Jewish Progressive University and Rabbinic College in Europe....

, an inter-denominational seminary that ordains non-Orthodox British Rabbis.

Israel


The first Masorti communities in the State of Israel were founded in 1979 by North American olim. The movement now has some 50 congregations in Israel, with a membership of approximately 50,000, and its progams reach some 125,000 each year. In addition to its kehillot and chavurot maintains a kibbutz
Kibbutz
A kibbutz is a collective community in Israel that was traditionally based on agriculture. Today, farming has been partly supplanted by other economic branches, including industrial plants and high-tech enterprises. Kibbutzim began as utopian communities, a combination of socialism and Zionism...

 (Kibbutz Hanaton), a moshav
Moshav
Moshav is a type of Israeli town or settlement, in particular a type of cooperative agricultural community of individual farms pioneered by the Labour Zionists during the second aliyah...

 (Moshav Shorashim), and IDF Garinim, Masorti groups within the Israeli Defense Forces. The organization is active in integrating olim from South America and the former Soviet Union into Israeli society--native Israelis
Sabra (person)
Sabra is a term used to describe a Jew born in Israeli territory; the term is also usually inclusive of Jews born during the period of the establishment of the state of Israel. The word "sabra" is Arabic and Hebrew. Immigrants to Palestine began using it in the early 1930s, according to the The...

 and olim from non-English speaking countries now make up about 60% of the Israeli Masorti population, the remaining 40% are North American olim. The movement is supported by the Masorti Foundation for Conservative Judaism in Israel, an American organization that provides funding to Masorti programs, which are disadvantaged by the Israeli government's practice of funding only Orthodox institutions.

Beliefs


In 1988, the Leadership Council of Conservative Judaism
Leadership Council of Conservative Judaism
The Leadership Council of Conservative Judaism, also known as the LCCJ, is a council made up of members of the various arms of the Conservative movement, a formal movement within the Jewish denomination of Conservative Judaism....

 issued an official statement of belief, Emet Ve-Emunah: Statement of Principles of Conservative Judaism. Emet Ve-Emunah affirms belief in God and in the divine inspiration of the Torah
Torah
Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five books of the bible—Genesis , Exodus , Leviticus , Numbers and Deuteronomy Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five...

; however, it also affirms the legitimacy of multiple interpretations of these issues. Atheism
Atheism
Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities. In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities...

, Trinitarian
Trinity
The Christian doctrine of the Trinity defines God as three divine persons : the Father, the Son , and the Holy Spirit. The three persons are distinct yet coexist in unity, and are co-equal, co-eternal and consubstantial . Put another way, the three persons of the Trinity are of one being...

 views of God, and polytheism
Polytheism
Polytheism is the belief of multiple deities also usually assembled into a pantheon of gods and goddesses, along with their own mythologies and rituals....

 are ruled out. Conservative Judaism rejects both relativism
Relativism
Relativism is the concept that points of view have no absolute truth or validity, having only relative, subjective value according to differences in perception and consideration....

 and fundamentalism
Fundamentalism
Fundamentalism is strict adherence to specific theological doctrines usually understood as a reaction against Modernist theology. The term "fundamentalism" was originally coined by its supporters to describe a specific package of theological beliefs that developed into a movement within the...

. The commission found that there were seven main beliefs shared by representatives from different part of the movement:
"In the beginning God …" Though we differ in our perceptions and experiences of reality, we affirm our faith in God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

as the Creator and Governor of the universe. His power called the world into being; His wisdom and goodness guide its destiny. Of all the living creatures we know, humanity alone, created in His image and endowed with free will, has been singled out to be the recipient and bearer of Revelation. The product of this human-divine encounter is the Torah, the embodiment of God's will revealed pre-eminently to the Jewish people through Moses, the Prophets and the Sages, as well as to the righteous and wise of all nations. Hence, by descent and destiny, each Jew stands under the divine command to obey God's will.

Second, we recognize the authority of the Halakhah which has never been monolithic or immovable. On the contrary, as modern scholarship has abundantly demonstrated, the Halakhah has grown and developed through changing times and diverse circumstances. This life-giving attribute is doubly needed today in a world of dizzying change.

Third, though the term was unknown, pluralism has characterized Jewish life and thought through the ages. This is reflected in the variety of views and attitudes of the biblical legislators, priests, prophets, historians, psalmists and Wisdom teachers, the hundreds of controversies among the rabbis of the Talmud and in the codes and responsa of their successors. The latter-day attempt to suppress freedom of inquiry and the right to dissent is basically a foreign importation into Jewish life.

Fourth, the rich body of Halakhah and Aggadah
Aggadah
Aggadah refers to the homiletic and non-legalistic exegetical texts in the classical rabbinic literature of Judaism, particularly as recorded in the Talmud and Midrash...

 and the later philosophic
Jewish philosophy
Jewish philosophy , includes all philosophy carried out by Jews, or, in relation to the religion of Judaism. Jewish philosophy, until modern Enlightenment and Emancipation, was pre-occupied with attempts to reconcile coherent new ideas into the tradition of Rabbinic Judaism; thus organizing...

 and mystical
Kabbalah
Kabbalah/Kabala is a discipline and school of thought concerned with the esoteric aspect of Rabbinic Judaism. It was systematized in 11th-13th century Hachmei Provence and Spain, and again after the Expulsion from Spain, in 16th century Ottoman Palestine...

 literature, all seeking to come closer to God's presence, are a precious resource for deepening the spiritual life of Israel and humankind.

Fifth, all the aspects of Jewish law and practice are designed to underscore the centrality of ethics
Ethics
Ethics, also known as moral philosophy, is a branch of philosophy that addresses questions about morality—that is, concepts such as good and evil, right and wrong, virtue and vice, justice and crime, etc.Major branches of ethics include:...

in the life of the Jews.

Sixth, Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

is not only the Holy Land where our faith was born and developed, but it plays an essential role in our present and future. Israel is a symbol of the unity of the Jewish people the world over, the homeland for millions of Jews and a unique arena for Jewish creativity. Together with our responsibility to Israel is our obligation to strengthen and enrich the life of Jewish communities throughout the world — including, it need hardly be said, our own.

