Conservative Judaism

RCA: Bill Is Not Matter For American Liberals

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

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.

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

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.

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


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.

Conservative Judaism: Broadening The Tent


Kudos to Arnold Eisen for recognizing the opportunity to broaden the Conservative tent and provide leadership to a growing number of people who do not feel a denominational affiliation should trump their own sense of values and Jewish identity (“JTS Chancellor Charting New Course For Outreach,” May 21).

Beefing Up Eco-Kosher

As Conservative movement seeks ethical seal, a grass-roots (and grass-fed) meat market is taking shape.

Associate Editor

Devora Kimelman-Block’s KOL Foods is quickly becoming the biggest player in the ethical kosher meat world.Rabbi Natan Margalit has become a seasoned chicken plucker. Simon Feil’s Brooklyn freezer is stuffed with beef cuts — including unanticipated non-kosher ones he cannot eat. And Devora Kimelman-Block, a onetime vegetarian, is quickly becoming the Jeff Bezos of kosher, free-range organic meat — taking Web orders and shipping beef, lamb and chicken all over the East Coast.

Conservatives Seek Kosher Input

Staff Writer
A local Conservative leader says his movement has been left out of the loop as state legislators and Gov. George Pataki set out to draft new kosher-consumer legislation to replace the law struck down by federal courts because it favored Orthodox standards. "We have reached out to [Assembly Speaker Sheldon] Silver's office and Pataki's office as well as Attorney General [Eliot] Spitzer's office, indicating that we have not been part of this process," said Bruce Greenfield, president of the Metropolitan Region of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism.

Adrift Branch Searches Anew For An Anchor

Staff Writer
In the face of criticism that contradictory rulings on gay ordination have left the Conservative movement ideologically adrift, a new approach suggested by a young Chicago rabbi edges toward a new middle ground in an attempt to anchor the movement. Trying to bridge the traditional view that the Torah is infallible with the liberal one that stresses critical analysis of sacred texts, Rabbi Elliot Cosgrove argues that there is sufficient common ground to meld the two positions into a theologically coherent message, one seen as crucial for the continuation of the movement.
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