21

I'm going to paint this in overly broad strokes, but here goes: Theologically, the official stance of the Conservative movement is that the Torah was "inspired by God, but written by man." Orthodox theology believes this to conflict with one of Maimonides' principles of faith, that the Torah was dictated by God word-by-word to Moses. An early practical ...


16

It's something like that, based on my observations of my local Reform and Conservative communities. What I notice in particular with the Conservative daily minyan is that there are some regulars, some people who just come to say kaddish, and some people who initially came to say kaddish (for a month or for a year; I don't mean one day) and then stuck around. ...


16

Yes, several subsequent Jewish authorities criticized Maimonides, either for his general approach or for specific statements. A few examples: Nachmanides in his commentary to Genesis 18:1 criticizes Maimmonides's non-literal interpretations of certain Biblical incidents: But such words contradict Scripture. It is forbidden to listen to them, all the more ...


12

The passuk is not saying that tzitzis are a proof to someone's adherence to the other commandments, it is saying that by wearing tzitzis one will come to perform the other mitzvos. If anything, wearing them is a sign of intention to grow, not an award for completion of one's job to. If one is really worried about maaris ayin one can wear the tzitzis under ...


10

1 - Conservative and Mamzerut are two separate issues. If the boy is Jewish (his mother is Jewish) then he does not need to convert. He would be considered a Baal Teshuva, one who has repented. He does not require any specific training, although if he is serious about his orthodoxy should learn the Mitzvos in order to lead a proper orthodox life. 2 - If the ...


9

I wholly agree with Monica's excellent answer, but I would like to point out another phenomenon. Many non-Orthodox Jews go through a portion of their adult lives without giving much thought to religious practice. A traumatic event like the death of a parent can cause them to re-evaluate their lives. They may see the end of the long chain of familial ...


9

Such a conversion would not be accepted in the Conservative movement. A site offering an online-only Conservative conversion is at best extremely misguided, and possibly a scam. For starters, Conservative Judaism would not accept a "conversion" that did not include mikvah and (for men) circumcision. This doesn't even come up in the law committee responsa ...


9

I think that you are answering your own question. First of all, the reason to perform G-d's commandments is because G-d said so. The goal of every Jew is to strive to reach this sense of faith and to act and understand the concept of being an Eved Hashem - a servant of G-d. (When Moses died, the Torah calls him an "Eved Hashem".) Therefore, one is required ...


9

When I was shopping for a synagogue and a rabbi I was pretty methodical about it. I didn't want to judge just based on what I'd heard people say about different communities. After I'd visited a bunch and started to narrow things down, I met individually with local rabbis from the Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox movements. (We didn't have any local ...


7

See Rabbi Samson Refael Hirsch, in his Nineteen Letters, letter 18. He criticizes the rational approach of Maimonides, but without mentioning him by name: he sought to reconcile Judaism with the difficulties which confronted it from without, instead of developing it creatively from within, for all the good and the evil which bless and afflict the heritage ...


6

One of the consistent promoters of Torah/Orthodox Judaism is Rabbi Avi Shafran. Already in his first book, "Jewthink" published in 1977 he laid out very clearly the Orthodox perspective that any form of Judaism that claims to be legitimate must (among other things) accept halacha as being binding. This would of course delegitimize Reform and ...


6

R' Yosef Eliyahu Henkin (פירושי אירבא סימן ד) held that it does not actually matter if the wedding was valid, as they are living together with intent to be married. Rav Henkin adopted the novel view that even if their intent to be married is not necessarily through Kiddushin, and even if they don't know that consumation of marriage can create Kiddushin, ...


6

One of the biggest deal-breakers in the ceremony -- more than the language of the ketubah -- is if the witnesses were shabbat-observant. There are other issues in non-Orthodox ceremonies, but that's by far the biggest. In theory the Talmud talks about situations where a couple would have in mind that if the wedding ceremony itself isn't valid, they would ...


6

A story involving R. Shmuel Salant, R. Seligmann Baer Bamberger, and R. Yosef Carlebach is relevant to the history of the placement, the reason for the placement its connections to Reform, and the ultimate permissibly. To paraphrase R. Yosef Carlebach quoting Rav Shmuel Salant as cited by R. Dr. Shnayer Leiman's article in Traditon: Rav Salant gave the ...


5

I can offer you one anecdotal piece of evidence. My wife and I were married by a Conservative rabbi in a town we had lived in for only a few years. He was satisfied of my wife's status by her conversion certificate from the Bet Din. For me, it was an interview. He had to rely on my telling of my family history for my status. I know he wished for something ...


