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The Birth of Conservative JudaismSolomon Schechter's Disciples and the Creation of an American Religious Movement$
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Michael Cohen

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780231156356

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231156356.001.0001

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A “Heretic,” a “Maverick,” and the Challenge to Inclusivity

A “Heretic,” a “Maverick,” and the Challenge to Inclusivity

Chapter:
(p.69) 3 A “Heretic,” a “Maverick,” and the Challenge to Inclusivity
Source:
The Birth of Conservative Judaism
Author(s):

Michael R. Cohen

Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231156356.003.0004

From 1913–1918, the United Synagogue of America remained staunchly committed to diversity. Its members overlooked their vast differences, choosing instead to work together to implement Schechter's vision. Not everybody, however, believed that this was the best path for strengthening traditional Judaism in America. This chapter focuses on the two disciples who challenged Schechter's inclusivity: Mordecai Kaplan the “heretic” and Herbert S. Goldstein the “maverick.” The experiences of Kaplan and Goldstein demonstrate that prior to 1927 the United Synagogue did not represent a distinct, third religious movement with boundaries that clearly distinguished it from other movements. Instead, it was an ethnoreligious group with elastic boundaries that stretched wide enough to unify the disciples who chose to join forces to implement the vision of Solomon Schechter.

Keywords:   United Synagogue of America, American Jews, diversity, Mordecai Kaplan, Herbert S. Goldstein, Conservative Judaism, Orthodox Judaism, Solomon Schechter

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