Global, Religion

Conservatives Growing More Conservative?

The JTA reports,

Conventional wisdom holds that the Conservative movement has drifted to the left over the past 20 years. Now some are asking whether members of the movement’s more traditional wing will jump ship in favor of the UTJ’s more halachah-centered ideology.
Over the years, the Conservative movement has made moves that some have seen as contravening traditional rabbinic Jewish law.
In 1960, for example, the movement voted to allow driving to its synagogues on Shabbat and holidays. Twenty years ago, it began ordaining female rabbis.
Since then it has wrestled with the issue of ordaining gay rabbis, a move many insiders say is just a matter of time. Now there’s [Rabbi Neil] Gillman’s call [to stop calling Conservative Judaism halakhic], made in his keynote speech to the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism’s biennial conference in December.
Will the slow move to the left drive more traditional Conservative Jews into the UTJ’s arms? Not in great numbers, UTJ insiders and observers say.
“I do suspect that there will be a few rabbis and possibly some congregations that will move into the camp of the UTJ,” said Rabbi Ronald Price, the UTJ’s executive vice president. But, he added, “even though it’s a turning point for the Conservative movement, I don’t think there will be a sea change in terms of our growth.”

Full story.

2 thoughts on “Conservatives Growing More Conservative?

  1. “Now there’s [Rabbi Neil] Gillman’s call [to stop calling Conservative Judaism halakhic], ”
    A few of us invited Gillman to speak at McGill (’96-ish). We loved “Sacred Fragments” and wanted to meet one of the core theological thinkers of non-Orthodox Judaism. During the Amidah, he spent the entire prayer reading a yearbook. When asked about this mode of prayer, he responded with: “I pray in my own way”. Later that night, a student remarked that he sounded “a lot like Kaplan”. Gillman laughed and agreed. He said that he’s employed by JTS, but his personal theology is much closer to Kaplan/Reconstructionist Judaism. A great writer, superb speaker, but not doing anything to reverse the morphing of Conservative Judaism into Reform/Recon/Renewal.

  2. “What’s going to make them is not my speech,” he said. What would drive people into the UTJ’s arms, he said, is if the Conservative movement’s law committee approves the ordination of gay and lesbian rabbis.
    “Then the UTJ is going to have a great burst of excitement,” Gillman said.
    Anyone else find the use of “great burst of excitement” in this article amusing?

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