What are any issues with serving a role in Conservative Shule?

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  • #1761487

    Ayelets
    Participant

    What are some issues/prohibitions on being a paid Chazan for a Conservative shule, or for being the Ba’al Koreh. In a non Mechitza scenario.

    #1761920

    koffee
    Participant

    It is absolutely אסור to take up any role whatsoever in a Conservative synagogue. To my knowledge, the poskim treat it no differently than a church.

    #1761933

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    Koffee, Not exactly true

    Some conservative synagogues have glatt kosher caterers, with excellent Hashghas, so they obviously have Mashgiachs

    Also some Conservative synangogues have Orthodox Minyanim with an orthodox rabbi

    #1761932

    Redleg
    Participant

    Koffee, he (she?) didn’t ask you for a psak. He/she asked for a discussion of the issues involved. Are there any other concerns besides the mixed seating? Does the conservative movement deny Torah min HaShamaim? that would make all of the “mispalellim” (for Joseph, note the quotation marks) kofrim which would be a good reason to avoid any association. Any other issues you can think of?

     

    Edited for civility

    #1761927

    Joseph
    Participant

    It is forbidden to even enter a Conservative or Reform temple.

    #1761979

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    It is forbidden to even enter a Conservative or Reform temple.

    Then how do you explain some conservative temples having Orthodox Minyans or Orthodox Catering under very good hashghcas

    And BTW I know of A YESHIVISH Minyan in a conservative temple

    #1761981

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    Joseph, if you follow R’ Moshe’s psak that it’s assur to walk into a Conservative establishment, you also have to shave and eat cholov stam.

    #1761983

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    ZD, I think everyone says going into the actual sanctuary is a problem, some are meikil on other rooms in the building.

    #1761986

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    ZD, I think everyone says going into the actual sanctuary is a problem, some are meikil on other rooms in the building.

    At least once I was at a wedding at one of them with Orthodox Hashghca and the wedding itself was in the sanctuary with seperate seating. if you didnt know beforehand that it was conservative you wouldnt have known it then except for the prayer books that were left in the Pews (They were not used for this wedding)

    #1762089

    motchah11
    Participant

    DaasYochid:

    What are you talking about he HAS to shave and drink cholov stam? What nonsense! Rav Koshe zt”l was mattir these things under certain situations, but spoke and wrote against doing them. Just because he follows Rav Moshe’s psak against entering Conservative and Reform temples means he HAS to shave and drink cholov stam? What in the world are you talking about?

    #1762095

    Neville ChaimBerlin
    Participant

    Motachah: DY was obviously joking.

    ZD:
    The OP clearly wasn’t about using a Conservative building for a wedding venue. That’s another discussion. It seemed like he was talking about actively participating in Conservative services, and which issurim are involved.

    #1762174

    happilyretired56
    Participant

    There’s a difference between “walking into” a non-orthodox synagogue (let’s say to attend a bar mitzva) and “serving a role” there. The former has been matired by many poskim if one is careful not to give the appearance of davening there. The latter definitely has its issues, but there could be mitigating circumstances such as parnassa. That’s why we have Rabbanim.

    #1762192

    flatbusher
    Participant

    I would love to know what conservative shuls have an orthodox minyan as part of its membership–I don’t mean a minyan that rents out space. Maybe 50 years ago there were a number of Orthodox rabbis in Conservative shuls, but how can an Orthodox rabbi serve in a shul where women are counted to a minyan and given aliyos, or the chazzan is a woman, not to mention greater acceptance of intermarriage?

    #1762205

    yehudayona
    Participant

    Flatbusher, I believe there are still Conservative synagogues where women aren’t counted for a minyan and don’t receive aliyos. Some call themselves traditional while others are billed as egalitarian. I suspect it’s only the latter where women participate in all roles.

    As regards walking into a conservative synagogue, I think there are yeshivas that rent space in them. I once worked for a secular school that rented classroom space in a conservative synagogue. On rare occasion, they used the sanctuary. Much to my surprise, the siddurim in the pews were Artscroll.

