Are the Reform and Conservative Still Jewish?

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    so right

    So make the question, does he support a Jewish woman’s “right” to “choose” an abortion when the mother’s or babies life or health is not in danger.

    I don’t think it will change cynical’s answer (or lack thereof).

    (And lets not forget the homosexual activity permissibility question.)


    “We should also try to be mekarev a Yid who became a Christian.”

    Can we answer the question of the OP in the affirmative, based on your own words?

    I can shoot the messenger if he distorts the message he is bringing (which nobody asked you to bring, btw). The term Reshaim was applied to those who grew up frum, knew better, and STILL joined those movements. Hardly the same as referring to a 7 year old Conservative boy as a rasha, which you did, whether you meant to or not. When you (not you specifically) use a broad brush and talk in generalizations, you say things that you may not have intended.


    cynical, I’d love to post a very long rebuttal to your comments, however, I don’t have the time. Suffice to say,that NOT ALL the Conservative “Rabbis” or laymen believe that the Torah is divine, that Hashem really gave it to us at Mt. Sinai. Nor do they pratcice true halacha. For example, in case you don’t know yet, a bunch of CONSERVATIVE Rabbis are giving sholom bayis classes for intermarried couples. There are numerous of such instances of blatant disregard for halacha, because as you described that our relationship with Hashem changes, so part of that belief is that some halachas can be disgarded, or changed, as time necessitates, because that is part of that changing relationship.

    Maybe your opinion of the Conservative belief of a changing relationship with Hashem does not mean that we disregard some halachas because the relationship doesn’t necessitate it. If so, then please define what your (your own)Conservative ideoligy belief regarding our relationship with Hashem in todays’ generation. What do you mean with “our relationship keeps on changing”?

    What is your opinion of Mesorah and minhugim? There’s where the slippery slope starts, btw, in case you didn’t realize, as Judaism becomes a PERSONAL interpretation of our own ideoligies and opinions (of course with those ideas changing in every generation).

    And cynical, disagreeing with you is NOT sinas and is NOT keeping Moshiach away.


    There have been numerous instances of BT’s or their children finding out problems regarding if they are 100% halachic Jews or not. I have been saying for the longest time that it’s a big mistake to have this massive BT movement in America (as of today, the Israeli scene is totally different and the BT movement there should be encouraged). I say we should work on ourselves to be better Jews and be a light unto the nations through our behavior. Non religious Jews who want to become frum should know clearly how they are truly Jewish, not assume so.

    I am not saying this because I feel callous towards all our Jewish brethren who don’t have the Torah to guide them. I am saying this because I beleive that we CANNOT KNOW, in this 21st generation, who is truly a Jew or not, unless each case is totally investigated and you cannot do that by casting out a net (be it on campus or the streets of Manhattan) and catching every fish that swims through.


    I promise that I will answer more comments after Shabbos, I’m not ignoring anyone.

    Philosopher – you are 100% right that disagreement is not Sinat Chinam. Take for example an American Jew who waits six hours between meat and milk. When he disagrees with a Dutch Jew who waits one hour, that is a difference of opinion and practice, not Sinat Chinam. When the American calls the Dutchman a Rasha or tells him that he is practicing a fake religion or anything like that – then it is Sinat Chinam.


    We don’t have to argue with Cynical about which particular halocho he holds or doesn’t or which the Official Conservative poition holds what. Go into the Official Conservative website and go to their Halacho Council which “decides” what the halochos should be or how to change them. Sure they all believe in 613 mitzvos. Of course there is a mitzva of Zochor es yom hashabbos and an lav of Shomor es yom hashabbos. But if you’re going to a Yankees game at 6:30 Friday night in August, then it’s not so bad if you drive back home (shomor)or you don’t make kiddush (zochor) or your wife lights candles at 11:30 PM Friday night. Hey Cynical, please tell me I’m not right. But if you do, I will call you a liar because that is the official position of the Conservative movement. Maybe it’s not your official position but it is theirs. And I can always say, nesei sefer vo’nechse. Let’s go look it up in your Halocho Council’s announcements of “psak halocho”. Rough estimate please Rabbi Cynical, how many Conservative males above 13 wear tefilin every day, every day, not just sometimes. How many females practice taharas ha’mishpocho. And you say of course we believe in 613 mitzvos. I’m not getting into any discussions about abortion beliefs or conversion practices. My examples/questions are mainstream yiddishkeit issues. Can you honestly call yourself even Traditional if you don’t put on tefilin each and every day? Are you traditional if your wife never goes to the mikva? No sir, you are not traditional. And if you don’t keep these 2 mitzvos, nor are you “quite” shomer shabbos, then what are you? Being an avid fan of ahavas yisroel is really great but that alone doesn’t make you a traditional Jew.


    Cynical, re the waiting between meat and dairy: true, but THEY BOTH WAIT. There is no disagreement over the need to wait, based on the source.

