Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Symposium: Why People Become Orthodox VI

(continued from here: I, II, III, IV, V)

Conservative Rabbi Charles Simon is the Executive Director of the Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs, having served in that position since 1981. A 1977 graduate of the Rabbinical School of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, Rabbi Simon served as a congregational rabbi and has written numerous articles, two books and two educational films.

I need to admit at the outset that this is not topic that I have devoted a great deal of time to thinking about. I am more concerned with the children of the members of Conservative synagogues and those who were raised as Jews with nothing, and creating ways to help them identify with Conservative Judaism. But Conservative Judaism is not for everyone. Its broad, more open appeal continuously challenges people to consider and reconsider their behaviors and their religious practices. Its openly plurastic attitude often confuses people who are searching for a more defined definition of how to live their lives. Perhaps it's not surprising that a number of people searching for meaning within community are not attracted to the Conservative model and will choose instead to be Orthodox. Orthodox Judaism has been more successful in providing entrée points into the community as a result of its shabbat and holiday structure. We offer a different model that continues to evolve.

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