2. Conservative Judaism

Founder: Isaac Leeser (chazzan "minister") of the prominent Sephardic synagogue, Mikveh Israel. (1830)

Richmond, Virginia (German immigrant 1824)

He introduces English prayers and sermon into standard Hebrew service.

1843 publishes 'The Occident and Jewish Advocate." American Jewish Publication Society

1853 translates Hebrew Bible to English (used till 1917) ** Sabbato Morais He aided Isaac Mayer Wise in creating HUC

1885 he left HUC, because of Pittsburgh Platform.

1886 established the Jewish Theological Seminary

1897 he died. Sephardic Synagogue withdraws the support.

Cyrus Adler, with the help of Jacob H. Schiff restructures the seminary.

1902 Solomon Schechter as the new president

1913 set up the United Synagogue

1901 alumni association

1919 the Rabbinical Assembly

Goals: It builds on the dual assumptions that Jewish tradition must be preserved and conserved and that American Jewry must be directed to that course.

The Conservative movement formulated not so much a theology as a technique. The technique attempted to achieve specific goals by devising concepts that would inspire them. [p.126]

i) "catholic Israel.": Solomon Schenchter

Hebrew Torah + US Jews only knows English

ii) "positive-historical Judaism." : Zecharias Frankel

Judaism is an evolutionary growth & reappearance of ideas. [p.127]

Problem: denies Revelation!!!

iii) "vertical democracy.": consult the past & future

the decision is made by specialists in the Seminary.

Practices: separate seating for men & women abolished.

prayer book eliminates petition for restoration of sacrificial cult.


3. Reconstructionist Judaism

Founder: Mordecai M. Kaplan (1881 -

Platform: The Society for the Advancement of Judaism [p.130]


    1. Religion is a social phenomena. Judaism as a civilization, the character & components of which are determined by the Jewish people. [p.131]
    2. Ritual practices should be classified more as minhagim ("customs" or "folkways") than mitzvoth ("divine commandments"), not divine revelation!
    3. They favor congregation patterns of organization as kehillah ("community").