Seventh, Jewish law and tradition, properly understood and interpreted, will enrich Jewish life and help mold the world closer to the prophetic vision of the Kingdom of God
Kingdom of God
The Kingdom of God or Kingdom of Heaven is a foundational concept in the Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.The term "Kingdom of God" is found in all four canonical gospels and in the Pauline epistles...

.

God


Conservative Judaism affirms monotheism
Monotheism
Monotheism is the belief in the existence of one and only one god. Monotheism is characteristic of the Baha'i Faith, Christianity, Druzism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Samaritanism, Sikhism and Zoroastrianism.While they profess the existence of only one deity, monotheistic religions may still...

. Its members have varied beliefs about the nature of God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

, and no one understanding of God is mandated. Beliefs about God in the tradition of Jewish rationalism have been described as "reemergent" within the movement. Such rationalism often affirms Maimonidean
Maimonides
Moses ben-Maimon, called Maimonides and also known as Mūsā ibn Maymūn in Arabic, or Rambam , was a preeminent medieval Jewish philosopher and one of the greatest Torah scholars and physicians of the Middle Ages...

 views of God. Other views of God affirmed by members of the Conservative movement include Kabbalistic mysticism
Kabbalah
Kabbalah/Kabala is a discipline and school of thought concerned with the esoteric aspect of Rabbinic Judaism. It was systematized in 11th-13th century Hachmei Provence and Spain, and again after the Expulsion from Spain, in 16th century Ottoman Palestine...

; Hasidic
Hasidic Judaism
Hasidic Judaism or Hasidism, from the Hebrew —Ḥasidut in Sephardi, Chasidus in Ashkenazi, meaning "piety" , is a branch of Orthodox Judaism that promotes spirituality and joy through the popularisation and internalisation of Jewish mysticism as the fundamental aspects of the Jewish faith...

 panentheism
Panentheism
Panentheism is a belief system which posits that God exists, interpenetrates every part of nature and timelessly extends beyond it...

 (neo-Hasidism, Jewish Renewal
Jewish Renewal
Jewish Renewal , is a recent movement in Judaism which endeavors to reinvigorate modern Judaism with mystical, Hasidic, musical and meditative practices...

); limited theism (as in Harold Kushner
Harold Kushner
Rabbi Harold Samuel Kushner is a prominent American rabbi aligned with the progressive wing of Conservative Judaism, and a popular author.- Education :...

's When Bad Things Happen to Good People
When Bad Things Happen to Good People
When Bad Things Happen to Good People is a 1981 book by Harold Kushner, a Conservative rabbi. Kushner addresses in the book one of the principal problems of theodicy, the conundrum of why, if the universe was created and is governed by a God who is of a good and loving nature, there is...

); and organic thinking in the fashion of Alfred North Whitehead
Alfred North Whitehead
Alfred North Whitehead, OM FRS was an English mathematician who became a philosopher. He wrote on algebra, logic, foundations of mathematics, philosophy of science, physics, metaphysics, and education...

 and Charles Hartshorne
Charles Hartshorne
Charles Hartshorne was a prominent American philosopher who concentrated primarily on the philosophy of religion and metaphysics. He developed the neoclassical idea of God and produced a modal proof of the existence of God that was a development of St. Anselm's Ontological Argument...

, also known as process theology
Process theology
Process theology is a school of thought influenced by the metaphysical process philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead and further developed by Charles Hartshorne . While there are process theologies that are similar, but unrelated to the work of Whitehead the term is generally applied to the...

 (such as Rabbis Max Kaddushin, William E. Kaufman
William E. Kaufman
William E. Kaufman is a Conservative Jewish rabbi, theologian and author. His 1991 book, The Case for God, was the first on Jewish process theology.-Education:...

, or Bradley Shavit Artson
Bradley Shavit Artson
Bradley Shavit Artson is an American rabbi, author, speaker, and the occupant of the Abner and Roslyn Goldstine Dean's Chair of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at the American Jewish University in Los Angeles, California, where he is Vice-President...

).

Mordecai Kaplan
Mordecai Kaplan
Mordecai Menahem Kaplan , was a rabbi, essayist and Jewish educator and the co-founder of Reconstructionist Judaism along with his son-in-law Ira Eisenstein.-Life and work:...

's religious naturalism (Reconstructionist Judaism
Reconstructionist Judaism
Reconstructionist Judaism is a modern American-based Jewish movement based on the ideas of Mordecai Kaplan . The movement views Judaism as a progressively evolving civilization. It originated as a branch of Conservative Judaism, before it splintered...

) used to have an influential place in the movement, but since Reconstructionism developed as an independent movement, this influence has waned. Papers from a recent Rabbinical Assembly
Rabbinical Assembly
The Rabbinical Assembly is the international association of Conservative rabbis. The RA was founded in 1901 to shape the ideology, programs, and practices of the Conservative movement. It publishes prayerbooks and books of Jewish interest, and oversees the work of the Committee on Jewish Law and...

 conference on theology were printed in a special issue of the journal Conservative Judaism (Winter 1999); the editors note that Kaplan's naturalism
Naturalism (philosophy)
Naturalism commonly refers to the philosophical viewpoint that the natural universe and its natural laws and forces operate in the universe, and that nothing exists beyond the natural universe or, if it does, it does not affect the natural universe that we know...

 seems to have dropped from the movement's radar screen.

Revelation


Conservative Jews hold a wide array of views on the subject of revelation. Many Conservative Jews reject the traditional Jewish idea that God literally dictated the words of the Torah to Moses
Moses
Moses was, according to the Hebrew Bible and Qur'an, a religious leader, lawgiver and prophet, to whom the authorship of the Torah is traditionally attributed...

 at Mount Sinai
Biblical Mount Sinai
The Biblical Mount Sinai is the mountain at which the Book of Exodus states that the Ten Commandments were given to Moses by God...

 in a verbal revelation
Revelation
In religion and theology, revelation is the revealing or disclosing, through active or passive communication with a supernatural or a divine entity...

