Conservative Judaism


Conservative Judaism
Judaism as observed by Conservative Jews.
[1945-50]

* * *

Form of Judaism that mediates between Reform Judaism and Orthodox Judaism.

Founded in 19th-century Germany as the Historical School, it arose among German-Jewish theologians who advocated change but found Reform positions extreme. They accepted the Reform emphasis on critical scholarship, but wished to maintain a stricter observance of Jewish law (e.g., dietary laws) and continued belief in the coming of the messiah. In 1886, rabbis of this centrist persuasion founded the Jewish Theological Seminary of America (New York), leading to the development of Conservative Judaism as a religious movement.

* * *

      religious movement that seeks to conserve essential elements of traditional Judaism but allows for the modernization of religious practices in a less radical sense than that espoused by Reform Judaism.

      Zacharias Frankel (Frankel, Zacharias) (1801–75), whose ideology inspired early Conservative ideas, broke with modernizing extremists after a series of Reform conferences in Germany (1844–46). Holding fast to the notion that the Jewish religion is inextricably bound up with Jewish culture and a national identity, he refused to abandon religious customs and traditions as nonessentials.

      Frankel felt that historical studies could bring to light those elements of the Written and Oral Law that were merely contemporary expressions of more abiding religious truths. These, then, could be reinterpreted to fit the context of modern life. Frankel's view of Judaism emphasizes the sacredness of the Law as a living force applicable to all generations.

      Following Orthodoxy, Conservatives insist on the sacredness of the Sabbath. Dietary laws are respected and observed, but with modifications when necessary. Starting in 1985, Conservative Judaism drew farther away from Orthodoxy by ordaining women rabbis. Many Conservatives, stressing Jewish nationalism as inseparable from the culture of the Jewish people, encourage the study of Hebrew and support the secular Zionist movement.

      Despite different opinions, Conservative Jews have found a common bond by maintaining continuity with the past. These differences make Conservative Judaism a theological coalition rather than a homogeneous expression of beliefs and practices. These differences also explain why it is all but impossible to enunciate a distinct theology of the movement. Conservative rituals show a like diversity, ranging from Orthodoxy to Reform.

      The Conservative movement has been especially successful in the United States and is represented by the United Synagogue of America. The Rabbinical Assembly (Rabbinical Assembly, The), Conservative Judaism's official body, is located at the Jewish Theological Seminary, in New York City, which educates future rabbis for the Conservative movement.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Conservative Judaism — (also known as Masorti Judaism outside of the United States and Canada) is a modern stream of Judaism that arose out of intellectual currents in Germany in the mid 19th century and took institutional form in the United States in the early 1900s.… …   Wikipedia

  • CONSERVATIVE JUDAISM — (also known as Masorti Judaism), one of the three principal modern Jewish religious denominations, emerging, along with Reform and Orthodoxy, in the 19th century era of emancipation. After the denial of emancipation to Central European Jewry by… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Conservative Judaism — noun 1. Jews who keep some of the requirements of the Mosaic law but allow for adaptation of other requirements (as some of the dietary laws) to fit modern circumstances • Topics: ↑law, ↑jurisprudence • Hypernyms: ↑Judaism, ↑Hebraism, ↑Jewish… …   Useful english dictionary

  • Conservative Judaism — noun Date: 1892 Judaism as practiced especially among some United States Jews with adherence to the Torah and Talmud but with allowance for some departures in keeping with differing times and circumstances compare Orthodox Judaism, Reform Judaism …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Conservative Judaism — Conserv′ative Ju′daism n. jud a branch of Judaism that adheres to most traditional beliefs and practices but permits some adaptation to the contemporary world Compare Orthodox Judaism,Reform Judaism …   From formal English to slang

  • Conservative Judaism — noun a form of Judaism seeking to preserve Jewish tradition and ritual but with a more flexible approach than Orthodox Judaism …   English new terms dictionary

  • Conservative Judaism — /kənˌsɜvətɪv ˈdʒudeɪɪzəm/ (say kuhn.servuhtiv joohdayizuhm) noun a form of Judaism which allows observance of the Mosaic Law to be modified in keeping with different times and circumstances. Compare Orthodox Judaism …   Australian English dictionary

  • Conservative Judaism — stream of Judaism which believes in adherence to the Torah and Talmud but also in accommodating the halacha to the changing times …   English contemporary dictionary

  • Conservative Judaism (magazine) — Conservative Judaism Magazine is a publication. For information on the branch of Judaism, see Conservative Judaism …   Wikipedia

  • Conservative Judaism (journal) — Conservative Judaism is a peer reviewed scholarly journal published by the Rabbinical Assembly and the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. It is presently edited by Rabbi Martin Samuel Cohen. The journal was founded in 1945. Past editors have …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.