Historic USCJ/ RA Convention Signals Vibrancy of Conservative Movement

December 17, 2019

Collaborative convention positions Conservative Movement to address 21st century issues

December 16, 2019 (New York, NY) — The Conservative Jewish movement joined together for 20/20 Judaism — a collaborative convention of USCJ (United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism) and the RA (Rabbinical Assembly) — at the Westin Boston Waterfront hotel in Boston from December 6-10th. This event, the largest gathering of Conservative Jews since the 1960s, attracted more than 1,400 individuals, including more than 230 rabbis and 120 synagogue presidents from over 280 congregations and organizations (vs. 110 rabbis, 90 synagogue presidents, and 158 congregations at the most recent convention in 2017). Twenty two Conservative organizations were represented at the convention, including The Cantors Assembly, NAASE, Women’s League for Conservative Judaism, the Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs, the Jewish Educators Assembly, and more. Attendees came from 40 North American states and provinces, in addition to South America and Poland.

“The attendance at 20/20 Judaism actually surpassed our expectations,” said Ned Gladstein, USCJ International President. “The overwhelming amount of positive energy and optimism experienced over the course of the Convention indicates a real pivot point,” he continued. “Conservative Judaism is vibrant, and we’re eager to tackle 21st century challenges together with the Rabbinical Assembly and our other movement partners.”

The content-rich convention featured more than 100 sessions on topics related to the Conservative Movement. Included were plenaries, keynote speakers, and breakout sessions designed to both inspire and also to give synagogue leadership specific and usable tools to bring back to their home congregations. More than 140 speakers presented during the convention, including keynote speaker Bari Weiss, a New York Times op-ed staff editor and writer, Sharon Brous, a leading voice in reanimating religious life in America, and Sheila Heen, founder of Triad Consulting Group and a lecturer at Harvard Law School who led convention participants in interactive exercises surrounding negotiation and navigation of difficult conversations.

Historically, USCJ and the RA have held separate conventions. 20/20 Judaism marks the first time in almost two decades that USCJ and the RA collaborated on producing a joint convention. The two organizations share the same goals and aspirations for the Conservative Movement. For example, the organizations’ leaders recently approved the creation of a Joint Innovation Fund, which will further enable them to address key challenges and opportunities using shared resources.

On December 10-14, 2021, USCJ and the RA, along with other organizations in the Conservative Movement, will convene for a cross-movement convention in Toronto, Canada.

“It was immensely gratifying to partner with USCJ and to gather with every arm of the Conservative movement,” said Debra Newman Kamin, President of the Rabbinical Assembly. “The ability of one flame to light others and spread light will keep us moving forward together…and that is powerful.”

More information about 20/20 Judaism is available at www.2020judaism.org

About USCJ

Founded in 1913, USCJ is the network of nearly 600 Conservative Jewish communities across North America. We represent the values and beliefs of an authentic and dynamic Judaism in the United States, Canada, Mexico and Israel. Our work strengthens kehillot (Jewish communities inside and outside the walls of a synagogue) by providing visionary leadership training, creating opportunities for Jews of all ages to learn and grow, sharing essential resources, and seeding innovative ideas. Learn more at www.uscj.org.

About the Rabbinical Assembly

The Rabbinical Assembly is the international association of Conservative rabbis. Since its founding in 1901, the Assembly has been the creative force shaping the ideology, programs, and practices of the Conservative movement, and is committed to building and strengthening the totality of Jewish life. The Assembly publishes learned texts, prayer books, and works of Jewish interest; and it administers the work of the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards for the Conservative movement. It also serves the professional and personal needs of its membership through publications, conferences, and benefit programs, and it coordinates the Joint Placement Commission of the Conservative movement. Rabbis of the Assembly serve congregations throughout the world, and also work as educators, officers of communal service organizations, and college, hospital, and military chaplains. Learn more at www.rabbinicalassembly.org.

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