, but they hold the traditional Jewish belief that God inspired the later prophet
Prophet
In religion, a prophet, from the Greek word προφήτης profitis meaning "foreteller", is an individual who is claimed to have been contacted by the supernatural or the divine, and serves as an intermediary with humanity, delivering this newfound knowledge from the supernatural entity to other people...

s to write the rest of the Tanakh
Tanakh
The Tanakh is a name used in Judaism for the canon of the Hebrew Bible. The Tanakh is also known as the Masoretic Text or the Miqra. The name is an acronym formed from the initial Hebrew letters of the Masoretic Text's three traditional subdivisions: The Torah , Nevi'im and Ketuvim —hence...

. Many Conservative Jews believe that Moses was inspired by God in the same manner as the later prophets.

Conservative Jews who reject the concept of verbal revelation believe that God revealed his will to Moses and other prophets in a non-verbal form — that is, God's revelation did not include the particular words of the divine texts.

Conservative Judaism is comfortable with higher criticism, including the documentary hypothesis
Documentary hypothesis
The documentary hypothesis , holds that the Pentateuch was derived from originally independent, parallel and complete narratives, which were subsequently combined into the current form by a series of redactors...

, the theory that the Torah was redacted from several earlier sources. The movement's rabbinic authorities and its official Torah commentary (Etz Hayim: Torah and Commentary
Etz Hayim Humash
The Etz Hayim Humash , also known as Etz Hayim: Torah and Commentary, is a humash published and used by the Conservative Jewish movement. Its production involved the collaboration of the Rabbinical Assembly, the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, and the Jewish Publication Society.-Authors:*...

) affirm that Jews should make use of modern critical literary and historical analysis to understand how the Bible developed.

Concerning the degree of revelation of Torah, Conservative Judaism rejects the Orthodox position of a direct verbal revelation of the Torah. However, Conservative Judaism also rejects the Reform view, that the Torah was not revealed but divinely inspired.
In contrast to both, most Conservative positions affirm the divine but nonverbal revelation of written Torah as the authentic, historically correct Jewish view. In this view, Oral Torah
Oral Torah
The Oral Torah comprises the legal and interpretative traditions that, according to tradition, were transmitted orally from Mount Sinai, and were not written in the Torah...

 is considered inspired by Torah, but not necessarily of a straightforward divine origin.

Jewish law



Conservative Judaism views halakha
Halakha
Halakha — also transliterated Halocho , or Halacha — is the collective body of Jewish law, including biblical law and later talmudic and rabbinic law, as well as customs and traditions.Judaism classically draws no distinction in its laws between religious and ostensibly non-religious life; Jewish...

 (Jewish religious law) as normative and binding. Examining Jewish history
Jewish history
Jewish history is the history of the Jews, their religion and culture, as it developed and interacted with other peoples, religions and cultures. Since Jewish history is over 4000 years long and includes hundreds of different populations, any treatment can only be provided in broad strokes...

 and rabbinic literature
Rabbinic literature
Rabbinic literature, in its broadest sense, can mean the entire spectrum of rabbinic writings throughout Jewish history. However, the term often refers specifically to literature from the Talmudic era, as opposed to medieval and modern rabbinic writing, and thus corresponds with the Hebrew term...

 through the lens of academic criticism, Conservative Judaism believes that halakha has always evolved to meet the changing realities of Jewish life, and that it must continue to do so in the modern age. Some Conservative theologians, like Seymour Siegel
Seymour Siegel
Seymour Siegel , often referred to as "an architect of Conservative Jewish theology," was an American Conservative rabbi, a Professor of Ethics and Theology at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America , the 1983-1984 Executive Director of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council," and an...

 have stressed that the word, "Conservative," must be understood in the way it is used in the British political system: that the laws and traditions have to be conserved or preserved, with changes allowed only when there is an overriding reason—almost always, an overriding ethical reason—to do so. Siegel believed such change could occur when halakhah and aggadah, the wealth of non-legalistic rabbinic literature that included lessons on Jewish morals, values, and ethics, came into conflict. When they did, he believed that ethics and aggadah should prevail.

This view, together with Conservative Judaism's diversity of opinion concerning divine revelation, accounts for some of the diversity and disagreement in the Conservative movement's halakha. When considering changes to halakha, Conservative Judaism's rabbinical authorities may rely on historical analysis as well as religious considerations. As Solomon Schechter noted, "however great the literary value of a code may be, it does not invest it with infallibility, nor does it exempt it from the student or the Rabbi who makes use of it from the duty of examining each paragraph on its own merits, and subjecting it to the same rules of interpretation that were always applied to Tradition".

Concerning interpretation of Halakha
Halakha
Halakha — also transliterated Halocho , or Halacha — is the collective body of Jewish law, including biblical law and later talmudic and rabbinic law, as well as customs and traditions.Judaism classically draws no distinction in its laws between religious and ostensibly non-religious life; Jewish...

 (or Jewish law): because of Judaism's legal tradition, the fundamental differences between modern Jewish denominations also involve the relevance, interpretation, and application of Jewish law and tradition
Halakha
Halakha — also transliterated Halocho , or Halacha — is the collective body of Jewish law, including biblical law and later talmudic and rabbinic law, as well as customs and traditions.Judaism classically draws no distinction in its laws between religious and ostensibly non-religious life; Jewish...

. Conservative Judaism believes that its approach is the most authentic expression of Judaism as it was traditionally practiced. Conservative Jews believe that movements to its left, such as Reform
Reform Judaism
Reform Judaism refers to various beliefs, practices and organizations associated with the Reform Jewish movement in North America, the United Kingdom and elsewhere. In general, it maintains that Judaism and Jewish traditions should be modernized and should be compatible with participation in the...

 and Reconstructionist Judaism
Reconstructionist Judaism
Reconstructionist Judaism is a modern American-based Jewish movement based on the ideas of Mordecai Kaplan . The movement views Judaism as a progressively evolving civilization. It originated as a branch of Conservative Judaism, before it splintered...

, have erred by rejecting the traditional authority of Jewish law and tradition
Halakha
Halakha — also transliterated Halocho , or Halacha — is the collective body of Jewish law, including biblical law and later talmudic and rabbinic law, as well as customs and traditions.Judaism classically draws no distinction in its laws between religious and ostensibly non-religious life; Jewish...

