First there was the Conservative movement’s October biennial conference, billed as “the conversation of the century” and opened up to presenters from outside the movement.
Of late, it’s been depressing to be a Conservative Jew. News of demographic and organizational challenges have fed a frenzy of articles delighting in our imminent demise.
Hillel at UCLA enjoys a good relationship with the local Chabad (“Sharing the Next Gen — Hillel and Chabad on Campus,” Oct. 25). The unconditional love they exhibit is indeed laudable, and it is true that Chabad’s free Friday night dinners influenced us to also offer our dinners for free
“Who is a Jew?” is a uniquely Jewish question. It is a question that epitomizes the Jewish people and culture. It is a philosophical question that embodies the history of Jewish debate. It is a question of belonging that symbolizes Jews as a minority.
As almost every Jew knows by now, according to major reports on American Jewry — such as the most recent and most highly regarded Pew report — Orthodoxy is growing, while Conservative and Reform Judaism are shrinking.
I will lift my eyes to the mountains from where my help comes. My help comes from the Holy One who makes heaven and earth (Ps 121: 1-2). We Conservative/Masorti Jews have forgotten to lift up our eyes. We have of late become a little too defensive, as if we could refute our challenges through debating points.
In a meeting with U.S. Jewish leaders, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said he was more hopeful now for peace than he was in the mid-2000s.
Clarifying existing policy, the office of Israel’s deputy religious services minister said Israel’s state-sponsored mikvahs are open for use for Conservative and Reform conversions.
More than 500 rabbis and cantors urged the Boy Scouts of America to drop its ban on homosexual members when the youth group’s National Council convenes in Dallas this week.
There are a variety of options for how to begin the process, but all involve study with a rabbi. Some people study with an individual rabbi for a period of time, and other people enroll in group classes designed especially for converts.
The Jewish community reflects on the life of late Rabbi David Hartman.
Last year, I officiated at the first same-sex wedding in the 145-year history of my synagogue. For a Conservative congregation, this was quite a break with tradition.
President Obama's new gun control proposals drew broad Jewish communal support.
The congregational arm of the Conservative movement ran a cumulative budget deficit of more than $5 million over the past two years, JTA has learned, renewing longstanding concerns for the future of one of the movement's key institutional pillars.
Rabbi Irwin Groner, a former president of the Conservative movement's Rabbinical Assembly, has died.
Top figures from the Reform, Conservative and Orthodox movements joined an interfaith call for greater gun controls in the wake of last week's school massacre in Connecticut.
A Conservative Jewish day school will not renew its Boy Scouts charter because of the organization's policy excluding gay and lesbian adults as leaders.
Is it the individual citizen who is more important in a free society, or is it the government? It’s easy to see this as the philosophical choice during this election season: One side seems to favor the liberty of the individual, while the other favors the primacy of the government.
Some thoughts for Rosh Hashanah: If we took a vote on what trait we human beings most value, goodness would undoubtedly win. Certainly goodness is the trait that we most want everyone else to possess. But if we say we value goodness above everything else -- and surely Judaism does -- why aren't there more good people? A big reason is that it is easier to value other things -- including, and especially, positive things -- more than goodness. So it's much easier to be just about anything rather than good. It’s easier to be religious than to be good.
Whole barbecued pigs, cheerleaders and elegies to skinny-dipping farmers' daughters. That was the organized noise Sunday night at the opening bash of the Republican National Convention at Tropicana Field, the home of Major League Baseball's Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg.
It shouldn't have taken Todd Akin's crackpot contraception comment to alert us that Paul Ryan thinks rape is just another "method of conception."
More than 600 rabbis joined a campaign initiative called Rabbis for Obama. Obama for America announced Tuesday that Rabbis for Obama is designed to "engage and mobilize grassroots supporters."
Reform and Conservative rabbinical leaders called for increased gun controls in the wake of a spate of shootings.
In response to the Haiti earthquake in January 2010 and the Carmel forest fires in Israel in December 2010, members of Congregation Ner Tamid of South Bay, like so many others, wanted to donate money to help the victims. So, many of them directed donations through Rabbi Isaac Jeret’s discretionary fund.
In case you haven’t heard, Orthodox Judaism has pretty much taken over Jewish life on U.S. college campuses. I say this not because I’m smug and happy about it, but as a wake-up call to the Conservative and Reform branches to get their acts together.
Here is a truism we all already know: Jews are news. The fact is, no matter how tiny the American Jewish community might be — between 1.5 and 2 percent of the population — the battle for Jewish votes will be extensively reported and analyzed.
The Sidmans are among the lucky ones: Their Colorado Springs home is still standing, nearly untouched by the flames that left many of their neighbors' houses in ashes.