    #1762238

    laughing
    Participant

    I grew up in an orthodox shul and have been davening in a conservative shul for more than 25 years and so far I have not been hit by lightning. BTW, I am one of many who lain and who are shlichei tzibur. It is a shul filled with folks who are yodeiah sefer.

    #1762263

    ListenAndThink
    Participant

    IMPORTANT NOTE: There is no such thing as a conservative or reform “shul”….they are only referred to as “temples” (shul refers to a proper makom of Tefilah and learning).
    Please correct the thread title, thank you.

    #1762325

    koffee
    Participant

    Laughing: Why would you expect to be hit by lightning? Does every עברין get hit by lightning? It is indeed sad that יודעי ספר stray so far from the teachings of גדולי הפוסקים.

    #1762354

    ☕️coffee addict
    Participant

    “but how can an Orthodox rabbi serve in a shul where women are counted to a minyan and given

    I guess you haven’t heard of Avi Weiss

    #1762356

    CTLAWYER
    Participant

    @listenandthink
    “There is no such thing as a conservative or reform “shul”….they are only referred to as “temples”

    You are showing your ignorance, bias or a victim of self reference criteria reasoning.
    ‘Shul’ is a Yiddish word, not everyone speaks or uses Yiddish.

    Temple is an English word.
    My parents grew up in NYC. If they heard/read the word Temple associated with a synagogue name they assumed it was Reform, not Conservative.
    In 1950 they moved to New England. In the Boston area many Orthodox synagogues has Temple as part of their name.
    Typically Conservative and Orthodox synagogues here in CT use the word Congregation followed by a Hebrew word or two.
    The oldest synagogue in NYC is Congregation Shearith Israel which is Orthodox, also Sephardic so the word shul does not apply.
    I have been a member and/or president of 5 Orthodox synagogues in my adult life. One had 4 Hebrew words followed by the word Synagogue as its name. The other 4 were named Congregation XXXXX XXXXX.
    There are Conservative synagogues I am aware of in New England that often the use the name Temple XXXXX, Some are old congregations (more than 100 years) that started as Orthodox and changed to Conservative in the mid 20th Century. An example is Temple B’Nai Abraham in Meriden, CT.

    Please don’t label Jews and their synagogues based on your limited knowledge or how it is done in your neighborhood

    #1762377

    yytz
    Participant

    HappilyRetired: You said that some poskim allow attending a bar mitzvah in a Conservative house of worship. Who, specifically? I have never heard of this–as far as I was aware, attending any religious event in the sanctuary of a Conservative place would be asur according to all Orthodox opinions.

    I don’t think it matters if it’s one of those few Conservative places left that still has a mechitza. The C movement doesn’t believe that the Torah (particularly Oral Torah) is from Sinai.

    #1762405

    rational
    Participant

    The poskim who forbid entering a Conservative shul do so because they were raised in the period where Conservative Jewry was considered a threat to Orthodoxy. Since that is no longer the case, it should not surprise anyone that this once forbidden act is viewed today with greater leniency.

    #1762475

    Neville ChaimBerlin
    Participant

    rational:
    I really hope you’re trolling. The Conservative movement is much more Reform, and anti-Torah today than it was back then. Unless you’re claiming that it’s so radically different than Orthodoxy today that nobody will be tempted to join? Which, by the way, would still be an insanely stupid argument.

    #1762479

    yytz
    Participant

    Rational: It’s not about the threat. A big consideration in their psakim was the fact that when an Orthodox Jew attends a C place, it makes the “Conservative Jews” feel like they are being validated, as somehow proof that they are doing nothing wrong by being C. That issue is still as valid as ever.

    #1762543

    Uncle Ben
    Participant

    Let’s try to remember that Laughing is a self identified שנה ופירש when he/she comments on other threads.