. They believe that the Orthodox Jewish
Orthodox Judaism
Orthodox Judaism , is the approach to Judaism which adheres to the traditional interpretation and application of the laws and ethics of the Torah as legislated in the Talmudic texts by the Sanhedrin and subsequently developed and applied by the later authorities known as the Gaonim, Rishonim, and...

 movements, on the theological right, have erred by slowing down, or stopping, the historical development of Jewish law: "Conservative Judaism believes that scholarly study of Jewish texts indicates that Judaism has constantly been evolving to meet the needs of the Jewish people in varying circumstances, and that a central halakhic authority can continue the halakhic evolution today." (Soc. Culture. Jewish Usenet Newsgroup FAQ) The Conservative movement makes a conscious effort to use historical sources to determine what kind of changes to Jewish tradition have occurred, how and why they occurred, and in what historical context. With this information they believe that they can better understand the proper way for rabbis to interpret and apply Jewish law to our conditions today. See also under Modern Orthodox Judaism.

Mordecai Waxman
Mordecai Waxman
Mordecai Waxman, KCSG , was a prominent rabbi in the Conservative Jewish movement for nearly 60 years. He served as rabbi of Temple Israel in Great Neck, New York for 55 years from 1947 through his death in 2002...

, a leading figure in the Rabbinical Assembly, writes that "Reform has asserted the right of interpretation but it rejected the authority of legal tradition. Orthodoxy has clung fast to the principle of authority, but has in our own and recent generations rejected the right to any but minor interpretations. The Conservative view is that both are necessary for a living Judaism. Accordingly, Conservative Judaism holds itself bound by the Jewish legal tradition, but asserts the right of its rabbinical body, acting as a whole, to interpret and to apply Jewish law." (Mordecai Waxman
Mordecai Waxman
Mordecai Waxman, KCSG , was a prominent rabbi in the Conservative Jewish movement for nearly 60 years. He served as rabbi of Temple Israel in Great Neck, New York for 55 years from 1947 through his death in 2002...

 Tradition and Change: The Development of Conservative Judaism)

Conservative Judaism views the process by which Reform and Reconstructionist Judaism make changes to Jewish tradition as potentially invalid . Thus, Conservative Judaism rejects patrilineal descent and would hold that a child of a non-Jewish mother who was raised as a Reform or Reconstructionist Jew is not legally Jewish and would have to undergo conversion
Religious conversion
Religious conversion is the adoption of a new religion that differs from the convert's previous religion. Changing from one denomination to another within the same religion is usually described as reaffiliation rather than conversion.People convert to a different religion for various reasons,...

 to become a Jew. The Conservative movement is committed to Jewish pluralism and respects the religious practices of Reform and Reconstructionist Jews. For example, the Conservative movement recognizes their clergy
Clergy
Clergy is the generic term used to describe the formal religious leadership within a given religion. A clergyman, churchman or cleric is a member of the clergy, especially one who is a priest, preacher, pastor, or other religious professional....

 as rabbis, even if it does not necessarily accept their specific decisions.

Conservative Judaism accepts that the Orthodox approach to halakhah is generally valid. Accordingly, a Conservative Jew could usually satisfy their halakhic obligations by participation in Orthodox
Orthodox Judaism
Orthodox Judaism , is the approach to Judaism which adheres to the traditional interpretation and application of the laws and ethics of the Torah as legislated in the Talmudic texts by the Sanhedrin and subsequently developed and applied by the later authorities known as the Gaonim, Rishonim, and...

 rituals. Occasionally, however, they may come into conflict. For instance, if two men and a woman were to eat a meal together, a Conservative Jew would believe that the presence of three adult Jews would obligate the group to say a communal form of the Grace After Meals, while an Orthodox Jew would believe that, lacking three adult Jewish males, the group would not be able to do such. Thus, though often de facto the case, Conservative Judaism's halakhic system does not inherently see Orthodox halakhic practice as acceptable and legitimate halakhic practice for a Conservative Jew.

Jewish identity


Conservative Judaism maintains the Rabbinic understanding of Jewish identity: A Jew is someone who was born to a Jewish mother, or who converts to Judaism in accordance with Jewish law and tradition. Conservatism thus rejects patrilineal descent, which is accepted by the Reform movement. Conservative Rabbis are not allowed to perform intermarriages (marriages between Jews and non-Jews). However, the Leadership Council of Conservative Judaism has a different sociological approach to this issue than does Orthodoxy, although agreeing religiously. In a press release it has stated:
"In the past, intermarriage...was viewed as an act of rebellion, a rejection of Judaism. Jews who intermarried were essentially excommunicated
Excommunication
Excommunication is a religious censure used to deprive, suspend or limit membership in a religious community. The word means putting [someone] out of communion. In some religions, excommunication includes spiritual condemnation of the member or group...

. But now, intermarriage is often the result of living in an open society....If our children end up marrying non-Jews, we should not reject them. We should continue to give our love and by that retain a measure of influence in their lives, Jewishly and otherwise. Life consists of constant growth and our adult children may yet reach a stage when Judaism has new meaning for them. However, the marriage between a Jew and non-Jew is not a celebration for the Jewish community. We therefore reach out to the couple with the hope that the non-Jewish partner will move closer to Judaism and ultimately choose to convert. Since we know that over 70 percent of children of intermarried couples are not being raised as Jews...we want to encourage the Jewish partner to maintain his/her Jewish identity, and raise their children as Jews."

Gender equality


In the 1970s and early 1980s, Conservative Judaism was divided over issues of gender equality
Gender equality
Gender equality is the goal of the equality of the genders, stemming from a belief in the injustice of myriad forms of gender inequality.- Concept :...

. In 1973, the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards
Committee on Jewish Law and Standards
The Committee on Jewish Law and Standards is the central authority on halakha within Conservative Judaism; it is one of the most active and widely known committees on the Conservative movement's Rabbinical Assembly. Within the movement it is known as the CJLS...

 voted, without adopting an explanatory responsum, to permit synagogues to count women toward a minyan
Minyan
A minyan in Judaism refers to the quorum of ten Jewish adults required for certain religious obligations. According to many non-Orthodox streams of Judaism adult females count in the minyan....