Sylvia Cuttler Ettenberg, a veteran Jewish educator and a founder of Camp Ramah, has died.
The Rabbinical Assembly’s Committee on Jewish Law and Standards -- which sets halachic policy for the Conservative movement -- has voted unanimously to provide the approximately 1,600 Conservative rabbis with guidelines on performing same-sex marriages.
Representatives of the Orthodox, Conservative and Reform movements renewed their appeals to President Obama to grant clemency to Jonathan Pollard.
Leaders of the Israeli Reform and Conservative movements sent a letter of complaint to the Israeli government charging that Israeli hotels discriminate against non-Orthodox Jews.
Eight percent of Israeli Jews define themselves as Conservative or Reform Jews, compared to just 7 percent of Israelis who define themselves as “Charedi” (ultra-Orthodox). Amazing?
It ordered the West Bank security fence rerouted because it cut through private Palestinian property. It overturned state-backed discrimination against Arab Israelis on issues of land distribution and ruled against the Israel Defense Forces' use of military methods deemed to cause "disproportionate" harm to Palestinian civilians. It overturned Israel’s ban against political parties said to be too "radical."
Larry Greenfield, a Los Angeles-area native, has been named national executive director of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs in Washington, D.C., JINSA president David Ganz has announced.
A recent trip of American Conservative (Masorti) Jews to Israel included a first for the country, and cuts to the heart of an issue that poses a problem for many American Jews – a mixed minyan for mincha at the Knesset synagogue.
The Susan B. Komen for the Cure foundation cut funding for Planned Parenthood breast cancer testing.
A Winnipeg synagogue is about to become the first Conservative shul in Canada to host a same-sex wedding ceremony. Shaarey Zedek Synagogue will be the scene on Jan. 21 for the "renewal" of marriage vows between two men wedded in a civil service in Vancouver in 2004, the Winnipeg Jewis Post and News reported.
I have come from Israel to the United States to witness the Republican candidates’ campaigns for the presidency. Earlier this week, I spent some time reporting from Iowa, including talking to Ron Paul supporters. Of those I met, first one must say they were all very courteous and nice. If Paul’s supporters — now we can start calling them voters — bear any grudge against Israel, they hide it well. At least the supporters here in Iowa do.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's conservative government came under attack on Tuesday for promoting legislation that critics said would weaken the independence of Israel's judiciary.
Two Republican presidential candidates said they would vote for Rep. Ron Paul if he wins the GOP nomination.
Do Conservative rabbis become more politically conservative on Israel as they grow older, or are older rabbis simply more right wing than younger rabbis when it comes to Israel?
The umbrella body for Conservative congregations will undergo a major restructuring that includes a significant staff reorganization and dues reductions.
The Conservative movement’s ethical kosher initiative may not have been intended as a wedge into the Orthodox monopoly over kosher supervision. But the planned rollout this summer of the Conservative-backed seal of ethical kosher production, the Magen Tzedek, coincides with an increase in the number of Conservative rabbis acting as kosher supervisors.
Listening to Conservative rabbis talk about their movement is like witnessing an intervention. They talk of “saving” Conservative Judaism – and sometimes they blame the parents when things go wrong. “Reform rabbis speak positively about their movement and less positively about their synagogue, while Conservative rabbis speak positively about their synagogue and less positively about their movement,” said Rabbi Stuart Weinblatt of B’nai Tzedek in Potomac, Md., paraphrasing a refrain he says he has heard often from Reform and Conservative colleagues.
Conservative Judaism is dying, I hear -- or at least according to the media. Not so. Please don't tell me that because North America's United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism has had its problems, that means Conservative/Masorti Judaism is declining around the Jewish world.
Up to 50 Conservative rabbis signed on to a religious responsa that says it is permissible to rent or sell homes to non-Jews in Israel. The statement, issued Monday, counters a rabbinic ruling signed by about 50 Israeli municipal rabbis that prohibits the same. Written by Schechter Institute President Rabbi David Golinkin, it examines the issue from biblical sources to modern opinions.
In Texas, the Tea Party passed its first Jewish test even before its legislators had been sworn in.
The Conservative movement has launched a campaign to raise awareness of the captivity of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.
The U.S. Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist movements are warning that a proposed Israeli conversion bill is “disastrous to the unity of the Jewish people.”
It began with a small ad placed in the Melbourne edition of the Australian Jewish News by John Rosenberg, a Jewish professor who liked neither the constraints of Orthodoxy nor the lack of tradition in Reform Judaism.
Rabbi Steven Wernick, religious leader of Adath Israel in Merion Station, has been tapped to be the next professional leader of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, the movement's congregational arm.