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.
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