, but left the choice to individual congregations. After a further decade of debate, in 1983, JTS voted to admit women for ordination as Conservative rabbis, also without adopting an explanatory responsum. Some opponents of these decisions left the Conservative movement to form the Union for Traditional Judaism
Union for Traditional Judaism
The Union for Traditional Judaism is an ostensibly non-denominational Jewish educational, outreach and communal service organization. The UTJ, as it is known, sees itself as trans-denominational, and works to encourage traditional observance among all Jews. The UTJ maintains various educational...

.

In 2002, the Committee adopted a responsum that provides an official religious-law foundation for its past actions and articulates the current Conservative approach to the role of women in Judaism
Role of women in Judaism
The role of women in Judaism is determined by the Hebrew Bible, the Oral Law , by custom, and by non-religious cultural factors...

.

In December 2006, a responsum was adopted by the Committee that approved the ordination of gay and lesbian
Lesbian
Lesbian is a term most widely used in the English language to describe sexual and romantic desire between females. The word may be used as a noun, to refer to women who identify themselves or who are characterized by others as having the primary attribute of female homosexuality, or as an...

 rabbis and permitted commitment ceremonies
Same-sex union
Same-sex unions are legal or religious unions between two persons of the same sex.In legal contexts, their recognition varies based upon the region in which the union is formed. Some regions allow same-sex marriage, civil marriage between two persons of the same sex. Others recognize civil unions...

 for lesbian and gay Jews (but not same-sex marriage
Same-sex marriage
Same-sex marriage is marriage between two persons of the same biological sex or social gender. Supporters of legal recognition for same-sex marriage typically refer to such recognition as marriage equality....

), while maintaining the traditional prohibition against anal sex
Anal sex
Anal sex is the sex act in which the penis is inserted into the anus of a sexual partner. The term can also include other sexual acts involving the anus, including pegging, anilingus , fingering, and object insertion.Common misconception describes anal sex as practiced almost exclusively by gay men...

 between men. An opposing responsum, that maintained the traditional prohibitions against ordinations and commitment ceremonies, was also approved. Both responsa were enacted as majority opinions, with some members of the Committee voting for both. This result gives individual synagogues, rabbis, and rabbinical schools discretion to adopt either approach.

Individual rabbis continue to be free to avail themselves of more traditionalist minority rulings, and some congregations, particularly in Canada, accordingly still retain a more limited ritual role for women.

Advanced Jewish Learning




The Conservative movement maintains a number of Rabbinical seminaries:
  • The Jewish Theological Seminary
    Jewish Theological Seminary of America
    The Jewish Theological Seminary of America is one of the academic and spiritual centers of Conservative Judaism, and a major center for academic scholarship in Jewish studies.JTS operates five schools: Albert A...

    , located in New York City;
  • The Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies
    Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies
    The Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, informally known as the "Ziegler School" or simply "Ziegler", is the graduate program of study leading to Ordination as Conservative Rabbis at the American Jewish University...

    , at the non-denominational American Jewish University in Los Angeles
    Los Ángeles
    Los Ángeles is the capital of the province of Biobío, in the commune of the same name, in Region VIII , in the center-south of Chile. It is located between the Laja and Biobío rivers. The population is 123,445 inhabitants...

    ;
  • The Marshall T. Meyer Latin American Rabbinical Seminary (Spanish
    Spanish language
    Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

    : Seminario Rabínico Latinoamericano Marshall T. Meyer), in Buenos Aires, Argentina; and
  • The Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies
    Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies
    The Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies, located in Jerusalem, Israel, is an academic institution affiliated with Conservative Judaism first established in New York....

     (Hebrew
    Hebrew language
    Hebrew is a Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Culturally, is it considered by Jews and other religious groups as the language of the Jewish people, though other Jewish languages had originated among diaspora Jews, and the Hebrew language is also used by non-Jewish groups, such...

    :מכון שכטר) in Jerusalem.


A Conservative movement-affiliated institution that does not grant rabbinic ordination but which runs along the lines of a traditional yeshiva
Yeshiva
Yeshiva is a Jewish educational institution that focuses on the study of traditional religious texts, primarily the Talmud and Torah study. Study is usually done through daily shiurim and in study pairs called chavrutas...

 is the Conservative Yeshiva
Conservative Yeshiva
The Conservative Yeshiva is a co-educational institute for study of traditional Jewish texts in Jerusalem, Israel. The Yeshiva was founded in 1995 and is under theAcademic Auspices of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America....

, located in Jerusalem.

Conservative rabbis also play a leading role at a number of non-denominational institutions of advanced Jewish learning. The rosh yeshivas at Yeshivat Hadar in New York, New York include rabbis Elie Kaunfer and Shai Held who were ordained by the Conservative movement (at Jewish Theological Seminary). The Rosh Yeshiva at the Canadian Yeshiva & Rabbinical School
Canadian Yeshiva & Rabbinical School
The Canadian Yeshiva & Rabbinical School is a Jewish yeshiva located on the campus of the University of Toronto. Rabbi Roy Tanenbaum is both the founder and the Rosh Yeshiva. Rabbi Daniel Sperber serves as the Chancellor...

 in Toronto is a Conservative rabbi, Roy Tanenbaum. The rabbinical school of the Academy for Jewish Religion in California is led by Conservative rabbi Mel Gottlieb. The faculties of the Academy for Jewish Religion in New York and of the Rabbinical School of Hebrew College
Hebrew College
Hebrew College is an accredited college of Jewish studies in Newton Centre, near Boston, Massachusetts. Founded in 1921, Hebrew College is committed to Jewish scholarship in a transdenominational academic environment. The president of the college is Rabbi Daniel Lehmann...

 in Newton Centre, Massachusetts also includes a large number of Conservative rabbis. Many smaller programs, such as Rabbi Benay Lappe's SVARA yeshiva, are also led by Conservative rabbis.

Day Schools


The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism
United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism
The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism is the primary organization of synagogues practicing Conservative Judaism in North America...

 maintains the Solomon Schecter Day Schools
Solomon Schechter Day School Association
The Solomon Schechter Day School Association is the organization of Jewish day school that identify with Conservative Judaism. The association provides guidance and resources for its member schools in the United States and Canada...