    #1762879

    CTRebbe
    Participant

    I think a more significant point than the status of R’ Laughing is to realize that this is not only being read by a bunch of Yeshivalite shmoozing in a Yeshiva coffee room. It is being read by everyone in the world. Imagine you had a brother that you were close with your whole life and then he joins a Conservative synagogue. Make comments with the love and sensitivity that this very brother is reading everything you say hear. What would you like him to hear?

    Even insinuating that your brother is a kofer is not the smartest or kindest thing to do. It is also probably not true.

    #1762549

    Rebbe Yid
    Participant

    Rav Moshe held you could teach in a C hebrew school even with their books. He held you could have a wedding in a C sanctuary–as long as it was not during davening time, so people wouldn’t think you were going there to daven. He did not approve of having an O minyan in their building for the same reason, and also so that people wouldn’t be tempted to go into the C sanctuary to hear the rabbi speak.

    #1762653

    Neville ChaimBerlin
    Participant

    I think the OP was looking for a list of issurim (eg. kol isha, bracha l’vatalla, etc.) rather than inquiring whether or not it’s assur. The thread has taken a weird turn that’s probably a nightmare for the mods since we aren’t supposed to post kefira, but also don’t want to isolate not-yet-frum yidden.

    You wouldn’t go up to a Conservative Jew and scream koifer like we do to each other on the CR all the time. There’s a reason not to bash them like they bash us. I don’t see where this thread goes that’s positive at this point.

    #1763394

    rational
    Participant

    The Conservative movement has been on the wane for decades. Just like the period when Shuls were taking over abandoned churches, it makes sense for Orthodox minyanim to use Conservative shul property (basement, social hall, etc…) for Orthodox minyanim, and eventually buy out the building itself, creating a new Orthodox shul. For this purpose, the edict not to enter a Conservative (or Reform, for that matter) shul is irrelevant and certainly does not apply. To claim that by doing this the Orthodox contingent would be tempted to join the Conservative movement is laughable.
    I see here that this process is actually happening in certain communities, and it is perfectly acceptable.

    On another level, attending a celebratory event in a social hall of a Conservative shul does not in any way lend legitimacy to the Conservative Movement.

    #1763492

    Uncle Ben
    Participant

    Wow! So the great world renowned Posek Rational differs with the Igros Moshe. So kind of you to share your learned teshuva with us, chock full of maareh mekomos and raiyos.

    #1763579

    Neville ChaimBerlin
    Participant

    “So the great world renowned Posek Rational differs with the Igros Moshe. So kind of you to share your learned teshuva with us, chock full of maareh mekomos and raiyos.”

    Actually, the renowned Rational tried to change his stance completely and hoped nobody would notice. He’s now talking about Orthodox communities taking over abandoned Conservative shuls and converting them to Orthodox shuls. Nobody says Conservative shuls have a din of beis avoda zara. His original argument was that Orthodox Jews can daven in active Conservative shuls alongside their kefiradik brethren.

    #1763913

    Abba_S
    Participant

    What I think Rational is saying is that Orthodox Jews are joining Conservative shuls so that once they become the majority they can vote out the Conservatives and convert it to Orthodox.

    #1763591

    Gadolhadorah
    Participant

    There are multiple large Conservative congregations/shuls/temples etc. that have the same bifurcation as the rest of the community on these issues and have attempted to resolve these issues by creating parallel minyanim using different names but generally split along the lines of traditional (with separate seating, full davening and reading the entire parsha rather than the “triennial” short version) versus “egalitarian” with mixed seating and abbreviated davening with more English. They continue to have a common membership, joint social events at the shul, but do not attempt to coerce the other side to adopt or compromise on their preferred style of davening. The traditional minyan will still not meet the requirements of the truly frum but they are certainly the kofrim that some here like to claim.

    #1764487

    Uncle Ben
    Participant

    Well well! I can actually agree with Katan Hadorah on a “Hashkafa” matter!
    “but they are certainly the kofrim that some here like to claim.”
    In additional news, you read it on YWN first. A new denomination has been declared; Bifurcated Judaism!