5

I heard from R. Nota Greenblatt that although we are are stringent in accordance with R. Henkin's view that the marriage is valid, and we would require a get, even in the event that she is dating a kohen and would be prohibited to him from an actual get, she may marry the kohen. Even though a rabbinic prohibition exists after giving an invalid get, this ...


5

The Conservative movement requires immersion in a kosher mikvah, circumcision (for male converts), and evaluation by a beit din (a court of three). Immersion and circumcision require at least two witnesses. There might be exceptions to some requirements (for example, medical issues that make circumcision a bad idea), but this is the baseline. A natural ...


5

The Economist had a good report on Judaism and the Jews - alive and well. They used the following illustration to describe some key denominations of Judaism.


5

See this teshuvah by R. David Novak, adopted by the Rabbinical Assembly in 1982. To quote from its conclusion (emphases mine): I find no cogent basis in halakhah for accepting, even ex post facto, converts who did not undergo specific tevilah for the sake of conversion, unless it can be shown that they are strictly observant Jews, particularly ...


4

The official position of the Conservative movement can be found in Women and the Minyan by Rabbi David J. Fine. It was released in 2002 as an explanation of the 1983 decision by the Jewish Theological Seminary to ordain women as rabbis and cantors. The main question that caused debate in the period of 1973-1983 was whether a woman could be a sheliach tzibur,...


4

The only issue that might act against wearing Jewish clothing is if it caused "Chilul Hashem". A man who wears Jewish garb and cheats in business or commits other aveiros is not "frum". It doesn't matter how long their peyot are etc. Tzitzit hanging out would be "chilul hashem" as it gives an appearance that "this is how Jews behave". One should say "it is ...


4

This answer is solely based on my own personal experience with no Halachic references available. When my sister died I took it very hard. Closure seemed impossible, because of a tangled web of circumstances beyond the scope of what I'm willing to discuss. I decided to say Kaddish for her every day to help me get through my grief. It was not to "honor her ...


4

Rabbi Yaakov Emden was so incensed by what was written in the Moreh Nevuchim that he refused to believe the Rambam wrote it. He says anyone who claims Rambam wrote it is a liar. In particular he points out Rambam's innovative ideas mixed with non jewish theology about the miracles mentioned in Torah and Neviim and the Merkava. אך לבעל ספר מורה נבוכים לא ...


3

What Monica said in her answer is completely true. I would like to suggest another possible reason for this phenomenon. The reason is practicality. Orthodox Jews tend to live in clusters. Due to the diversity of "streams" of Orthodox Judaism (each one wanting to have their own shtieble), there are often clusters of many Orthodox synagogues within a small ...


3

http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/1414652/jewish/Why-Is-the-Torah-Podium-in-the-Center-of-the-Synagogue.htm Rambam: So people can hear kriyas hatorah Chasam Sofer: it's like the mizbeach which was in the center of the courtyard He quotes the Gemara describing the shul in Alexandria that the bima was in the middle. As you wrote in your ...


3

According to my uncle, who is a Conservative rabbi, the psak was issued for a few reasons. It should be noted that he does not like it, although were he to attempt to pasken that his schul not hold like it, he'd probably be fired. In the decades immediately after the War, many of the Jewish communities in inner-city neighbourhoods started moving out to the ...


3

I once was asked to speak to a conservative bar/bat mitzvah class to introduce Orthodox Judaism. The other 3 rabbis had already spoken in previous meetings. Shavuot was approaching. After I finished, the Chazan (conservative) got up and made a fascinating comment, before opening the floor to Q&A. "isn't it interesting that the Conservative, Reform and ...


3

The Talmud in Kidushin says that 'Ein adam oseh be'ilato be'ilat znut'. Which means that a man living with a woman does not have the intention for an act of prostitution, rather means to make her his wife. Whether this applies today is questionable, but here they did intend to get married, so I would assume it applies. The main problem is when they split up ...


3

Kol Isha -- presumably, the gemara in Megilla says that theoretically a woman could receive an aliyah. In those times, receiving an aliyah meant reading the Torah as well. Hence many rabbis (including some Orthodox ones) would say that kol isha wouldn't be a problem reading the Torah, and if that kind of singing isn't provocative, one could argue that ...


3

On the first page of Yoreh Deah - וכן המנהג שאין הנשים שוחטות - Rav Schechter quoted from The Rav (Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik) that this is because the shochet would commonly act as an assistant rabbi, and since that is assur, it became forbidden for women to be the town shochet.


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