Breslau Reform Conference 1846: Zacharias Frankel withdrew over issue of Hebrew in liturgy.
Objected to Reformers' disregard for historical continuity and nationalism.
Proposes programme for Positive Historical Judaism.
- Combination of commitment to Jewish Halakhah and rational faith.
- Authority of Jewish law rests on its use by Jews over the generations.
- Human need for concrete symbols, not just abstract ideas.
- Encouraged Wissenschaft, but rejected Biblical criticism. Human origins of Oral Torah (Mishnah).
Click here to read Frankel's essay "On Changes in Judaism"
Conservative Judaism in America:
1880-- Only 12 out of 200 American congregations were not Reform. Reform in America was largely radical.
Many non-Reformers were from established Sepharadic communities, concentrated on Eastern seaboard.
Some had been moderate Reformers or Positive-Historical in Europe.
The minority broke off with the adoption of the Pittsburgh Platform of 1885.
Attempts to establish Jewish Theological Seminary of America:
For the preservation in America of the knowledge and practice of historical Judaism as ordained in the law of Moses expounded by the prophets and sages in Israel in Biblical and Talmudic writings.
1898-- Break with conservative (Eastern European) Orthodoxy.
1902-- Successful establishment of JTS in New York, financed by established Reform Jews.
Solomon SchechterLeadership of Solomon Schechter. Faculty included some of the leading Jewish scholars of the world.
- Rabbinic Assembly
- United Synagogues of America
- World Union of Synagogues
- United Synagogue Youth
- Women's League
- Federation of Jewish Men's Clubs
- Teachers' College
- Cantorial School
- Cantors' Assembly
- Jewish Museum
- Jerusalem Campus
- Camp Ramah
- Solomon Schechter Day Schools
General Trends in Expansion of Movement:
Tensions between traditionalist Seminary faculty and more liberal congregational rabbis and laity.
"De-legitimization" by more extreme movements as a compromise between traditionalism and modernism.
Successful expansion of movement as Jews move into suburban communities (in '40's and '50's). Leads to watering down of commitment to standards and ideals of observance, etc.
Halakhic pluralism: Committee on Law and Standards gives sanction to minority positions. Autonomy of individual synagogues. More lenient rulings become widespread.
Congregant as observer, rather than participant in services:
- Use of professional cantors.
- Cantor facing congregation.
- Bima at front of sanctuary.
- Publication of Judaism as a Civilization by Mordecai Kaplan, presents radically liberal theology: Religion is basically a human creation, and halakhah has the status of "folkways." Schechter maintains principle of academic freedom.
- Conservative Judaism becomes largest American Jewish movement.
movement, move away from large institutionalized
synagogues towards more intimate prayer groups.
- "Family seating" in synagogue.
- Retroactive annullment of marriages--1968
- Counting of women in prayer quorum (minyan) and granting them Aliyyot to read Torah--1973.
- Ordination of women as rabbis--1977-79.
- Driving to synagogue on sabbath--1950. Permission granted originally only for rare and special circumstances. Evolves into general norm.
- Use of electricity on Sabbath--1950.
- Second day of festivals.
- Friday night services
- Prayer book reform
- Triennial cycle of Torah reading.
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