Conservative Judaism

Changing Conservative Judaism

A movement looking to the future finds some rabbinical role models in its own synagogues.

03/04/2014
Special To The Jewish Week
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We can complain about the shrinking of the Conservative movement. And we can take pride in Conservative successes of the past. But if what we have been doing until now is not sufficient for the future, what can we change?

Judith Hauptman

What Went Wrong With Conservative Judaism?

02/25/2014
Special To The Jewish Week
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The findings of the recent study of American Jews by the Pew Research Center have generated a lot of ink, not the least in responses from Jewish religious movements. We have heard the Orthodox expressions of the Church Triumphant. We have witnessed the scurrying for cover on the part of some other groups. In the Conservative world, a number of the movement’s leaders have offered either aggressive programming to counter the movement’s decline, or vigorous cheerleading.

Jerome A. Chanes

What Conservative Judaism Has To Offer

02/11/2014
Special To The Jewish Week
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It’s hard to be in the middle. Politically, the far right has put mainstream Republicans on the defensive, and the left has sent centrist Democrats scurrying to identify with populism. Religiously, fundamentalism on the right has opposed any form of change, and an aggressive atheism on the left has mounted a war against traditional beliefs. Yet, while the extremes may sometimes foment revolutions, the middle keeps society going. And the middle is the hardest place to be.

Francine Klagsbrun

Schechter Schools Considering Embracing Patrilineal Descent

11/25/2013
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Synagogues aren’t the only institutions in the Conservative movement changing their policies to become more welcoming to non-Jews and interfaith families.

A L’Chaim To Conservative Judaism

JTS chancellor: ‘Complacency’ and ‘despair’ … ‘are forbidden;' ‘both are distractions from the task at hand.’

11/22/2013
Special To The Jewish Week
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I’ve spent the better part of my adult life as a scholar of American Judaism, with a special focus on figures at the center of Conservative Judaism, and I’ve spent most of those years enjoying the benefits of Conservative Jewish institutions, conversations and communities.

Chancellor Arnold M. Eisen

Movements Announce Cross-Denominational Synagogue Inclusion Effort

The Reform, Reconstructionist, Orthodox and Conservative movements announced on Monday a plan for collaborating to work toward the increased inclusion of people with disabilities in synagogues.

Rabbi Lynne Landsberg of the URJ has helped to spearhead the Hineinu initiative.

Listen To The Music Of Prayer

08/09/2013
Jewish Week Online Columnist
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Although those who daven (pray) regularly rarely think of it in these terms because they take it so for granted, music plays an irreducibly crucial role in Jewish prayer 

On the most basic level, if the proper nusach, or musical mode, is being used by a Hazzan or other prayer leader, a knowledgeable Jew will, immediately upon entering a synagogue prayer service, be able to tell whether it is a Shabbat, holiday, or weekday, or, for that matter, one of the High Holidays.  The words that make up our prayer book are not “said,” per se, but chanted, according to traditional customs and melodies that often date back thousands of years.

Rabbi Gerald Skolnik is spiritual leader of the Forest Hills Jewish Center.

Conservative Synagogue Group $5.7 Million In Debt, According To Audit

United Synagogue hopes to balance budget in two years through cuts, fundraising and membership hike.

01/08/2013

The congregational arm of the Conservative movement ran a cumulative budget deficit of more than $5 million over the past two years, JTA has learned, renewing longstanding concerns for the future of one of the movement's key institutional pillars.

“Let Them Come to Boston!”

12/28/2012
Online Jewish Week Columnist

In 1963, the late President John F. Kennedy delivered one of the most stirring and memorable speeches of his brief presidency to a throng of hundreds of thousands of Germans gathered in Berlin. 

Rabbi Gerald Skolnik

Conservatives Walking Intermarriage Tightrope

In two new books and a poll, the middle movement struggles to find balance on thorny issue.

10/10/2012
Associate Editor

It’s long been a truism that, of the major streams of American Judaism, the Conservative movement is the one with the largest gap between bima and pew.

Where Conservative rabbis often resemble Modern Orthodox ones in their personal ritual observance — Shabbat, kashrut and so on — the movement’s rank and file tend to behave more like their peers at Reform congregations.

Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs Rabbi Charles Simon.
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