    In most cases of difference in opinion it is a matter of nuance. We might say Baruch she’amar before Hodu, but we can still easily daven in a shul that does not follow our nusach.

    There are numerous, numerous such examples.


    The “official” Conservative position on halocho is that we, meaning “rabbis” in the year 5771/2010, can change halocho because they allege that Rabbi Akiva and colleagues were able to. As they say in yiddish, sheine tzu shtel. The Rabbinical Assembly has a council of 25 voting rabbis who can change halocho, and they do. 5 non-voting lay members and 1 non-voting cantor. I have this strange feeling that if Chazzan Helfgott, arguably quite an outstanding cantor, an avowed Gerrer chosid (wears full Gerrer regalia always) would come to the rebbe and say that he thinks we should change the “minhag” (sic) of not watching TV on shabbos if it goes on with a clock, the rebbe may likely throw him out. But in the Rabbinical Assembly they listen to that cantor as a man of serious learning and knowledge. Hey, maybe he is. Rabbi Cynical keeps on saying that they uphold halocho. Yeah sure, but whose definition of halocho, Shulchan Orech authored by the Beis Yosef and annotated by Shach, Taz, Bach, Mogen Avrohom et al. Or the definition as promulgated by the Rabbinical Assembly.


    Here’s the bottom line:

    Conservative, Reform, and Reconstructionist “Judaism” are not Judaism. They violate the Torah. They are different religions.

    Therefore, their “Rabbis” are not Rabbis. Their “conversions” are not conversions and are invalid.

    Please see:

    A Jew is defined only by one of the following:

    1) Someone descended matrilineally from our forefather Yaakov.

    2) Someone descended matrilineally from a female who has undergone a Kosher conversion to Judaism.

    3) Someone who has undergone a Kosher conversion to Judaism, which includes belief in the divine origin of the Torah and the performance of the 613 Mitzvos.

    If a Jew C”V performs a sin, he is a Jew who has given in to his Yetzer Hara and performed a sin. His status is that he is still a Jew.

    Judaism is defined as following the beliefs and rules of the Torah and performing the Mitzvos.

    Telling a Jew that he or she can eat Trayf, violate Shabbos, practice homosexuality, marry someone non-Jewish, not practice the Family Purity laws, and act and dress immodestly is not practicing Judaism.

    End of story.


    I know this is *asking* for flaming, but I’ve always been a sucker for punishment.

    Many of us like to bash the Reform and Conservative movements for their lack of halachic observance. I’ll even grant that criticism for some of those people may indeed be deserved. But the vast majority of them did not grow up with (Orthodox) Torah values at all and cannot be expected to want to keep an Orthodox lifestyle. As such, I think that instead of bashing them, we should try to encourage them whenever possible.

    Example: The vast majority of my extended family is not frum. Nonetheless, they are “devout” Reform Jews. They attend their Temple every Saturday, they observe the holidays (even the “unpopular” ones like Succos & Shavuous) to some extent. They maintain *active* Jewish identities, including sending their kids (at their own expense) for Hebrew and Judaism lessons.

    Are they completely halachic in their observance? Sadly, no. Yes, they don’t keep Shabbos as you or I might. They eat non-kosher. They even go mixed dancing. I’m not saying that we should endorse or even condone such things. But we should acknowledge what they do keep and encourage them to continue doing so (and go further).

    We should be acknowledging that they maintain an active Jewish identity rather than give it up entirely and completely assimilate into the background.

    We should be acknowledging that they take the pains to sometimes eat kosher and keep at least some aspects of Shabbos and the holidays.

    We should be acknowledging that they give tzedaka to Jewish causes (even if they aren’t always Orthodox Jewish causes).

    And that’s what I do with my family. I don’t harangue them for driving to shul on Shabbos. I don’t yell at them for eating non-kosher. Instead, I tell them that it’s wonderful that they’re having a seder. I tell them that it’s fantastic that my cousin sends her kids off to Hebrew school twice a week after public school. I smile broadly when they tell me about the sukkah they built for their Temple and about their plans to use it.

    It’s easy to bash people because they aren’t as observant as you or I. And, again, I’m not saying that we have to accept or condone non-halachic acts. But I’ve always been a big believer in the concept of catching more flies with honey than with vinegar. I think that if we spent more time praising the positive rather than bashing the negative, we’d all be much better off.

    Flame away.

    The Wolf


    I will not engage “Cynical” in a back and forth, question and answer session. The reason? It really doesn’t matter what he thinks, and THAT is the ikar point.

    “Conservatives” THINK that THEY can make their own decisions about what halachos are important or relevant, or to what degree they are relevant. It is what we call “cafeteria Judaism”, i.e. take a stroll through the Shulchan Aruch (not that most “conservative Jews” even know what a Shulchan Aruch IS) and as you stroll through, you say “Oh, Chanukah candles, OOOH, I like that, I’ll put that on my tray, but taharas hamishpacha… THOSE are antiquate laws that don’t interest me, so I’ll just pass those by, and uhh… Shabbas? – hmm… well, yeah I like my rabbi’s sermons Saturday mornings, but I enjoy going to the movies on Saturday afternoons, so I’m NOT gonna get FANATIC about Shabbas.” –And so the stroll goes.

