Conservative Judaism: Our Ancestors to Our Descendants
By Elliott N Dorff
Extracts posted with permission of
United Synagogue of America Youth Commission
Home page http://members.rogers.com/davidsteinberg/
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Acknowledgements and Table of Contents
UNITED SYNAGOGUE OF AMERICA
DEPARTMENT OF YOUTH ACTIVITIES
Rabbi Paul Freedman, Director
Jules A. Gutin, Assistant Director
Karen Legman Segal, Projects Director
Marilyn J. Sladowsky, Administrative Director
Yaffa Schlisserman, Projects Coordinator
Kathy Garon-Wolf, Kadima Director
Rabbi Joel Epstein, Activities Coordinator
Rabbi Stephen Garfinkel, Educational Coordinator
CENTRAL YOUTH COMMISSION
Seymour Goldberg, Chairman
Rabbi Irwin Groner, Special Consultant
Dr. Saul Shapiro, Convention Committee Chairman
Rabbi Barry Dav Lerner, Education Committee Chairn
A publication of the Youth Commission, United Synagogue
America, @ United Synagogue Youth, 1977. 155 F
Avenue, New York, New York 10010.
Second printing, 1978.
Library of Congress Catalog Number: 77-81801
Manufactured in the United States of America.
Cover and book design by Jane Snyder.
Cover photograph from the collection of Jane Snyder.
Photograph opening Chapter Five by Bill Aeon.
In honor of my parents and Marlynn' s
Sol and Anne Dorff
Manuel and Barbara Wertheimer
Who are among the most informed
and active of Conservative Jews
and the most dedicated and
loving of parents
Rabbi Gamliel, the son of Rabbi Judah, the President, said: All who exert themselves in the interest of the community should do so for the sake of Heaven, for then the virtue of their ancestors sustains them and the Patriarchs' righteousness will be passed on to their descendants forever.
The editor expresses appreciation to the following publishers who have kindly granted permission to reprint selections from the following material:
THE AMERICAN JEWISH COMMITTEE, New York: The
Condition of Jewish Belief: A Symposium, Compiled by the
Editors of Commentary Magazine, Reprinted by permission;
copyright @ 1966 by the American Jewish Committee.
THE AMERICAN JEWISH CONGRESS AND WORLD
JEWISH CONGRESS, New York: Judaism, Vol. 26, No.1
BEHRMAN HOUSE, INC., PUBLISHERS, New York: A
Jewish Theology, Louis Jacobs, 1973.
BLOCH PUBLISHING COMPANY, New York: A Faith for
Moderns, Robert Gordis, 1960.
BEN ZION BOKSER, New York: Judaism: Profile of a Faith
[The Burning Bush Press, 1963]
THE BURNING BUSH PRESS, New York: Seminary Addresses
and Other Papers, Solomon Schechter, 1959. Prepared for
publication by the National Academy for Adult Jewish Studies of
the United Synagogue of America, copyright by the Burning Bush
Press. Reprinted by permission.
CENTRAL CONFERENCE OF AMERICAN RABBIS, New
York: "Reform Judaism: A Centenary Perspective," June,
Excerpted with permission of Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Inc. from
God in Search of Man by Abraham Joshua Heschel, Copyright @
1955 by Abraham Joshua Heschel.
An excerpt from" A Declaration of Conscience" from The
Insecurity of Freedom by Abraham Joshua Heschel, Copyright
@ 1964 by Abraham Joshua Heschel. Reprinted with the permission
of Farrar, Straus& Giroux, Inc.
THE JEWISH PUBLICATION SOCIETY OF AMERICA,
Solomon Schechter: A Biography, Norman Bentwich, 1938.
Studies in Judaism, Solomon Schechter, 1958.
The Prophets, Abraham Joshua Heschel, 1962.
The Emergence o/Conservative Judaism, Moshe Davis, 1963.
KTAV PUBLISHING HOUSE, INC., New York: Law and
Theology in Judaism, David Novak, 1974 (Series I); 1976 (Series II).
JAKOB J. PETUCHOWSKI, Cincinnati: Ever Since Sinai [Scribe
Reprinted by permission of THE RABBINICAL ASSEMBLY,
New York: Tradition and Change: The Development of
Conservative Judaism, Mordecai Waxman, ed., 1958.
Reprinted by permission of THE RABBINICAL ASSEMBLY and
THE JEWISH THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY OF AMERICA,
New York: Conservative Judaism. Vol. XXVIII, No.4 (Summer,
1974); Vol. XXX, No.1 (Fall, 1975); Vol. XXXI, Nos.
1-2 (Fall-Winter, 1976-1977).
RECONSTRUCTIONIST PRESS, New York: Questions Jews
Ask: Reconstructionist Answers, Mordecai M. Kaplan, 1956.
THE WESTMINSTER PRESS, Philadelphia: A New Jewish
Theology in the Making, Eugene Borowitz, 1968.
How Can a Jew Speak o/Faith Today?, Eugene Borowitz, 1969.
WORLD UNION FOR PROGRESSIVE JUDAISM, LTD., New
York: The Rise o/Reform Judaism, W. Gunther Plaut, 1963.
The Growth o/Reform Judaism, W. Gunther Plaut, 1965.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Chapter I: First Thoughts About Conservative Judaism
Chapter II: The Development and Structure of Conservative Judaism
A. The Development of Conservative Judaism
1. The Emancipation Brings Freedom and Assimilation
2. Orthodox and Reform Attempts to Combat Assimilation in Europe
3. The Pittsburgh Platform, The Russian Immigration, and the Emergence of the Conservative Movement in the United States
4. The Ideological Stance of Early Conservative Judaism: Positive-Historical Judaism and Catholic Israel
5. Conservative Judaism in the Twentieth Century
6. The Builders of the Conservative Movement
B. The Structure of the Conservative Movement
1. The Jewish Theological Seminary of America
2.The Rabbinical Assembly
3. The United Synagogue of America
4. Women's League for Conservative Judaism
5. National Federation of Jewish Men's Clubs
7. World Council of Synagogues
Chapter III: Jewish Law Within the Conservative Movement
A. The General Approach of Conservative Judaism to Jewish Law: Tradition and-Change. . .
B. The Historical Development of Jewish Law
Time Line of Jewish Law
1. The Formation and Writing of the Oral Law: 444 B.C.E.-220 CE
2. The Period of the Amora'im and Gemara: 220-500 CE.. 70
3.The Periods of the Sabora'im and Geonim : 500-1050 CE 73
4. The Commentators, Posekim, Rishonim, and Synods :1000-1550 CE
5. The Ahronim: 1550-Present
C. Tradition and Change in Rabbinic Literature
D. The Question of Authority: Orthodox, Reform, and Conservative Theories of Revelation. .
2. Conservative I .
3. Conservative II .
4. Conservative III .
5. Conservative IV=Reconstruntionist
E. How Conservative Judaism Makes Decisions in Jewish Law
Chapter IV: The Beliefs of the Conservative Movement.
A. The Core of Conservative Beliefs
B. The Types of Theology Within the Conservative Movement
C. Beliefs Held in Common within the Conservative Movement: The People Israel
D. Beliefs Held in Common within the Conservative Movement: Zionism
E. Beliefs Held in Common within the Conservative Movement: Judaism as a Religious Civilization
Chapter V: Conservative Judaism: Looking Ahead
Appendix I: The Menu of the "Trefah Banquet"
Appendix II: The Pittsburgh Platform (1885) - Reform
Appendix III: Charter of The Jewish Theological Seminary of America
Appendix IV: Preamble of the Constitution of the United Synagogue
Appendix V: The Structure of the Mishnah
For further Reading
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