, comprising 76 day school
Day school
A day school—as opposed to a boarding school—is an institution where children are given educational instruction during the day and after which children/teens return to their homes...

s in 19 American states and two Canadian provinces serving Jewish children. Many other "community day schools" that are not affiliated with the Solomon Schechter network take a generally Conservative approach, but the Schechter schools, these schools generally have "no barriers to enrollment based on the faith of the parents or on religious practices in the home." During the first decade of the 21st century, a number of schools that were part of the Schechter network transformed themselves into non-affiliated community day schools.

Criticism



Conservative Judaism has come under criticism from a variety of sources such as:
  • Orthodox Jews
    Orthodox Judaism
    Orthodox Judaism , is the approach to Judaism which adheres to the traditional interpretation and application of the laws and ethics of the Torah as legislated in the Talmudic texts by the Sanhedrin and subsequently developed and applied by the later authorities known as the Gaonim, Rishonim, and...

     who question the movement's commitment to Halakha
    Halakha
    Halakha — also transliterated Halocho , or Halacha — is the collective body of Jewish law, including biblical law and later talmudic and rabbinic law, as well as customs and traditions.Judaism classically draws no distinction in its laws between religious and ostensibly non-religious life; Jewish...

    .
  • Conservative Traditionalists who criticize the Halakhic process when dealing with issues such as women in Judaism as well as homosexuality.


Orthodox Jewish leaders vary considerably in their dealings with the Conservative movement and with individual Conservative Jews. Some Modern Orthodox
Modern Orthodox Judaism
Modern Orthodox Judaism is a movement within Orthodox Judaism that attempts to synthesize Jewish values and the observance of Jewish law, with the secular, modern world....

 leaders cooperate and work with the Conservative movement, while haredi
Haredi Judaism
Haredi or Charedi/Chareidi Judaism is the most conservative form of Orthodox Judaism, often referred to as ultra-Orthodox. A follower of Haredi Judaism is called a Haredi ....

 ("Ultra-Orthodox") Jews often eschew formal contact with Conservative Judaism, or at least its rabbinate. From the Orthodox perspective, Conservative Jews are considered just as Jewish as Orthodox Jews, but they are viewed as misguided, consistent violators of halakha.

Over the years, Conservative Judaism has experienced internal criticism. Due to halakhic disputes, such as the controversies over the role of women
Role of women in Judaism
The role of women in Judaism is determined by the Hebrew Bible, the Oral Law , by custom, and by non-religious cultural factors...

 and homosexuality, some Conservative Talmud
Talmud
The Talmud is a central text of mainstream Judaism. It takes the form of a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, customs and history....

ic scholars and experts in halakha have left the Jewish Theological Seminary
Jewish Theological Seminary of America
The Jewish Theological Seminary of America is one of the academic and spiritual centers of Conservative Judaism, and a major center for academic scholarship in Jewish studies.JTS operates five schools: Albert A...

 and the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards
Committee on Jewish Law and Standards
The Committee on Jewish Law and Standards is the central authority on halakha within Conservative Judaism; it is one of the most active and widely known committees on the Conservative movement's Rabbinical Assembly. Within the movement it is known as the CJLS...

. and the seminary's former Chancellor, Rabbi Ismar Schorsch
Ismar Schorsch
Ismar Schorsch had been the son of hanoveranian Rabbi Emil Schorsch. They both experienced the so called "Reichskristallnacht" in a different manner. Dr. Ismar Schorsch became the sixth Chancellor of The Jewish Theological Seminary and is the Rabbi Herman Abramovitz Professor of Jewish history...

, complained of the movement's "erosion of [its] fidelity to Halacha ... [which] brings [it] close to Reform Judaism."

In matters of marriage and divorce
Get (divorce document)
A is a divorce document, which according to Jewish Law, must be presented by a husband to his wife to effect their divorce. The essential text of the is quite short: "You are hereby permitted to all men," i.e., the wife is no longer a married woman, and the laws of adultery no longer apply...

, the State of Israel relies on its Chief Rabbinate
Chief Rabbinate of Israel
The Chief Rabbinate of Israel is recognized by law as the supreme halakhic and spiritual authority for the Jewish people in Israel. The Chief Rabbinate Council assists the two chief rabbis, who alternate in its presidency. It has legal and administrative authority to organize religious...

 to determine who is Jewish
Who is a Jew?
"Who is a Jew?" is a basic question about Jewish identity and considerations of Jewish self-identification. The question is based in ideas about Jewish personhood which themselves have cultural, religious, genealogical, and personal dimensions...

; the Chief Rabbinate, following Orthodox practice, does not recognize the validity of conversions
Conversion to Judaism
Conversion to Judaism is a formal act undertaken by a non-Jewish person who wishes to be recognised as a full member of the Jewish community. A Jewish conversion is both a religious act and an expression of association with the Jewish people...

 performed by Conservative rabbis and will require a Jew who was converted by a Conservative rabbi to undergo a second, Orthodox conversion to be regarded as a Jew for marriage and other purposes.

Notable figures

  • Jacob B. Agus
    Jacob B. Agus
    Jacob B. Agus was a liberal Conservative rabbi and theologian who played a key role in the Conservative Rabbinical Assembly.- Life :...

  • Philip R. Alstat
    Philip R. Alstat
    Philip Reis Alstat was a well-known American Conservative rabbi, teacher, chaplain, speaker and writer. Born in Kaunas , Lithuania, he came to the United States in 1898, studying at City College of New York , Columbia University , and the Jewish Theological Seminary of America , where he received...

  • Bradley Shavit Artson
    Bradley Shavit Artson
    Bradley Shavit Artson is an American rabbi, author, speaker, and the occupant of the Abner and Roslyn Goldstine Dean's Chair of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at the American Jewish University in Los Angeles, California, where he is Vice-President...

  • Ben Zion Bokser
    Ben Zion Bokser
    -Biography:Bokser was born in Lubomi, Poland, and emigrated to the United States at the age of 13 in 1920. He attended City College of New York and Rabbi Isaac Elhanan Theological Seminary, followed by the Jewish Theological Seminary of America and Columbia University...