    “Conservative Judaism” is a diseased product of galus in general, and of American democracy in particular. American life teaches that every thing can be voted on, everything is up to YOU to decide.

    HaSh-m’s mitzvot are just THAT – MITZVOT, commandments, NOT suggestions. Yes, we have free will, but along with that free will, come CONSEQUENCES! Reward for observing the mitzvot and PUNISHMENT for NOT observing them. It is NOT that HaSh-m is saying “you have free will – keep the mitzvot, don’t keep the mitzvot, either way is fine with me, – whatever you guys wanna do, I’m OK with it.” That is NOT the way it works. But in the “conservative” world, where the opinion of “rabbi Cynical” is just as valid as that of Rav Moshe zatz”l, or even the opinion of the average (Jewishly) uneducated baal ha’bayis is as valid as that of Rav Moshe, that IS the way it works.

    And so, – we are on two completely different wavelengths, and debate is futile.

    Do I hate “conservative” Jews? NOT AT ALL. I am terribly sad and sick over this galus disease that has claimed so many of our brothers and sisters, and will continue, HaSh-m yirachaiym, to claim many more as their intermarriage rates continue to soar. The only answer (in our human hands) is kiruv, – not debate.


    Cynical writes:

    “Would I perform a gay marriage? I’ve never been asked and probably not. Would I fight for their rights under American law? I haven’t been involved with this, but if push came to shove, I probably would because they deserve the same tax benefits, medical benefits, legal status, etc as a man and woman who have committed to each other in a permanent way.”

    You “probably” wouldn’t perform a gay “marriage” ? Probably?! How are you going to decide whether or not you are going to perform a gay “marriage” ? Flip a coin?

    You would fight for the rights of gay “marriage” ?

    The practice of homosexuality is considered an abomination by the Torah.

    And then you wonder why Conservative “Judaism” is not considered Judaism and why its “Rabbis” are not considered Rabbis, and why it’s “lumped” together with Reform “Judaism” ?

    not I

    These days the reform, conservative marry anyone. Mamzer, eishes ish (due to lack of kosher get)

    How would their children be Jewish then. They make invalid conversions and basically hold by a few of the mitzvos..


    SOmehow, I think the original intention of this thread got lost.

    the question is, can we be certain that people identifying as reform or conservative are actually jewish based on the level of intermarriage and non kosher conversions. Has the “rov” been lost.

    This has nothing to do with looking down on them or loving or hating them, it is trying to determine whather they are factually jewish based on the Torah. Loving them or not will not change the factual status.


    Without reading any responses to the original post first, I think it is a very sad question. It’s not up for debate. Being Jewish is a factual thing: You were either born Jewish (to a jewish mother) or converted halachacilly… If you live a Torah life – is up for questioning… You cannot “decide” to become unJewish. (Based on his actions a person may lose is chelek in Olam Haba, maybe even Olam Hazeh too…) but the fact that he is Jewish – how’s that a question?

    Darchei Noam

    apushatayid: “The term Reshaim was applied to those who grew up frum, knew better, and STILL joined those movements.”

    So I don’t see what we are arguing about. My actual comment was about their clergymen, not 7 year olds. And by your own words, you agree the movement itself is rishus, but its just a question whether the adherent knew that or was unaware.


    Wolf, I’ve got your back on this one.

    I personally know many non-Orthodox Jews, including Conservative, Reform, and unaffiliated. Many are married to non-Jews. None were raised in Orthodox homes. As far as I can tell, they are continuing to practice the same brand of Judaism that they were raised in.

    Are they shomer Torah u’mitzvos? Not a one. And with the exception of the Conservatives, they know it. One of the Reform jews I know introduced us once to a non jewish person and said, “We’re both Jewish, but ‘squeak’ is a real jew”. (Note: not that I agree with the implications of the words “real jew”; he’s as real and as jewish as I am, but what he meant was obvious to both of us.) The unaffiliated ones are comfortable with knowing (and asking) about any and everything, and doing nothing. Because that is how they were raised.

    OTOH, when I’m speaking to the Conservative, he speaks with the sense of being on the same plane, religiously, with me. Whether it’s about a Succah, Torah reading, Bar Mitzva, wedding (chupa)- his perspective is that our ceremonies may be different but not our level of observance. Again, this is no doubt how he was raised.

    If I were trying to bridge the gap, or at least keep the chasm from widening, I would not be focusing on the lack of observance of the people I am dealing with. Instead, I would focus on the inner strength they all show by stubbornly clinging to the beliefs and practices that were instilled in them by those they trusted most. Just as Orthodox jews stubbornly cling to theirs.



