Just a few weeks ago at our Conservative/Masorti Convening in Baltimore, my confidence in our Movement and the future of our communities was bolstered stronger than ever. Nearly 800 passionate Conservative/Masorti Jews gathered to celebrate, pray, and learn together.
We collectively shared in building a vision of our Movement together under four core themes:
Passionate Center: Survey after survey laments that our world is more polarized than ever. As our opening speaker Krista Tippet said, “We need to learn to amplify the center.” Our Movement offers a big tent with room for many diverse perspectives and backgrounds, rooted in tradition and inclusive of people with diverse backgrounds and needs. Tippet emphasized that our pluralist and balanced approach is one of the gifts we can offer to the Jewish world and beyond.
Peoplehood: Our deep ties to Israel and our passionate Zionism are integral to our Movement. We have always stood with Israel and we always will. Israeli Ambassador Michael Herzog shared, “When we are threatened, we hold hands and are united. Your support means everything.”
Halakhah: From the first days of our Movement, we honor tradition while evolving with an ethical modern life. Our concept of halakhah is one that looks at the core values expressed by our tradition through the lens of modernity, and how they are then expressed individually and communally through our actions. As Rabbi Aaron Alexander shared, “If you have ever studied Torah, it lives in your heart. It’s not a binary of observant or not… We’re all on the continuum with halakhah in our hearts, and we need the language for that.”
Social Justice: For too long, tikkun olam has existed in a false binary of things we do for ourselves or for other communities. Lifelong Conservative Jew and writer of HBO’s ‘The Wire,’ David Simon said, “It’s easy to say we have Torah values within the walls of our synagogues. We need to get beyond those and live our values among the people, on the streets. Fully Jewish and fully involved.” Social justice for our Movement is prayer lived out loud.
As Liel Leibovitz said during the live Convening session of the Unorthodox podcast, “I truly believe that this Movement is what our community needs.” I couldn’t agree more.
If this vision for Conservative/Masorti Judaism speaks to you, we need your help. We need your generous donation to spread our Torah and empower our communities with the tools they need to be magnetic centers of connection, rooted in tradition and loving out loud.
Please make your generous gift today so 2024 can be our strongest year yet.
Rabbi Jacob Blumenthal
CEO of USCJ and the Rabbinical Assembly