Jewish Journal

Tag: Conservative Judaism

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  • Rice and beans for Ashkenazi Jews on Passover?

    By Jared Sichel

    April 13, 2016 | 12:05 pm

    Seder tables in Conservative Jewish homes may look different this Passover, and it’s not because of a new popular cookbook or changes to the haggadah

    It’s because the Conservative movement has officially decided that kitniyot — which include common foods such as rice, corn and...

  • Rabbis expand the Passover menu — but will Conservative Jews bite?

    April 12, 2016 | 1:32 pm

    On Passover, Lynne Sandler will be passing on the beans and rice.

    Sandler, a member of Conservative Agudas Achim Congregation in Alexandria, Virginia, said she won’t take advantage of her movement’s ruling in December that permits eating a category of food called kitniyot that...

  • Audit to shed light on Conservative Judaism

    By Ryan Torok

    February 3, 2016 | 1:28 pm

    It’s no secret that Conservative Judaism faces significant challenges, but officials within the movement hope an audit of close to 1,000 people by the branding firm Good Omen — expected to be released in the coming weeks — will help pump new life into it. 

    “We’re in the final...

  • Branding Conservative Judaism

    By David Suissa

    January 20, 2016 | 11:01 am

    In the marketing world, being “in the middle” can be a curse, because it’s too easy for people to perceive that middle as wishy-washy. That’s why good advertising agencies are so valuable-- they know how to position brands for maximum appeal. Often, the difference between a curse...

  • Conservative Judaism — many options, unlimited possibilities

    January 11, 2016 | 4:07 pm

    When I was a law student, I took a course by a renowned professor who warned that if a prosecutor ever told us that our client only had two choices, we should walk away from the bargaining table. His point: There are always more options.

    In a recent JTA Op-Ed, law professor...

  • Why I take personally chief rabbi’s criticism of non-Orthodox school visit

    December 14, 2015 | 2:01 pm

    At the Jewish Federations of North America General Assembly this year, it was made clear that a healthy Jewish community does not have to have unanimity on all issues, but we do need to be unified and, above all else, have civility in our discourse.

    It was obvious this week that...

  • Study: Conservative shuls spend on operations at expense of engagement

    November 30, 2015 | 1:44 pm

    Conservative Jewish synagogues are focused more on operations than youth engagement, and are more than twice as likely to have a cantor than an associate rabbi, a new survey of synagogue staffing found.

    About 50 percent of Conservative synagogues employ a youth director, but in...

  • Conservative Judaism seeks its true name

    By Rabbi David Wolpe

    November 24, 2015 | 8:34 am

    This article originally appeared on Huffington Post.

    I grew up as a Conservative Jew, my father a Conservative Rabbi. The appellation "conservative" was not a perfect fit for the Judaism I learned as a child. Conserving ancient traditions was essential, to be sure, but the...

  • Amid identity crisis, Conservative Jews pay for rebranding

    November 20, 2015 | 11:47 am

    Conservative Judaism is at a crossroads.

    The movement is committed to Jewish tradition, but it’s seeing a growing number of its young people walk out the door — most often to Reform Judaism.

    American Jews who self-identify as Conservative increasingly are leading lives at odds...

  • On Conservative Judaism, why all the talk about failure?

    October 12, 2015 | 3:33 pm

    “In the United States, ‘Conservative Judaism’ is a synonym for failure.” So writes the Israeli journalist Yair Ettinger after interviewing a spectrum of American Jewish religious leaders. If, as it seems, this judgment has become the new conventional wisdom, we reject it as both...

  • The shrinking Jewish Middle — and how to expand it

    November 10, 2014 | 2:42 pm

    As the Jewish Federations of North America holds its annual General Assembly this week, newly emerging evidence from the Pew Research Center’s 2013 “Portrait of American Jewry” points to enormous challenges facing federations, Jewish philanthropy and organized Jewish life, more...

  • Converting: The best decision of her life

    March 7, 2013 | 3:34 am

    When Donna Levine told her mother she had converted, the response was that she would burn in hell. A friend encouraged Levine to join Jews for Jesus. She had to explain to this friend that, unfortunately, that wouldn’t work.

    “I told her that if you are really serious about being...

  • USY rally against guns

    By Jonah Lowenfeld

    January 2, 2013 | 1:08 pm

    On Dec. 25, at its international convention in Boston, United Synagogue Youth (USY), the Conservative movement’s 20,000-member youth group, elected Michael Sacks, a senior at Sierra Canyon School in Chatsworth, as its new international president. 

    The next day, Sacks and 30 other...

  • Q&A With Rabbi Elliot Dorff

    By Julie Gruenbaum Fax

    September 12, 2012 | 2:21 pm

    In the age of 140-character tweets and 38-second video clips, the Conservative movement is putting its foot down with a nearly 1,000-page reference tome, “The Observant Life: The Wisdom of Conservative Judaism for Contemporary Jews.” The book, published by the Rabbinical Assembly...

  • VIDEO / Israel and the Diaspora: Two sides of the same coin?

