Conservative Judaism

United Synagogue Turns Inward

New focus on member synagogues proposed along with outreach to non-traditional minyans.
02/07/2011 - 19:00
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.
01/10/2011 - 19:00
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

01/09/2011 - 19:00
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.
09/27/2010 - 20:00
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

07/19/2010 - 20:00
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.

World Zionist Congress: There Has to be a Better Way

06/17/2010 - 20:00
Special to the Jewish Week

I probably should wait a few days before writing this article. It would, undoubtedly, come out much less hot and bothered if I did. But deadlines being what they are, I am obliged to write it now. I apologize in advance- I think- if it offends certain sensibilities...

Rabbi Gerald Skolnik

Mom's Bat Mitzvah

In a group ceremony, women enjoy a belated, but gratifying, rite of passage.

06/17/2008 - 20:00
Editorial Intern

Bonnie Panzok is just trying to catch up with her children.

When Panzok sent her kids to Jewish day school to get the education she never got, she watched as their knowledge grew exponentially and surpassed her own. But now, Panzok, after a crash course in Jewish history and rituals, has soared ahead, filling in the gaps in her own Jewish learning.

Sixteen women from Temple Gates of Prayer in Flushing studied together for two years in preparation for their b’not mitzvah.

Of Learning and Teaching

05/27/2010 - 20:00
Special to the Jewish Week

I spent the past week at the annual convention of the Rabbinical Assembly, the international organization of Conservative rabbis. This year, it was held at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City, the academy from which the overwhelming percentage of RA members were graduated and ordained.

Rabbi Gerald Skolnik

Ethical Kosher Seal Nearing Marketplace for Conservative Jews

Conservative movement’s ambitious ‘Magen Tzedek’ in testing stages, hoping to have certified products on store shelves within year.
05/24/2010 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

With the trials of Sholom Rubashkin, the former CEO of the Agriprocessors kosher slaughterhouse in Postville, Iowa, still looming large over the kosher food industry, the Conservative movement is ready to make its mark on a field that is dominated by Orthodox companies.

After years of discussion and planning, the “Magen Tzedek” — which the Conservative movement calls the world’s first Jewish ethical certification seal — will complete beta testing with two food companies by the end of 2010.

Rabbi Morris Allen heads up the Conservative movement’s Hekhsher Tzedek commission.

Soulful Approach

05/24/2010 - 20:00

Chancellor Arnold Eisen often states that JTS is the center of the Conservative world (“JTS Chancellor Charting New Course For Outreach,” May 21). He dismisses the efforts and results that Rabbi Bradley Artson of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in Los Angeles has realized.

Gary Rosenblatt’s article spoke of combining “heart” and “head.” There is a difference between the two schools: whereas JTS aims for the head, the Ziegler School goes directly to the heart.

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