The Conservative Movement Should Be So Talented
by: Schvach Yid
Chabad bashing by the Conservative Movement of Judaism? Tzvi Fishman of Arutz Sheva – the Israel National News website - and of his own Jewish Sexuality.com website, might call this ‘Yesod envy’. Yet the on-line edition of the Jerusalem Post has posted an article by Andrew Silow-Carroll titled The Chabad Challenge at The Chabad challenge | Jerusalem Post. Hah!
I’m a big fan of Chabad Lubavitch, and contrary to the article’s stated premise concerning the Conservative Movement’s stance toward Chabad, that "Chabad is the religion closest to Judaism", Chabad Lubavitch is undoubtedly the best thing that has ever happened to Jewish outreach. Chabad does in fact ‘beat the pants’ off the Conservative Movement’s number one concern, the quest for so-called ‘Jewish Continuity’.
I attended a Conservative Movement Hebrew school as a child. I spent several months on the Conservative Movement’s kibbutz in
I don’t like the Conservative Movement of Judaism. They do, and I think that’s their number one problem.
Why problem? In the
Here’s the link: http://www.thejewishweek.com/viewArticle/c36_a781/News/New_York.html
And here’s my opinion of what’s wrong with the ‘The Conservative Movement of Judaism’.
First, they are about themselves. The Conservative Movement is about The Conservative Movement. They are all about their organization, not about providing for the Jewish community. They exist to perpetuate themselves and their success as an organization. If they were on the hunt for employees to whom they would provide salaries and employment benefits, they might have a chance, but like all movements, they’re after members. Their concern is with losing members. They’re worried about retention. They might as well run a country club.
A corollary is that The Conservative Movement does not do Judaism. They do surrogates of Judaism. ‘Look at our beautiful synagogue’; ‘look at our beautiful sanctuary designed by that world famous architect what’s-his-name’. ‘Here’s our gift shop; look at the beautiful chotchkas we offer for sale’. ‘Here’s our beautiful ballroom; you can rent it for all the important ‘life cycle’ events in your life. It’s not the least bit ongepotchket’.
These are substitutes for the real thing. The Jewish Community Center in my Bible Belt locale does exactly the same thing. It’s basically a health club with a Jewish theme. Garbage!
Second, The Conservative Movement is about what former Vice President Spiro Agnew called in one of his speeches, ‘effete snobs’. Years ago, on the Conservative Movement kibbutz in Israel, an American Conservative Movement rabbi said of the ‘rank and file’ membership of that Movement, ’they don’t a thing’ about Judaism. What a nice perspective for a rabbi to have of the followers of his Movement. Today, he’s on the faculty of The Jewish Theological Seminary, the Conservative Movement’s rabbinical school.
Once I had relocated to the Bible Belt, I met another Conservative Movement rabbi who said the same sort of thing. He had been hired by a local Conservative Movement havurah to lead High Holiday services, which he did. He belted out one niggun after another with his mellow, silk-like voice - right into a microphone - on the High Holidays. Yup, he sure do know! After one of the services he said to me, ‘I could sing or do anything, they’d never know the difference’. Nice!
Third, the Conservative Movement has abandoned the ‘Jewish way’ in favor of assimilation. No wonder its members assimilate. Take, for example the Movement’s seminary mentioned above – please! It’s not a yeshiva.
I could go on. The bottom line is that the Conservative Movement’s approach of competition against and abandonment of the real thing has never worked, and its snobbery is self destructive.
I have a couple of ditties from my time on that kibbutz, but not now.
Baruch HaShem for Chabad Lubavitch, and for the efforts of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneerson, olav hashalom, and if the Lubavitchers take liberties and do the ‘yechi’ routine, so what.
Lastly, if you’d like to read an entertaining and informative account of how the Conservative Movement got started (it was really in response to the success of the Reform Movement, and rejection of Orthodoxy), read Nathan Glazer’s American Judaism – it’s still in print.