Tagged Conservative movement

OP-ED The Conservative movement can, and should, welcome the intermarried

(JTA) — Contemporary Jewish life is graced by extraordinary blessing: We are the heirs of a Torah of compassion and justice that has grown ever more supple and vibrant because of the dynamic nature of halachah (Jewish law) and the opportunity to observe mitzvot (commandments). At the same time,… Read more »

Conservative movement proposes allowing non-Jews as synagogue members

Rabbi Steven Wernick, CEO of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, said the current standards don't make sense in today's world of intermarried couples actively participating in synagogue life. (Mike Diamond Photography)

  (JTA) — Responding to a rising number of interfaith families, Conservative synagogues will be voting on a measure from their umbrella body that would allow congregations to admit non-Jews as members. Currently, the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism’s Standards for Congregational Practice restrict synagogue membership to Jews. But the new language, which congregations… Read more »

Rabbi expelled from Conservative body for performing intermarriages

Rabbi Seymour Rosenbloom officiates at the wedding of his stepdaughter and her fiance in 2014. (Courtesy of Stefanie Fox)

NEW YORK (JTA) – Conservative Rabbi Seymour Rosenbloom has been expelled from the Rabbinical Assembly, the movement’s rabbis’ association, for performing interfaith weddings. An ordained Conservative rabbi for 44 years, Rosenbloom was expelled last month by unanimous vote, with abstentions, after a hearing of the R.A.’s Executive Council. Since… Read more »

Op-Ed: It’s time to allow Conservative rabbis to officiate at interfaith weddings

Seymour Rosenbloom

ELKINS PARK, Pa. (JTA) — The Conservative movement’s leadership must drop its ban on Conservative rabbis officiating at interfaith weddings — before it’s too late. The Rabbinical Assembly’s unequivocal rule is that a Conservative rabbi may not officiate at an intermarriage. But after 42 years as an active rabbi, during which… Read more »

Op-Ed: Conservative Judaism has just 2 viable options

CHICAGO (JTA) — The Conservative movement was once the very embodiment of what it meant to be an “American Jew.” As the 130th anniversary of the founding of its flagship Jewish Theological Seminary approaches in 2016, the centrist movement that historically straddled the polarities of Reform and Orthodox is struggling… Read more »

Op-Ed: For Conservative Jews, smaller numbers but steady engagement

Participants in the United Synagogue for Conservative Judaism’s centennial celebration in Baltimore in 2013. (Mike Diamond Photography)

NEW YORK (JTA) – When delegates to the biennial convention of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism meet next week near Chicago, they will be seeking a way forward for a movement challenged by numerical decline but holding steady in Jewish engagement. These are the main overall trends that emerge… Read more »

On rights of non-Orthodox rabbis in Israel, where’s the outrage?

The good news is in: Rabbi Avi Weiss’ conversions will be accepted in Israel. I am glad to see that the religious integrity and leadership of Rabbi Weiss has been acknowledged. Undoubtedly, this course correction on the part of the Israeli Chief Rabbinate is due in part to the… Read more »

Rabbis raised with Christmas: Growing number come from intermarriages

NEW YORK (JTA) — When Eric Woodward started rabbinical school at the Conservative movement’s Jewish Theological Seminary, he assumed he would be be the only student who grew up celebrating Christmas along with Hanukkah. But midway through his training, when Woodward started a discussion group for students of interfaith… Read more »

Conservative synagogues crack open door to intermarried families

(Forward) — In June, after a year of internal discussion, Temple Beth Hillel-Beth El, a Conservative synagogue just outside Philadelphia, made a tiny amendment to its constitution: It redefined household membership to apply to families with one Jewish parent as well as those with two. Though the amendment impacted… Read more »

Wave of new holiday prayer books changing the ways to worship

The Koren and "Lev Shalem" machzors are among the many High Holiday prayer books that have been published in the past year. (David A.M. Wilensky)

SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. (JTA) — New Jewish prayer books typically come in waves, the rarest of which bring new High Holidays prayer books, or machzors. The current wave has seen five new machzorim in a one-year span. Following on the heels of last year’s release of the official Conservative… Read more »

Op-Ed: Implementing a historic mandate for deaf Jews

NEW YORK (JTA) — 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… Read more »