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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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The Platform of Discipleship

The Platform of Discipleship

(p.101) 5 The Platform of Discipleship
The Birth of Conservative Judaism

Michael R. Cohen

Columbia University Press

This chapter focuses on the pressure on Schechter's disciples to define a platform. In the United Synagogue's early years, Schechter's disciples maintained the principle that they would not take a controversial stand on any issue that threatened to divide their fragile coalition. By the 1920s, however, rejected by the Orthodox Union (OU) and Agudath ha-Rabbanim and on the brink of irrelevance, these disciples began a concerted effort to explain just what they stood for. They were faced with critical questions. How could they transform themselves from an ethnoreligious group with fluid boundaries into the third movement in American Judaism? What would their platform be, and how would it distinguish them from the other movements?

Keywords:   United Synagogue of America, American Jews, Conservative Judaism, disciples

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