Conservative Judaism

Standing Again at Sinai

Too many Conservative Jewish synagogues and institutions – the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism included – have forgotten the passion, the joy, and even the accessibility of Shavuot.

05/27/2011
Special to the Jewish Week

One of Judaism’s most profound ideas is the notion that each year at Shavuot each of us stands at Mount Sinai, poised to receive the Torah as if for the first time. The holiday, in other words, is an annual renewal of the relationship we Jews as a people experience with God through Torah.

With the RA in Las Vegas: Beyond the Punchlines

04/01/2011
Special to the Jewish Week

On Sunday through Thursday of this week, hundreds of my colleagues in the Rabbinical Assembly and I gathered at our international convention, held this year in Las Vegas.  The Rabbinical Assembly is the professional organization of Conservative rabbis around the world.  In addition to my work as the rabbi of The Forest Hills Jewish Center, I currently serve as the RA's Vice-President, and am slated to assume the Presidency in another year.

Rabbi Gerald Skolnik

Talking To Conservative Rabbis: What’s In A ‘Movement’?

03/29/2011
Special To The Jewish Week

Since the beginning of January, I have been on a tour of North America and have seen over 400 Conservative rabbis face-to-face or conducted extensive phone interviews with them.

What am I looking for?

I have been reaching out to my colleagues with the question: “As a rabbi, what are you trying to accomplish in your community? How does your Torah inspire your community to bring change in their lives and the world?” In the aggregate, their stories are a lens on the Conservative movement today.

Talking To Conservative Rabbis: What’s In A ‘Movement’?

03/22/2011
Special To The Jewish Week

Since the beginning of January, I have been on a tour of North America and have seen over 400 Conservative rabbis face-to-face or conducted extensive phone interviews with them.

What am I looking for?

I have been reaching out to my colleagues with the question: “As a rabbi, what are you are trying to accomplish in your community? How does your Torah inspire your community to bring change in their lives and the world?” In the aggregate, their stories are a lens on the Conservative movement today.

The Evolving Religious World and Conservative Judaism's Challenge

02/11/2011
Special to the Jewish Week

There is a great deal of talk swirling around about my movement- the Conservative movement- and its state of being. The lead article in this week’s print edition of The Jewish Week reports on a new strategic plan for the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, and the changes that it is intending to make in both its organizational structure and sphere of operations. The article implies- not too subtly- that the proposed changes reflect an organization, and a movement, in crisis.

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik

United Synagogue Turns Inward

New focus on member synagogues proposed along with outreach to non-traditional minyans.

02/08/2011
Staff Writer

Faced with a declining membership, an increasing number of Jews who shun synagogue affiliation and the movement’s “best and brightest” migrating to post-denominational or Modern Orthodox settings, the congregational arm of Conservative Judaism is seeking to reinvent itself.

Pushback From Some Orthodox Rabbis On Brain-Death Ruling

Major players uphold former ruling; RCA seeks to clarify its non-position; UK rabbinate rejects brain-death criteria.

01/11/2011
Staff Writer

A panel of Conservative rabbis, faced with two well-founded conflicting positions of Jewish law regarding same-sex commitment ceremonies, ruled in 2006 that both were valid opinions.

Faced with two well-founded positions of Jewish law on when death occurs for the purpose of organ donations, the country’s major Modern Orthodox rabbinic group has similarly ruled that both brain-stem death and the cessation of heartbeat are valid opinions.

In both cases, the two movements left it to their fellow clergy members to determine for themselves which opinion to follow.

Rabbi Dov Linzer, left, RCA’s Rabbi Shmuel Goldin.

Remembering Debbie Friedman

01/10/2011
Special to the Jewish Week

To the many thousands of words of tribute that have been written about Debbie Friedman this week as the Jewish world mourns her untimely death, I humbly add these few…

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik

Conservative Judaism's New ‘Context’ For Adult Ed

JTS rolls out ambitious curriculum that resembles the Me’ah program.

09/28/2010
Associate Editor

This fall, the Conservative movement’s Jewish Theological Seminary expects to enroll several hundred new students, most of whom will never actually walk through its Upper Manhattan doors.

JTS’ Context course is similar to the Florence Melton Adult Mini-School, above, a program that has a loyal following yet is more

RCA: Bill Is Not Matter For American Liberals

07/20/2010
Staff Writer

While the Reform and Conservative movements here mounted campaigns to convince Israeli lawmakers to vote against the proposed conversion bill, the largest group of Orthodox rabbis here said American Jews should keep out of internal Israeli matters. 

“The legislation is designed to change nothing regarding North American Jewish issues, a matter which in any event is far less significant to the State of Israel and its citizens than the undoubted benefits that the bill promises,” said the statement by the Rabbinical Council of America.

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