    I don’t bash the people, the one’s I know are very nice people. I strongly would bash the leaders and the movement. I say “would”, because there I have no purpose in doing so.


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    I think its so much easier to condemn someone than to try and help them.

    Why arent Reform and Conservative on the same level as Unaffiliated, because they have some messed up sense of Religion?


    Shavua Tov to one and all!

    Many of you seem to be confused about the nature of the Committee of Jewish Law and Standards (CJLS). It does not serve the function of a chief rabbi or rov that makes Psak Halacha. The CJLS debates Teshuvot written by its members on issues of Jewish law. After the discussion/debate, the Teshuva is put to a vote and if it garners the required number of votes it becomes an officially recognized position of the Conservative Movement. These positions are not forced on anyone and simply exist to provide Conservative rabbis with multiple ways to look at issues that are likely to arise. Rabbis who step outside the bounds of what the CJLS has deemed appropriate are disciplined and risk losing their membership in the Rabbinical Assembly. A cantor sits on the committee because he is more likely to be an expert in Jewish liturgy and synagogue practice; areas that are certainly important to Halakhic debate. The lay people sit on the committee because they can inform the rabbis of what the Jews in the pews are doing and how they feel. Lay input has always been important in Halakhic decision making because rabbis are not supposed to pass Takanot or interpret Halakha in a way that will be impossible for their followers to carry out. I suggest you take a look at some of the Teshuvot that the CJLS has approved:

    You will not find many of the things people on this forum are saying on that site, instead you will find learned discourses on pertinent issues of Halakha that cite legal literature ranging from the Torah to modern day poskim (Orthodox ones!).

    The CJLS has never abrogated Shabbat, Kashrut, Taharat Mishpacha, or anything else. As rabbis, we are greatly saddened that greater numbers in our communities are not observant as we would like them to be and we take much responsibility for that situation. For example, the (misquoted above) Teshuva about driving on Shabbos was passed in the early 20th century and we know it is weak on Halakhic grounds. It is a reflection of the time when it was written, a time when it looked like people would live to far away from synagogues to attend and it condoned driving ONLY to the synagogue, but nowhere else. Orthodox rabbis from that time period were also known to turn a blind eye or condone many activities that today you would not approve of, because they were just as desperate to keep people Jewishly involved. I still have very little problem saying that someone who drives only to shul is Shomer Shabbos, but unfortunately people will justify all sorts of things by saying “The Conservative Movements permits driving on Shabbos.”

    A “galus disease”? I don’t remember which of you wrote that. I really do hate using the “Sinat Chinam card” but do you really listen to what you are saying? Come on.

    Gays and gay marriage? Are homosexual acts permitted by the Torah and rabbinic Judaism? Clearly not. Would I stand up on a soapbox and lecture people? No, not only would I look like a fool, but people wouldn’t listen and I would turn them off to Judaism even more. Would I perform Kiddushin for a homosexual couple? No, I don’t think that’s what Jewish law defines as a marriage. I might be able to be convinced to perform some kind of Jewishly influenced commitment ceremony without the word marriage attached.

    I have no interest in any of you becoming Conservative Jews. What I am very interested in respect and friendship between different kinds of Jews. I want to work with the Orthodox shul a block away from mine on joint Kiddushes after services. I want to have joint Bet Midrash learning programs. I’d like our kids to play together in the same Shomer Shabbat sports leagues. I’d like to stand together with all the local rabbis, not just the Reform ones when it comes to Jewish issues like Israel or days off for our holidays in public school. Does that sound so bad to you? From the tenor of your comments, I would guess it does.

    If I’ve left anything unanswered, please remind me.

    Kol Tuv!


    The Conservative Movement is one of the great fallacies of our time. The CLJS is a body which decides halacha according to majority rule, and many policies are determined by the popular opinion of the laity. I am not duped by their overtures and flimsy justifications. That being said, however, CLJS resppnsa on non-controversial areas are generally well-written and reach conclusions we would not find objectionable. However, on anything politicized, such as those involving women’s issues, gays, driving on shabbos, etc., you will see that there is little solid evidence. For instance, the driving on shabbos teshuva is 2 pages long and includes no references whatsoever, IIRC. On issues in Orach Chaim, and similar matters, there is little objectionable material, and indeed, these reponsa can serve as a valuable wealth of English source material.



    1. Do YOU put on tefilin 6 days a week? Maintain full taharas hamishpacha (i.e. separation)? You have no justification to make a same gender “commitment ceremony”, when they are “committing” to violating Jewish law!

    2. Furthermore, how can you justify the abrogation of halacha (i.e. driving on Shabbos, etc.) in the name of maintaining halacha? Even if a majority of the laity will abrogate the law, that is no license to nullify it (even partially)! And surely you do not seriously expect us to provide even a modicum of recognition or respect to clergy in your movement that officially sanctions in their “responsa” violation of Jewish law (i.e. the CJLS’ accepted responsum permitted Conservative rabbis to allow homosexual union ceremonies and allowing practicing homosexuals to become rabbis). And the responsum itself being made by rabbis who openly violate Jewish law daily!