    #1764488

    Joseph
    Participant

    GHD: That’s like mixing milk and meat. Or mixing non-treif with treif. Or mixing J4J with plain ‘ole Jews.

    #1764555

    Neville ChaimBerlin
    Participant

    Abba:
    That’s for sure not what he’s saying, and that would be obviously assur.

    I’m going to be straight, unless someone can provide a clear, verifiable example, I do not believe that there are any Conservative shuls in America today that don’t count women and do have a mechitzah. Maybe, just maybe, that was true like 50 years ago.

    Gadol, even if these mythical traditional minyanim exist, they are still 100% koifers. They don’t believe that Hashem revealed the Torah to Moshe Rabbeinu, they still drive on Shabbos, they censor tefillos to exclude mention of the beis hamikdash and openly state that they don’t want it to return, they allow Kohanim to marry gerim, etc. This idea that Conservative kefira is a new thing and that they were still kosher at the initial split is a total fabrication. They are and always have been “Reform, but with Hebrew.”

    #1764558

    Gadolhadorah
    Participant

    These “traditional” minyanim at some conservative shuls will not satisfy the standards of even the most progressive MO shuls but they exist because there is a real bifurcation where some congregants are simply unwilling to adopt the more reform/egalitarian trends in the Conservative movement. I don’t believe they are “renting” space but simply co-exist in the same physical facilities, especially in some areas where the overall Jewish population has declined.

    #1764571

    yehudayona
    Participant

    Neville, you’re overgeneralizing. From my admittedly limited knowledge, there’s a wide range of practices in Conservative synagogues. I mentioned one that used the Artscroll siddur. I know of another that used the Birnbaum siddur. It’s highly unlikely that they censored prayers (though I suspect they skipped a lot). I use the past tense because these synagogues both closed a few years ago.

    My guess is that there are no Conservative synagogues with mechitzas but there are still some that don’t count women for a minyan or give women aliyos.

    #1764577

    Neville ChaimBerlin
    Participant

    “These “traditional” minyanim at some conservative shuls will not satisfy the standards of even the most progressive MO shuls”

    You aren’t saying anything wrong, but it’s overall very discomforting how much you seem to be avoiding saying they’re doing anything halachically wrong and instead saying stuff like “satisfy the standards,” etc. Maybe I’m just being overly cynical; it might just be me. Are you just being choshesh for people’s feelings by wording it that way?

    By the way, I’m aware of some split within the Conservative world, but it mainly revolves around the topics of female rabbis and toeiva marriages. Separate seating I have never heard of. That’s always been a defining characteristic of their “movement” as you can tell from that recent autistic daughter thread.

    #1764578

    besalel
    Participant

    I will try to address the OP: the reason is rooted in the dogfight between the Orthodox and Conservative which took place mostly in the 1940s and 1950s. In that decade, there was a real fight for the soul of the American Jew. Already then, there was a recognition that Reform Judaism was too far removed to be called Jewish and it was a real fight between Orthodox and Conservative for title as leaders of American Judaism. The fight on the Orthodox side was waged mostly by the modern Orthodoxy (as more right winged branches of Orthodoxy was neither threatened by Conservative nor large enough to matter) and YU versus JTS was fought in weekly sermons by the likes of Rabbi Norman Lamm and other Modern Orthodox pulpit Rabbis. JTS and YU fought over Rabbis and students alike and YU/Orthodoxy was losing. Unfortunately, the Conservative movement was slaughtering and shul after shul switched from Orthodox to Conservative. Most American Jews believed then that switching from Orthodox to Conservative still allowed you to remain within the umbrella of the Jewish people while many orthodox Jewish Rabbis prophetically envisioned that Conservative Judaism was going to turn out to be a giant farce that was going to lead to an abandonment of Halacha, intermarriage and soon thereafter the total destruction of the Jewish people in America. A line had to be drawn. As part of this war, YU decreed that any Rabbi receiving ordination in its Yeshiva who takes a job at a Conservative shul (where all the jobs were) is automatically stripped of his ordination. Recognizing that need to essentially place Conservative in complete cherem and niddui in order to save American Judaism, the Orthodox world agreed to take the harshest action against even the most innocent of Rabbis like Rabbis Shaul Lieberman, Louis Finkelstein and Jose Fauer – who were Orthodox but took jobs at JTS. They let it be known that you can be Jewish or Conservative but not both. They declared that just like Reformed was considered by all – not really Jewish – so too was Conservative. If not for those actions, who know how many other countless Jewish lives would have been lost to the fraud that Conservative Judaism turned out to be? It may have been harsh – especially to those like Rabbis Liberman, Finklestein and Fauer but, in my view, it was the only way to preserve what was not already lost.

