Key Card: Conservative


The Sacred Cluster, Excerpts from: The Core Values of Conservative Judaism,  Ismar Schorsch

Conservative Judaism is best understood as a sacred cluster of core values. [...]

There are seven such core values, to my mind, that imprint Conservative Judaism with a principled receptivity to modernity balanced by a deep reverence for tradition. [...] Conceptually they fall into two sets - three national and three religious - which are grounded and joined to each other by the overarching presence of God, who represents the seventh and ultimate core value. The dual nature of Judaism as polity and piety, a world religion that never transcended its national origins, is unified by God. In sum, a total of seven core values corresponding to the most basic number in Judaism's construction of reality.

The Centrality of Modern Israel
Hebrew: The Irreplaceable Language of Jewish Expression
Devotion to the Ideal of Klal Yisrael
The Defining Role of Torah in the Reshaping of Judaism
the Study of Torah
The Governance of Jewish Life by Halakha
Belief in God

The Defining Role of Torah in the Reshaping of Judaism

The Torah is the foundation text of Judaism, the apex of an inverted pyramid of infinite commentary, not because it is divine, but because it is sacred, that is, adopted by the Jewish people as its spiritual font. [...]

The Study of Torah

What Conservative Judaism brings to this ancient and unfinished dialectic are the tools and perspectives of modern scholarship blended with traditional learning and empathy. The full meaning of sacred texts will always elude those who restrict the range of acceptable questions, fear to read contextually and who engage in willful ignorance.

Moreover, it is pursued with the conviction that critical scholarship will yield new religious meaning for the inner life of contemporary Jews.[...]

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11 Jul 2007 / 25 Tamuz 5767 0