    How can you expect “joint programs” with Orthodoxy, when your movement engages in what Orthodoxy clearly holds to be outright biblical violations of Jewish law? Meaning, Orthodoxy holds you are not practicing Judaism. Are we not entitled to maintain this theological belief? And if we are, how can you expect anymore theological recognition or respect than we have for foreign religions?

    3. Lastly, considering your comments here (i.e. “greatly saddened that greater numbers in our communities are not observant”) do you believe it is “better” to be Orthodox than Conservative?

    so right

    cynic, by your own admission, you are converting people who do not accept Judaism as demanded under Jewish law, per Orthodox standards. That being the case, your movement has many members that are considered to be gentiles under Jewish law, per Orthodoxy. (And others are considered to be mamzeirim under Jewish law, per Orthodoxy, for their birth in a remarriage following a non-kosher divorce.) Thus, you must understand the utter incompatibility and irreconcilableness between your practices and Orthodoxy.


    Not sure if my post went through, sorry.

    Cyncical, you say that you “have very little problem saying that someone who drives to shul is still Shomer Shabbos.” Do you understand why to many them’s still fightin words, as it still falls under the rubric of melacha (Dayan Grunfeld’s magnificent short work, The Sabbath, is likely not as popular as Heschel’s but important to read.) and as such should be reserved for circumstances of pikuach nefesh? Also, you may just type fast so it’s easy for you to dash off all those “I think”s or “I don’t think”s. For most of us, it’s not up to debate or our consciences.

    And to those who indict the leaders: sometime ago I read an article by a reform rabbi who became fully observant. While IN THE RABBINATE he had never heard of the concept of carrying on Shabbos. There are not many left who have any serious level of scholarship, and of those who do, the hashkafa gap is profound.

    The joint Bet medrash idea won’t work if we can’t approach the text with some basic shared fundamental premises. AND, back to an original question of mine: are the laity prepped enough with basic general knowledge and skills for it to be a mutual give and take? Because if not, and it’s a matter of the more learned teaching the other, there are already programs in place. I know of a Partners in Torah program that regularly has dozens and dozens of pairs learning together, and PiT isn’t the only such program.

    As for the baseball, I’m all for it. My kids have done that already 😉 (It’s publicized in the local Orthodox community but I don’t believe anyone’s been turned away.)

    minyan gal

    “people would live too far away from synagogues to attend and it condoned driving ONLY to the synagogue, but nowhere else”

    I once had a discussion with the Rabbi(Chabad) at my daughter’s shul. He told that he never asks his congregants how they get to shul on Shabbat and that he would prefer them to come, no matter how they get there. He also told me that the municipality where the shul is located received a letter from a neighbor of the shul complaining about too many cars parked on the surrounding streets on Saturdays and Jewish holidays (BTW the complainants name was Abdul) but they would never consider having the parking lot open on Shabbat. So, as far as I can see the main difference between this Chabad shul’s viewpoint and that of my Conservative shul, is the fact that the Conservative parking lot is always open.


    Cynical writes:

    “For example, the (misquoted above) Teshuva about driving on Shabbos was passed in the early 20th century, and we know it is weak on Halakhic grounds. It is a reflection of the time when it was written, a time when it looked like people would live too far away from synagogues to attend, and it condoned driving ONLY to the synagogue, but nowhere else.”

    “I still have very little problem saying that someone who drives only to shul is Shomer Shabbos.”

    So if it was a reflection of the time when it was written, and if it is no longer relevant, and if the CJLS knows that it is weak on Halakhic grounds, why doesn’t the CJLS revoke the Teshuva of allowing someone to drive to “shul” on Shabbos? How can someone who is being Mechalel Shabbos be Shomer Shabbos ?!

    “Gays and gay marriage? Are homosexual acts permitted by the Torah and rabbinic Judaism? Clearly not. Would I stand up on a soapbox and lecture people? No, not only would I look like a fool, but people wouldn’t listen, and I would turn them off to Judaism even more. Would I perform Kiddushin for a homosexual couple? No, I don’t think that’s what Jewish law defines as a marriage. I might be able to be convinced to perform some kind of Jewishly-influenced commitment ceremony without the word marriage attached.”

    You don’t want to look like a fool in front of people. You only want to look like a fool in front of G-d, who has proclaimed the practice of homosexuality as an abomination.

    How can even a “commitment ceremony” between 2 gay people be “Jewishly-influenced,” whatever that means, if Judaism prohibits the practice of homosexuality ?!



    I’m fascinated that you are posting here. I will refrain from commenting on your screen-name.

