Conservative Judaism. Presented to REL 306 Dr. Laurence Boxer April, 2004. Prior to 18 th Century (Enlightenment)…. ... Jewish practice was largely what, today, we would call insular and Orthodox.
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Presented to REL 306
Dr. Laurence Boxer
Rabbi Zecharia Frankel, leader of conservative reformers, 1840s
ALEXANDER KOHUT (1842-1894) … ordained at the Breslau Seminary, … came to the United States in 1885 and served in New York both as a congregational rabbi and as a member of the New York Seminary's faculty…. became the ideological champion of the Conservative reaction to American Reform. Almost single-handedly, he was responsible for transmitting the Frankel-Breslau approach to Judaism from Europe to the United States. [Gillman]
SABATO MORAIS (1823-1897), Italian born and trained, came to America in 1851 and served as rabbi of Congregation Mikve Israel in Philadelphia until his death…. Morais … championed the Conservative reaction to American Reform.… prior to the Pittsburgh Conference he had been a voice for moderation within the coalition of Reformers.… After the publication of the Pittsburgh Platform, however, Morais … turned his attention to the new Seminary.He served as President of the Seminary until his death …. [Gillman]
Teaches Halakha is binding, but more willing than Orthodox to modify Halakha for modernity
Teaches Halakha is binding; less organized for & more reluctant to modify Halakha than Conservative; tend not to recognize Conservatism as Halakha-observing
Tend to regard Halakha, traditional Jewish law, non-binding
“According to some [ancient] authorities, … rennet does not affect the kashrut of cheese because rennet no longer has the status of food…. [Further, in modern practice] rennet is treated with … chemicals, [making it] a new substance. Thus, all cheeses … subject to the Pure Food and Drug Act should be considered kosher.”
[Schorsch] describes the following as the core values of Conservative Judaism:
Lev. 18:22: Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; it is an abhorrence תועבה (to-evah).
Lev. 20:13: If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, the two of them have done an abhorrent thing; they shall be put to death – their bloodguilt is upon them.
Traditional prohibition of lesbianism is not Biblical, but is derived in Biblical commentary as a parallel prohibition.
R. Roth: “We Can’t Legitimate Homosexuality Halachically”
R. Dorff: “Medical and Moral Reasons to Change the Law”
Committee on Jewish Law and Standards – homosexuality 2
R. Roth R. Dorff