  • Elliot N. Dorff
    Elliot N. Dorff
    Elliot N. Dorff is a Conservative rabbi. He is a professor of Jewish theology at the American Jewish University in California , author and a bio-ethicist....

  • Arnold Eisen
    Arnold Eisen
    Arnold M. Eisen, Ph.D. is Chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary. Prior to this appointment, he served as the Koshland Professor of Jewish Culture and Religion and Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at Stanford University...

  • Louis Finkelstein
    Louis Finkelstein
    Rabbi Louis Finkelstein was a Talmud scholar, an expert in Jewish law, and a leader of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America and Conservative Judaism.-Brief Biography:...

  • Zecharias Frankel
    Zecharias Frankel
    Zecharias Frankel was a Bohemian-German rabbi and a historian who studied the historical development of Judaism. He was born in Prague and died in Breslau...

  • Neil Gillman
    Neil Gillman
    Neil Gillman is an American rabbi and philosopher, affiliated with Conservative Judaism.-Biography:Gillman was born in Quebec City, Canada. He graduated from McGill University in 1954. He was ordained as a rabbi at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in 1960. He received his Ph.D...

  • Louis Ginzberg
    Louis Ginzberg
    Rabbi Louis Ginzberg was a Talmudist and leading figure in the Conservative Movement of Judaism of the twentieth century. He was born on November 28, 1873, in Kovno, Lithuania; he died on November 11, 1953, in New York City.-Biographical background:...

  • Robert Gordis
    Robert Gordis
    Robert Gordis was a leading Conservative rabbi. He founded the first Conservative Jewish day school, served as President of the Rabbinical Assembly and the Synagogue Council of America, and was a professor at Jewish Theological Seminary of America from 1940 to 1992.He wrote one of the first...

  • Simon Greenberg
    Simon Greenberg
    Dr. Simon Greenberg, was a Russian born American Conservative rabbi and scholar. Greenberg was part of the senior management of many Jewish organizations in America. He helped to found a number of institutions, including the American Jewish University, of which he was the first President...

  • Jules Harlow
    Jules Harlow
    Jules Harlow is a rabbi and liturgist; son of Henry and Lena Lipman Harlow. He was born in Sioux City, Iowa.In 1952 at Morningside College in Sioux City he earned a B.A., and from there went to New York City to study in the Jewish Theological Seminary of America; here he became ordained as a rabbi...

  • Judith Hauptman
    Judith Hauptman
    Judith Rebecca Hauptman is a feminist Jewish Talmudic scholar. She grew up in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, New York, United States....

  • Abraham Joshua Heschel
    Abraham Joshua Heschel
    Abraham Joshua Heschel was a Polish-born American rabbi and one of the leading Jewish theologians and Jewish philosophers of the 20th century.-Biography:...

  • Louis Jacobs
    Louis Jacobs
    Rabbi Dr. Louis Jacobs was a Masorti rabbi, the first leader of Masorti Judaism in the United Kingdom, and a leading writer and thinker on Judaism...

  • Isaac Klein
    Isaac Klein
    Isaac Klein was a prominent rabbi and halakhic authority within Conservative Judaism.- Personal life, education, and career:...

  • Albert L. Lewis
    Albert L. Lewis
    Rabbi Albert L. Lewis was a leading American Conservative rabbi, scholar, and author; President of the Rabbinical Assembly , the international organization of Conservative rabbis; and Vice-President of The World Council of Synagogues...

  • David Lieber
    David Lieber
    Dr. David L. Lieber, rabbi and scholar, was president emeritus of the University of Judaism and the senior editor of the Etz Hayim Humash...

  • Saul Lieberman
    Saul Lieberman
    Saul Lieberman , also known as Rabbi Shaul Lieberman or The Gra"sh , was a rabbi and a scholar of Talmud...

  • Aaron L. Mackler
    Aaron L. Mackler
    Aaron L. Mackler is Associate Professor of Theology at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and an ordained Conservative Rabbi. He is a prolific author and expert in both the fields of Bioethics and Jewish law...

  • Marshall Meyer
    Marshall Meyer
    Rabbi Marshall T. Meyer was an American-born Conservative rabbi and a recognized international human rights activist. Marshall Theodore Meyer was born in New York City and raised in Norwich, Conn. He attended Dartmouth College, graduating in 1952...

  • Yochanan Muffs
    Yochanan Muffs
    Yochanan Muffs was an American-Jewish professor of the Bible and religion at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York.-Biography:...

  • Daniel S. Nevins
    Daniel S. Nevins
    Daniel S. Nevins is an American rabbi and an adherent of the Conservative Movement who was named the Dean of the Rabbinical School of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America on January 29, 2007, succeeding Rabbi William Lebeau...

  • Arnold E. Resnicoff
  • Joel Roth
    Joel Roth
    Joel Roth is a prominent American rabbi in the Rabbinical Assembly, which is the rabbinical body of Conservative Judaism. He is a former member and chair of the assembly's Committee on Jewish Law and Standards which deals with questions of Jewish law and tradition, and serves as the Louis...

  • Samuel Schafler
    Samuel Schafler
    Samuel Schafler was a New York-born rabbi, historian, editor and Jewish educator. He was Superintendent of the Board of Jewish Education of Metropolitan Chicago and President of Hebrew College in Brookline, Massachusetts....

  • Mathilde Roth Schechter
    Mathilde Roth Schechter
    Mathilde Roth Schechter was the American founder of the U.S. National Women's League of Conservative Judaism in 1918. She was married to Rabbi Dr. Solomon Schechter, a prominent rabbi who was chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America . She founded and taught at the Columbia...

  • Solomon Schechter
    Solomon Schechter
    Solomon Schechter was a Moldavian-born Romanian and English rabbi, academic scholar, and educator, most famous for his roles as founder and President of the United Synagogue of America, President of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, and architect of the American Conservative Jewish...

  • Ismar Schorsch
    Ismar Schorsch
    Ismar Schorsch had been the son of hanoveranian Rabbi Emil Schorsch. They both experienced the so called "Reichskristallnacht" in a different manner. Dr. Ismar Schorsch became the sixth Chancellor of The Jewish Theological Seminary and is the Rabbi Herman Abramovitz Professor of Jewish history...

