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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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(p.156) Epilogue
The Birth of Conservative Judaism

Michael R. Cohen

Columbia University Press

This epilogue first discusses the postwar growth of Conservative Judaism, which owed much to its shift from an all-embracing Catholic Israel to a movement of the religious center, positioned between Orthodoxy and Reform. It then describes the state of the Conservative movement in twenty-first century. It concludes that Conservative Judaism is currently at a crossroads, with its numbers sharply declining in recent decades. The movement faces difficult choices as it struggles between a commitment to tradition and a desire for change, between those who advocate for a broadly encompassing “big tent” movement and those who seek a more narrowly defined, ideologically coherent one. It will be best prepared to confront them if it understands itself historically and appreciates the way in which Schechter's disciples created this American religious movement.

Keywords:   Conservative Judaism, American Jewry, Jews, religious movements, Jewish Theological Seminary, Rabbinical Assembly, United Synagogue of America

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