JTS chancellor: ‘Complacency’ and ‘despair’ … ‘are forbidden;' ‘both are distractions from the task at hand.’
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.
The Red Sox were on the precipice of a sweep of the 2004 World Series, and all the TV commentators could focus on during in Game 4 was when their team would blow it. After Boston won that night, fans complained that the media ignored the excitement and action on the field because of their predetermined story frame. What the media also failed to notice was the bigger picture — in that game, the Red Sox established a strong organization that was built to compete for the foreseeable future.
In advance of last week’s Biennial Convention of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism in Baltimore, I attended a pre-convention Shabbaton- a kind of optional add-on for those who were inclined. (My wife had intended to come, but sadly, Amtrakhad other plans). As President of the Rabbinical Assembly, I thought it was an important opportunity to “reach across the aisle,” if you will, and spend Shabbat with my friends and colleagues in the synagogue arm of the Conservative movement.
Middle movement grapples with a way forward at centennial convention.
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Baltimore — United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism was marking its 100th birthday, but while recent survey findings about the movement were sobering, the spirit of the convention itself, dubbed “The Conversation of the Century,” was upbeat in focusing more on the future than the past.
BALTIMORE — At their biennial convention, Conservative Jewish leaders called for renewing the “vital religious center” of American Judaism in the wake of numerous studies showing their movement is shrinking.
Merger with Hispanic Evangelical church is lifeline for Smithtown Conservative congregation.
If it’s a sign of the times, boy, is it a doozy.
The sign at the entrance to Temple Beth Shalom of Smithtown, at first glance, seems standard-issue; it stands about six feet high, with white letters (announcing the times of services) on a black background inside a glass frame.
But look again, and the bottom part of the sign holds a revelation, so to speak. “JCL,” the sign announces in bright colors, an orange flame inside the curve of the C — Jesus Christ Lives. And underneath that the Spanish version: Ministerio Jesuchristo Vive, a fast-growing Evangelical Christian church.
Hot dairy meals at non-kosher restaurants should follow certain protocols, law committee says. Will anyone comply?
In 1952, when the Conservative movement was rapidly becoming America’s largest Jewish denomination, its Committee on Jewish Law and Standards issued this opinion: “Fish dinners in non-kosher eating places shall not be construed as a violation of the dietary laws.”
However, that opinion was not the final or official position, the Law Committee noted at the time, promising to release more details soon.
It seems that every significant study of the Jewish people is released while we read from the Book of Numbers, the book that derives its English name from the first official census of the Jewish people. It’s as if counting the Jewish people is imbedded in our DNA. That census, conducted 3,000-plus years ago, however, was much more limited in scope: Only men age 20 and older who are able to go to war (Numbers 1:3) were to be counted. From the Torah’s census of 603,550 Israelites of age for war, scholars estimate that the total population was in the 2.5 million range.