Much has been written about the gap between what the Conservative movement preaches and what its adherents practice (“The Mourning After: Pew’s Unheralded Surprise,” Opinion, Dec. 6). Generally, this has been interpreted to mean that Conservative Jews practiced “less” than the movement called for. I’d like to share a variation on this theme of the divide between “preach and practice.”
It used to simply annoy me when I studied at the Jewish Theological Seminary or was involved with United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism that many of the professional leaders of these Conservative organizations in their personal life participated primarily in Orthodox institutions; these included belonging to Orthodox synagogues, sending their children to Orthodox schools and camps, regularly participating in non-egalitarian minyans, etc. Now I recognize that it wasn’t simply annoying, but rather there was a price to be paid down the road by the Conservative movement when it repeatedly chose leaders who personally identified with Orthodox institutions and thus, did not “practice what they preached.”
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