    #1764580

    Uncle Ben
    Participant

    KatanHadorah; Of what relevance are the internal policy divisions of a blatantly kefirah movement to the topic under discussion?

    #1764593

    Gadolhadorah
    Participant

    Benny…..the original “topic” of the post was the scope of issues/prohibitions arising from a presumably frum chazan/baal koreh accepting employment from a “conservative” shul. The point that you and others refuse to recognize is that there is no single model of a “conservative” shul and their practices range across a wide spectrum. Obviously, some prefer to paint them all as kofrim so thats your option but many are true shomrei torah umitzvos.

    #1764669

    Neville ChaimBerlin
    Participant

    “Obviously, some prefer to paint them all as kofrim so thats your option but many are true shomrei torah umitzvos.”

    That’s just flat out false. None of them are shomer Torah umitzvos, by definition. I hate to cry to mommy and daddy, but what ever happened to the “we don’t post kefira” policy on the CR?

    #1764798

    ☕️coffee addict
    Participant

    Katanhadorah,

    If a shomer Torah umitzvos calls himself conservative does that make him one

    The same is for the opposite

    #1764838

    AhvasChinom
    Participant

    I will refrain from a major comment, but I am amazed that, in over 40 entries after the initial post asking about issues, no one (did I miss it?) even mentioned a microphone, which is probably used in virtually every Conservative congregation (not that it is necessarily as much of an issue as some believe it to be, without going into detail, and it might well have been less of an issue, had there not been a Conservative movement. Much of the discussion years ago, of course, was before fluidics and Tzomet. There was at least one case where a rav was able to put in a mechitza, and instead of having to persuade the people to not have a microphone, they raised money for the Tzomet system). On another note, there was an effort years ago to get Orthodox rabbanim into Conservative shuls for kiruv purposes. Heteirim were given on a very individual basis. There was one well-known case where R Soloveichik was matir under the conditions that the rav not take a salary or move into the neighborhood until a mechitza was put in, and it had to be clear that he was not davening there, only leading the services. After several months, a mechitza was put in, and that institution became a major source of Torah and kiruv, responsible for hundreds and hundreds of baalei teshuva.

    #1764853

    Gadolhadorah
    Participant

    Neville: You are entitled to your opinion. Other posters above note they have either davened at “conservative” shuls or know of others who have done so and do not consider their participation in such minyanin as kefirah. You obviously disagree and its your also your right to request the Mods to take down our dissenting viewpoints. I’m not in the business of labeling and trashing other yidden. No more comments on my end.

    #1764892

    Neville ChaimBerlin
    Participant

    It’s not opinion. It’s the simple definition of the word kefira. They do not believe that Hashem gave the Torah. Period. That’s all that needs to be said.

    They label themselves, not us. And, by the way, you absolutely are in the business of trashing yidden. 99% of your posts are trashing the Orthodoxy, and now you’ve added defending kefira to balance it out a bit.