    I’m sorry you feel that there is not friendship and respect among the different types of Jews. However, it is clear that you will continue to think so as long as you define such friendship as us doing things which are not permitted.

    I do respect you as people and am friends with some of you.

    We do not respect or recognize your movement, organizations, temples, “rabbis”, and institutions.

    We cannot make joint kiddush with your shul, we do not recognize it as a shul and do not want to give that impression.

    We will not make joint learning programs; any of your members are welcome to join ours, though.

    There are many places in America where your kids and ours do play on the same leagues, but you cannot really expect us to allow our kids exposure to the things your kids are doing.

    Our rabbis cannot stand together with your “rabbis”, in any rabbinical function.

    I’d like to throw the disrespect question back to you. If you cannot respect our following halacha, inasmuch as it calls for a non-recognizing of your institutions, in what way do you respect us. I’m not asking you to respect our halacha, all I ask is you respect our need to follow it.


    Minyangal, the difference is that your rabbi will not consider them fully shomer Shabbos.


    The question was are the Reform and Conservative, Jewish. The answer is Yes, if they are born Jews of an unquestionably Jewish mother. If the mom is not Jewish or was converted by other than Orthodox means, then the answer is no. As to the issue of whether when she was converted she lived as a frum Jew, and how that impacts her “Jewishness,” I am not a rov obviously, but I will relate what I learned. One of the things a rov is supposed to tell a prospective Ger Tzedek, to discourgae him from converting, is the following: “You can live your life as a wonderful non-Jew, and be a person worthy of Olam Haba, by following the 7 Mitzvos Bnei Noach. If you are mechallel Shabbos now, you have no aveira from it. If you eat a burger at McDonald’s, you have no aveira, NOW. But once you become a Jew al pi halacha, and do those same things that are permitted to you today, you will be considered a sinner and be liable for an onesh. So why change your status?” This thought leads me to believe that if the person would become liable after the conversion, for doing what then would be considered an aveira for him, that the conversion is absolutely valid, EVEN IF HE DOES NOT LIVE IN A FRUM WAY, otherwise, his status would revert to being a Goy, and he would therefore NOT be chayav. Am I making any sense here? And what is the actual determination? Because one could argue that ANY ger tzedek might be oveir on SOME halacha as we all might be nichshal, so would that render him a non-valid convert?


    minyan gal – “…the main difference between this Chabad shul’s viewpoint and that of my Conservative shul, is the fact that the Conservative parking lot is always open.”

    You are correct, considering this viewpoint and many other Chabad beliefs of today, Chabad has moved outside mainstream Orthodox halachik and hashkafic consensus.

    Ben Torah

    While there are issues with Lubavitch, in fairness I think that rabbi’s attitude was not officially sanctioned by Chabad, but rather his own two cents worth.

    minyan gal

    Poppa bar Abba: You are very lucky to live in a community with an enormous Jewish population so that you may live your life only associating with people who are as frum as you are.

    I live in a much smaller Jewish community where on many occasions all of the Rabbis do stand together as a united front. They all sit together in a group called the Council of Rabbis. They occasionally attend each other shul’s for lectures, etc. In the city that I live in the only 2 kosher bakeries in town (certified by the OU) are open on Shabbat, the only certified kosher fishmarket also carries shellfish. In NY these things would never happen but in the “outposts” people adapt. In fact, most of the shuls in this city are located in the area where most of the Jews used to live. In the area that they live in now there are only 2 shuls – one conservative and one orthodox. The ortho shul does not have a daily minyan, so all types of Jews attend my shul for yahrzeiten. I don’t know how you might live your life if you lived in a community like I do – do you? Don’t tell me that I don’t respect your halacha or your lifestyle – I do and I admire you for it. I just ask that you respect the way that I choose to live my life, as well. After all, if there were no conservative shuls a great number of those people would choose no Judaism at all rather than a frum lifestyle – then they would be lost forever. My personal view is (as a religious conservative Jew) that my daily attendance at shul and ongoing Torah study makes me as good a Jew as many orthodox and better than a lot because, after all, a good number who identify themselves as orthodox are what we call “3 day a year Jews”. So, is it better to go 3 times a year and call yourself orthodox or be there every Shabbat and Yomtov and call yourself conservative? It is a rhetorical question because people will do what is most comfortable for them.


    Darchei, we disagree on a lot more than we agree on. I’ll leave it at that. My original comment to this thread stands.


    Ben Torah, I wish you were right but I’m not no sure. Enough said ’cause anymore will be censored.


    minyan gal:

    It is prohibited for any rabbi to serve on a council of rabbis where conservative rabbis are included.

    This is accepted throughout Orthodoxy, and agreed to by Rav JB Soloveichik, so it is accepted by YU as well.

    If I lived in a community with only a conservative shul, I would not attend. My Judaism is about what G-d wants, not about what is comfortable to me. I believe that G-d would rather me stay home.

    I don’t think you are a bad person. I’m sorry if you think I do. I think you have been misled. I do disrespect those who mislead you.

