Wednesday, March 09, 2005

More energy to Conservative Synagogues - that's the Ikar!

Written from the Rabbinical Assembly convention in Houston Texas

Below is an article from JTA. I was literally exhausted after listening to Rabbi Sharon Brous speak in a session yesterday here at the convention about her new endeavor called Ikar. She is a talented, dynamic and super-energetic rabbi who is transforming this new spiritual community in Los Angeles. Hadar in NYC and now Ikar in LA... if only we could create such kehillot (communities) between the two coasts!

Conservative synagogues need to be reinvigorated, the chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary said.

While Jewish education and teacher training are dynamic and strong, Rabbi Ismar Schorsch said, many of the movement’s best and brightest are “often off at Orthodox shuls.” Schorsch made the comments in an address Sunday at the annual convention of the Rabbinical Assembly in Houston, a spokeswoman for the movement’s rabbinic arm told JTA. Much of the substance “in our shuls is geared towards ‘entry-level’ Jews and not ‘advanced’ Jews,” he said. And while these “advanced” Jews remain intellectually Conservative, he added, they have trouble finding satisfaction at Conservative shuls. Schorsch suggested several remedies, among them that the movement must become more entrepreneurial and should reaffirm the validity of halachic boundaries.

Citing both Chabad and the Reform movement, Schorsch said that American Jews are hungry for charismatic leadership and new ideas.


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