    It’s not about censoring dissenting views. All I’m asking the mods to consider is the consequences of allowing this forum to be infiltrated by the Conservative/Reform. Not unlike an infiltration by Jews for Jesus, it would cause a lot of us to no longer feel comfortable using these forums. You can’t expect us to talk with a kiruv filter 100% of the time. We come here to avoid having to do that.

    #1764999

    MrSarahLevine613
    Participant

    I agree with “Rational” which admittedly may not help Rational’s case. A few points. I grew up and was bar mitzvahed in a Conservative Synagogue – which for various reasons spawned a few well known people presently in the Orthodox/Charedi world. (For one, the Hebrew School and the Youth Programs were run by Orthodox people. This was in the 1960s, 70s and into the 80s).

    1. If you ask the sheilah — there are poskim who permit attending a bar mitzvah, aufruf, etc in a conservative synagogue. These “heterim” are on a case by case basis. In other words, i am not sure i have seen anything in writing about it.

    2. Back in the 1950s the C movement did present a threat to the O movement. But, now, the C movement is really in death throes. Thus, even though nothing has changed philosphically about the movement (other than it is much less halachic now than it was years ago) — i agree that it presents no threat. (Very few kids leave the orthodox movement to go to the C movement — or the R movement. They just drop out).

    3. Someone raised an interesting question about a “C” synagogue with a mechitza versus an “O” shul without. Both may be dinosaurs at this point — but i heard a shiur about this around 30 years ago. The rav said in the shiur that he felt that you could daven in the O shul (off to the side) but probably not in the C shul because, as the poster above wrote, they were denying as a movement Torah MiSinai.

    #1765026

    Talmidchochom
    Participant

    Davening in a C shul gives credibility to a movement that is strongly anti-Orthodox. Better that you daven at home, unless you don’t believe in the Torah.

    #1765057

    Neville ChaimBerlin
    Participant

    “Back in the 1950s the C movement did present a threat to the O movement. But, now, the C movement is really in death throes.”

    It’s still probably upwards of 5 times the size of the Orthodoxy in America. You just don’t live in that world now and don’t realize it. Also, 90% of them only go to shul 3 times a year, so you wouldn’t realize it. This idea you apologists keep peddling that the poskim only had a problem with it because it “posed a threat” is completely insulting and shows that you probably don’t actually care about what rabbonim say because you’ll just inject your own “ulterior motive” theories when you don’t like their psaks.

    This thread has taught me one thing that will make me sound 100% like Joseph, but it’s true: [Some] BT’s will steadfastly refuse to accept how the halachah views Conservative/Reform Jews probably on account of sentimentality for their families. It’s understandable, but I still don’t think it should be publicized.

    #1765386

    MrSarahLevine613
    Participant

    Neville: I generally like you — so — you dont need to attack me.

    You wrote: “It’s still probably upwards of 5 times the size of the Orthodoxy in America. You just don’t live in that world now and don’t realize it. Also, 90% of them only go to shul 3 times a year, so you wouldn’t realize it.”

    I respond: I dont know. But, i do know that Conservative Shuls are closing yearly on Long Island and Queens. The movement is no where near where it was. Now i dont believe that about reform — i think it is huge.

    You: “This idea you apologists keep peddling that the poskim only had a problem with it because it “posed a threat” is completely insulting and shows that you probably don’t actually care about what rabbonim say because you’ll just inject your own “ulterior motive” theories when you don’t like their psaks.”

    Me: I am not sure i am an apologist for the Conservative Movement. I think its true that i have hakarat hatov for the synagogue i grew up in and the people i met there. I do believe that there you can view “psak” in an historical context. Now — i am not saying that necessarily changes the psak (but it may) — but in the 1950s and 1960s — the Conservative Movement was considered a threat to Torah so the psak was harsh. (Rav Soloveichik was very strong on this issue at the time). I would also say that now that the Conservative Movement is not even remotely a halachic movement — i dont think that the same issues apply. (I would say that perhaps these issues and concerns may apply to certain orthodox synagogues that dont conform to halachic norms.)

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