    Again, all I ask is you to understand the rules which bind me, and how I cannot recognize your movement.


    The fact is, the Conservative movement is simply an offshoot of the Reform movement, begining with Zecharias Frankel and Sabato Morais, both Conservative founders originally from the Reform.


    cyincal: you are the proof to kishmo ken hu. There is a great logical distance between the Ashkenazic Jew 1200 vs the Rashba, and you not accepting the psak of Rav Moshe ztk’l. The Jew in Ashkenaz may have had no access to the Rashba, or he may have been under the achrayut of Chachmei ashkenaz. YOU presumably knew of Rav Moshe, has access to his teshuva, could have contacted him, and had NO OTHER HIGHER AUTHORITY. And you are a very little fish in a very big pond to be casting aspersion (“mean spirited”) on the quality of his psak. Do you mean to say the tshuva was contaminated by personal emotion?!!! See Rambam Hilchot Teshuva 3;8 regarding those who have no olam haba. Or is the Ramban too mean spirited to be relevant to you and yours.

    yours truly,


    nicely recovering from a

    conservative youth.


    “The CLJS has never abrogated Shabbos Kashruth, Taharat Hamishpacha …. As Rabbis we are greatly saddened…” and we take resposibility. Indeed, your responsibility is frightening. Did you ever attempt to introduce the adherence to Shabat Kashrut an Taharat Mishpacha? And if not, why not. Is your sole function to validate the secular lifestyle and assimilation of your flock? Is Judaism limited to what goes on in the confines of the synagogue? That would explain the parking lot, but little else. You and your colleagues are guilty of mesit umediah by ommission. I will now go wretch.


    Here’s are some examples of some of the Teshuvos of Conservative “Judaism:”

    “May Women Tie Tzitzis Knots?” by “Rabbi” Shoshana Gelfand.

    “Regarding the Inclusion of the Names of the Matriarchs in the First Blessing of the Amidah.”

    That’s right. Let’s take the Shmoneh Esray, which was composed by the divine inspiration of the Anshay Knesses HaGedolah, and let’s change it.

    “May an avowed Atheist serve as a Shliach Tzibur?”

    “A member of the congregation, who is somewhat observant of the Shabbat and Festivals, but who is an avowed atheist, enjoys leading the congregation in prayer. May an avowed atheist serve as a Shliach Tzibur?”

    Is anyone laughing (or crying) yet?

    Ok, folks. Let’s vote on this one.

    “Should Nesias Kapayim include Bnos Kohanim?”

    “The Status of Daughters of Kohanim and Leviyim for Aliyos.”

    “Aliyos for Couples.”

    “Placing Homosexual Rabbis in Congregations.”

    “An avowed homosexual who is a member of the Rabbinical Assembly has asked that his name be sent by the Joint Placement Commission for rabbinic placement to congregations. May the Joint Placement Commission place such a rabbi in a congregation?”

    Ok, folks. Let’s vote on this one, too!

    “The Committee on Jewish Law and Standards (CJLS) of the Rabbinical Assembly provides guidance in matters of halakhah for the Conservative movement. The individual rabbi, however, is the authority for the interpretation and application for all matters of halakhah.”

    So the CJLS decides halakhah by vote. But if the individual rabbi disagrees with the CJLS, he can interpret as he pleases!

    So, Conservative “Judaism” follows Halachah? Whose Halachah does it follow?


    Well, since we seem to like the Conservative “teshuvos”, I’ll tell over a good one.

    The question was: Do the Conservative recognize Reform conversion?

    This was a loaded question. If the answer is no, they would lose their complaint against the Orthodox for not recognizing them. If the answer is yes, they are admitting that they do not follow halacha, since the Reform do not even claim to be following halacha.

    They answered: Reform conversion is meaningless, but, Reform converts are Jewish.

    They addressed the contradiction by pointing to the gemara in Yevamos, Perek 2, where Beis Hillel and Beis Shamai argue about the status of a tzara erva. It came out according to Beis Hillel, that some of Beis shamai’s families were mamzerim, and accoridng to Beis shamai, some of Beis Hillel’s families were “pagum”. Nevertheless, the gemara says that they used to marry from each other’s families.

    The conservative “poskim” pointed to this as proof that even if someone else has an invalid belief, we still accept the results of their action.

    They then noted that Rashi states that Beis Hillel and Shamai would tell the others which families were forbidden to them, and they would marry accordingly. However, the conservative stated that the gemara could also be read not like Rashi.

    Actually, it is the gemara which says that they would warn each other which families not to marry.

    Isn’t that interesting?