    By Shmuel Rosner

    June 27, 2012 | 11:47 am

    Yesterday, I hosted a panel on Israel and the Diaspora at the Jewish Agency Assembly in Jerusalem. Joining me were Ed Rettig, the director of the Israel/Middle East office at the American Jewish Committee; Solly Sacks, the director-general of the World Mizrahi Movement and member of...

  • Back to ‘kishkes’: Obama defends his Israel commitments, touts his Jewish ties

    May 31, 2012 | 10:24 am

    The so-called “kishkes issue”—what does President Obama, deep down, really feel about Israel—is now being addressed at the highest level by Obama himself.

    Obama dropped in on a White House meeting Tuesday of lay and rabbinical leaders of the Conservative Judaism and Jack Lew,...

  • When there are no more excuses for Israel’s Reform

    By Shmuel Rosner

    May 30, 2012 | 11:09 am

    For many long years, the liberal Jewish movements in Israel – that is, Reform and ‎Conservative – have used court petitions to fight their position in the Israeli pecking order. ‎More than in the houses of prayer, they have invested their energy in the houses of law; inch by...

  • Gay rabbis, God’s will, and Conservative Judaism

    By Mark Paredes

    May 14, 2012 | 12:42 am

    But as for thee, stand thou here by me, and I will speak unto thee all the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgments, which thou shalt teach them, that they may do them in the land which I give them to possess it.

    Ye shall observe to do therefore as the Lord your God hath...

  • ‘Lack of recognition in Israel raises some question about the legitimacy of Reform and Conservative’

    By Shmuel Rosner

    March 9, 2012 | 6:07 pm

    Professor Ephraim Tabory of Bar-Ilan University discusses Jewish life in Israel.

    The particular dress of Haredi men and women makes it hard to miss a Haredi Jew. Their presence in Israeli society is perceptually very salient. Their life style also dictates living together in...

  • Conservative and Reform Jews vs. the AVI CHAI Foundation

    By Shmuel Rosner

    February 29, 2012 | 11:32 am

    Since I posted last week’s story about the number of Israelis identifying themselves as Conservative and Reform Jews, I’ve been bombarded with emails and calls from people (mostly rabbis) who suspect that there is something fishy about the Guttman report. In various ways they have...

  • Implementing a historic mandate for deaf Jews

    June 27, 2011 | 6:34 pm

    The Conservative movement, through its Committee on Jewish Law and Standards, has taken a historic step in acknowledging that deaf and hard-of-hearing people are entitled to stand with the Jewish community as equals. Not only did the law committee vote to recognize the users of sign...

  • At Conservative rabbis’ confab, it’s not about the organization, but the future

    By Sue Fishkoff

    March 29, 2011 | 5:03 pm

    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...

  • Conservative seminary in Israel pushes pro-gay event off campus

    By Ben Harris

    March 26, 2008 | 6:00 pm

    In a sign of continuing friction among Conservative Jews over the issue of homosexuality, a ceremony in Jerusalem to mark the first anniversary of the decision to admit gays to the Jewish Theological Seminary was held away from the campus of the movement's main educational...
  • The human touch of Harold Kushner

    By Ben Harris

    March 20, 2008 | 6:00 pm

    At 72, Rabbi Harold Kushner, the best-selling author of "When Bad Things Happen to Good People," leads a life that most of his rabbinic colleagues can only dream of.

    Having left the full-time rabbinate more than two decades ago, his days are largely spent writing and lecturing -- or...

  • Conservatives’ New Dish

    By David Suissa

    September 20, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    I read a remarkable quote a few days ago from a prominent member of the Conservative movement: "We've been searching for an identity for a hundred years now."

    A hundred years?

    In the business world, products can fail in a year or two if they don't have an identity. But in religion,...

  • Passing the Torch

    December 14, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    Passing the Torch -- Binah There...

    Roz Goldstine and Ethel W. Schwartz received the prestigious Women's League for Conservative Judaism's Torah Fund Binah Award at a luncheon in Philadelphia.

    The event hosted 1,300 women from across the country and featured Arnold M. Eisen,...

  • Court Seeks to Ease Way for Conversions

    By Amy Klein

    June 1, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    When Susanne Shier first heard about the mikvah, the ritual immersion bath that's part of the conversion process, she was a bit leery.

    "I got nervous about it," she told The Journal before her immersion in March.

    But she relaxed when she toured the blue-tiled, vanilla-scented warm...

  • Letters

    December 22, 2005 | 7:00 pm

    "Covenantal Judaism"

    Once upon a time, not so long ago, the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) was arguably the leading Jewish intellectual institution in the United States. It was home to a cadre of scholars whose research and publications in the areas of Bible, Talmud, history and...

  • Wolpe Out of the Running

    By Amy Klein

    December 8, 2005 | 7:00 pm

    Rabbi David Wolpe has removed himself from consideration for the job of leading the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) in New York. Wolpe, of Sinai Temple in Westwood, had been widely considered a frontrunner for chancellor at JTS, the central institution in Conservative Judaism.


  • A Manifesto for the Future

    By Rabbi David Wolpe

    December 1, 2005 | 7:00 pm

    In early November, I spoke at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York. The topic was "The Future of Conservative Judaism." I prepared for the talk by asking colleagues, friends and congregants to define Conservative Judaism in one sentence. It was a dispiriting experience.


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