Thursday, February 08, 2007

The End Of Conservative Judaism

In the current issue of The Jewish Week, R. Michael J. Broyde applauds the leftward movement of the Conservative movement because it it spells its own demise (link):

The Conservative Rabbinical Assembly’s Law Committee announced nearly three months ago that Conservative Judaism will ordain homosexual rabbis, and while a lot of ink was spilled explaining this decision and its ramifications, I saw little long-term analysis. This, hopefully will fill that gap. I view the leftward move of Conservative Judaism as a positive development for American Jewry — quite literally, it is the end of the beginning of Judaism in America and now we can finally grow into adulthood as a Jewish community.

The truth is that there is a grand divide in the Jewish community worldwide between two groups: those who think that Jewish law (halacha) is really, truly, binding and those who do not. This division is both religiously and culturally important — it reflects a basic worldview about what being Jewish really means. Throughout the world, other than in the United States, this distinction formed the basic denominational divide and one could well understand the need for almost a schism over this issue.

Not so in America. For many decades, Conservative Judaism sought to bridge this gap, with a promise that was too good to be true. You could obey Jewish law, Conservative Judaism claimed, but ultimately Jewish law was sufficiently malleable that whatever large segments of the Jewish community wanted was shown to be permissible, and whatever struck large segments of Conservative Jewry as wrong became prohibited...

Conservative Judaism is nearly finished as a movement, I suspect, and the decision to permit homosexual conduct will only hasten its demise. The reasons are historical and logical. As the generations of Jewry that recall and romanticize life in Europe — either directly or through a parent — age and ultimately pass, fewer and fewer people who do not observe Jewish law as a central component of their live have an interest in even being told that their conduct is consistent with Jewish law...
Continued here.

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