    I read and post on this forum because I have a great deal of respect and admiration for Orthodoxy and what it has accomplished in America. I attended Orthodox Yeshiva high school and have spent plenty of time in that world. In addition, my grandfather A”H was an Orthodox rabbi who was one of the most devout Jews I have ever known. While he would never take an ALiyah in a Conservative synagogue, he treated all Jews the same way and would have an intelligent and serious conversation with anyone. He knew Gemara inside and out, but could also talk authoritatively on modern biblical studies and American history (in which he had a doctorate). It was a beautiful form of Orthodoxy and one which is harder and harder to find. He was one of my inspirations for becoming a rabbi and I am saddened that his Judaism is disappearing.

    For those of you who felt the need to knock the CJLS teshuvot, I would suggest you actually read them. Out of curiosity, why exactly would you say a woman can’t tie tzitzit knots?

    Regarding serving with other rabbis – You will not find this universally accepted in Orthodoxy. In fact, Rav Soloveitchik who you mentioned, famously worked with Rabbi Saul Lieberman on forming a joint Beit Din for issuing Gittin. Sadly, their efforts fell through, but the effort was there.

    I’ve decided that I will no longer be posting on this thread. I am happy that I maintained a civil discourse while many of you foamed at the mouth at the mere thought of a COnservative rabbi. As with any forum, there are usually a few people who post, but many more who read. I can only hope that they were happy to see that there are other Jews out there to talk to.

    Kol Tuv


    question: (may not be related) but someone just told me how a chabad rabbi did a ‘conversion’ on someone that a mainstream orthodox rabbi refused to do. (She married a Jew, converted conservative or reform (not sure which) and now went to the chabad rabbi.Her husband is not frum (shomer shabbos) and neither is she. I was very surprised by this. Apparently chabad is more lenient? is this true? (


    “It is prohibited for any rabbi to serve on a council of rabbis where conservative rabbis are included.

    This is accepted throughout Orthodoxy, and agreed to by Rav JB Soloveichik, so it is accepted by YU as well.”

    This not true. The Rav *permitted* participatation in such councils as long as halachic matters were not discussed.

    My own rav, received semicha from Rav Soloveitchik, once took me to a New York Board of Rabbis event where he was being honored. On the way home, he ragged on all the things they were doing that he disagreed with!

    Rabbi Henry Pereira Mendes helped found the New York Board of Rabbis in the 1880s — before The Rov or any of the rabbis who opposed him on this issue were born. (He helped found the Orthodox Union in the 1890s.) At least two orthodox rabbis currently serve as officers of the New York Board of Rabbis; at least a half dozen have served as Presidents.

    “The fact is, the Conservative movement is simply an offshoot of the Reform movement, begining with Zecharias Frankel and Sabato Morais, both Conservative founders originally from the Reform.”

    Not true regarding Morais. He was solidly orthodox and the congregation he led for almost half a century remains orthodox — it is 270 years old this year.

    “Let’s take the Shmoneh Esray, which was composed by the divine inspiration of the Anshay Knesses HaGedolah, and let’s change it.”

    Bad example. Every Jew who davens “Nusach Sfard” or “Nusach Ari” is praying a “changed” Shemoneh Esrei.

    “they would never consider having the parking lot open on Shabbat”

    There is a Young Israel shul in my neighborhood that has an open parking lot on Shabat. Doctors on call and hatzalah volunteers use it.


    An avowed homosexual who is a member of the Rabbinical Assembly has asked that his name be sent by the Joint Placement Commission for rabbinic placement to congregations. May the Joint Placement Commission place such a rabbi in a congregation?”

    Is the homosexual an Orthodox Jew and is he totally celibate? If so, I fail to see a bona fide problem. If he is NOT Orthodox and/or commits the aveira of mishkav zachar, that is a different story. But if he is celibate, then he is no more immoral than a heterosexual who remains celibate. It is the ACT, not the person, that is the sin.

    Ben Torah

    cynical: A) What is the intermarriage rate in your community and in the Conservative society in general? B) Why do you propose it is deep in the double-digits, yet it is around 1% (or less) in Orthodoxy?

    Darchei Noam


    Being that you & your colleagues convert people who have no intention of properly maintaining the Shabbos even once (or practice homosexuality) in contradiction of Jewish law, why should you be surprised that your conversions are considered null and void under Orthodox Jewish law?


    Cynical got stumped.

    That was pretty quick I might add.


    There is a Young Israel shul in my neighborhood that has an open parking lot on Shabat. Doctors on call and hatzalah volunteers use it.

    What are you trying to say?


    I can’t be bothered to read all the different comments on Conservatism vs. Orthodox, but, bottom line is Orthodox includes Yeshivishe, Heimishe, Litvish, Chasidish, Modern Orthodox etc because they don’t deny any of the 613 mitzvos and consider them all binding but, Conservative is mechallel Shabbos and doesn’t keep a lot of other mitzvos, like tsnius and proper kashrus and many other mitzvos so how can they consider themselves Torah true Jews. The whole basis of Yiddishkeit is Shabbos. The Torah has never changed and may not be changed just to suit the times. It always suits the times, one just has to follow the Torah and not follow his whims.

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