  • Harold Schulweis
  • Seymour Siegel
    Seymour Siegel
    Seymour Siegel , often referred to as "an architect of Conservative Jewish theology," was an American Conservative rabbi, a Professor of Ethics and Theology at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America , the 1983-1984 Executive Director of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council," and an...

  • Gordon Tucker
    Gordon Tucker
    Gordon Tucker is a prominent rabbi, with a reputation as both a political and a theological liberal in Conservative Judaism. He currently has a position as senior rabbi of Temple Israel Center in White Plains, New York.-Education and career:...

  • Mordecai Waxman
    Mordecai Waxman
    Mordecai Waxman, KCSG , was a prominent rabbi in the Conservative Jewish movement for nearly 60 years. He served as rabbi of Temple Israel in Great Neck, New York for 55 years from 1947 through his death in 2002...

  • David Wolpe
    David Wolpe
    David J. Wolpe is an author, public speaker and rabbi of Sinai Temple . Named the "#1 Pulpit Rabbi in America" by Newsweek magazine , he is considered a leader of the Conservative Jewish movement. Wolpe was named one of The Forward's Forward 50, and one of the hundred most influential people in...


See also

  • American Jewish University
  • Committee on Jewish Law and Standards
    Committee on Jewish Law and Standards
    The Committee on Jewish Law and Standards is the central authority on halakha within Conservative Judaism; it is one of the most active and widely known committees on the Conservative movement's Rabbinical Assembly. Within the movement it is known as the CJLS...

  • Keshet Rabbis
    Keshet Rabbis
    Keshet-Rabbis is an organization of Conservative/Masorti rabbis which holds that LGBT Jews should be embraced as full, open members of all Conservative/Masorti congregations and institutions...

  • Liberal Judaism
    Liberal Judaism
    Liberal Judaism , is one of the two forms of Progressive Judaism found in the United Kingdom, the other being Reform Judaism. Liberal Judaism, which developed at the beginning of the twentieth century is less conservative than UK Reform Judaism...

  • Masorti
    Masorti
    The Masorti Movement is the name given to Conservative Judaism in Israel and other countries outside Canada and U.S. Masorti means "traditional" in Hebrew...

  • Orthodox Judaism
    Orthodox Judaism
    Orthodox Judaism , is the approach to Judaism which adheres to the traditional interpretation and application of the laws and ethics of the Torah as legislated in the Talmudic texts by the Sanhedrin and subsequently developed and applied by the later authorities known as the Gaonim, Rishonim, and...

  • Rabbinical Assembly
    Rabbinical Assembly
    The Rabbinical Assembly is the international association of Conservative rabbis. The RA was founded in 1901 to shape the ideology, programs, and practices of the Conservative movement. It publishes prayerbooks and books of Jewish interest, and oversees the work of the Committee on Jewish Law and...

  • Reform Judaism
    Reform Judaism
    Reform Judaism refers to various beliefs, practices and organizations associated with the Reform Jewish movement in North America, the United Kingdom and elsewhere. In general, it maintains that Judaism and Jewish traditions should be modernized and should be compatible with participation in the...

  • Role of women in Judaism
    Role of women in Judaism
    The role of women in Judaism is determined by the Hebrew Bible, the Oral Law , by custom, and by non-religious cultural factors...

  • United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism
    United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism
    The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism is the primary organization of synagogues practicing Conservative Judaism in North America...

  • United Synagogue Youth
    United Synagogue Youth
    United Synagogue Youth is the youth movement of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism. USY operates in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The goal of the movement is to bring Jewish teenagers closer to Judaism and Israel through learning and social interaction...

  • Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies
    Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies
    The Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, informally known as the "Ziegler School" or simply "Ziegler", is the graduate program of study leading to Ordination as Conservative Rabbis at the American Jewish University...


Further reading

  • Conservative Judaism: An American Religious Movement. Marshall Sklare. University Press of America (Reprint edition), 1985.
  • Conservative Judaism: Our Ancestors To Our Descendants (Revised Edition), Elliot N. Dorff, United Synagogue New York, 1996
  • The Conservative Movement in Judaism: Dilemmas and Opportunities, Daniel J. Elazar, Real Mintz Geffen, SUNY Press, 2000
  • Conservative Judaism: The New Century, Neil Gillman, Behrman House 1993
  • Halakha For Our Time: A Conservative Approach To Jewish Law, David Golinkin, United Synagogue, 1991
  • A Guide to Jewish Religious Practice, Isaac Klein, JTS Press, New York, 1992
  • Conservative Judaism in America: A Biographical Dictionary and Sourcebook, Pamela S. Nadell, Greenwood Press, NY 1988
  • Emet Ve-Emunah: Statement of Principles of Conservative Judaism, Ed. Robert Gordis, JTS, New York, 1988
  • Etz Hayim: A Torah Commentary, Ed. David Lieber, Jules Harlow
    Jules Harlow
    Jules Harlow is a rabbi and liturgist; son of Henry and Lena Lipman Harlow. He was born in Sioux City, Iowa.In 1952 at Morningside College in Sioux City he earned a B.A., and from there went to New York City to study in the Jewish Theological Seminary of America; here he became ordained as a rabbi...

    , Chaim Potok
    Chaim Potok
    Chaim Potok was an American Jewish author and rabbi. Potok is most famous for his first book The Chosen, a 1967 novel which was listed on The New York Times’ best seller list for 39 weeks and sold more than 3,400,000 copies.-Biography :Herman Harold Potok was born in The Bronx, New York City, to...

     and Harold Kushner
    Harold Kushner
    Rabbi Harold Samuel Kushner is a prominent American rabbi aligned with the progressive wing of Conservative Judaism, and a popular author.- Education :...

    , The Jewish Publication Society, NY, 2001
  • Jews in the Center: Conservative Synagogues and Their Members. Jack Wertheimer (Editor). Rutgers University Press, 2000.
  • Eight Up: The College Years, Survey of Conservative Jewish youth from middle school to college. Ariela Keysar and Barry Kosmin

Official Statements


Other Resources