A Minor Point About ‘Big-C’ Conservative Jews

I raise this only because I suspect this mistake will be made over and over again. From a very good article about Jewish-Muslim cooperation:

Trump’s executive order prompted almost universal condemnation from the leading American Jewish organizations, which often squabble among themselves on issues relating to Israel and gay rights. This time, it was not just from the predictable liberal groups, but also from more traditional groups such as the Orthodox Union and the Rabbinical Council of America. Even the conservative synagogue in Washington, D.C., where President Trump’s daughter Ivanka is sending one of her three children to school, spoke up against the ban.

The conservative synagogue in question, Adas Israel Congregation, is a Conservative synagogue. Conservative refers to a denomination (as do Reform and Orthodox). In terms of observance, without getting into theology, observant Conservative Jews follow many of the same rituals as Modern Orthodox, although Conservative Judaism is egalitarian (women participate fully in services, are ordained as rabbis, etc.), though it’s worth noting that many Conservative Jews aren’t fully observant.

The irony is that Adas Israel, politically, these days is quite liberal: the rabbi is gay (really), and it’s political-ish stances are quite left-leaning (a couple years ago, one High Holiday sermon was a call for a living wage). In other words, there are conservative Conservative Jews, and liberal Conservative Jews (and socialist ones, etc…), though surveys suggest that Conservative Jews as a whole are quite left-leaning.

Anyway, I have the feeling that more than one writer is going to see “Conservative” and think this is a rebuke from conservatives. It’s not.


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