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Beginnings of Conservative Judaism

Although sympathetic to Reform Judaism's desire to modernize Jewish practice, some rabbis were shocked by the movement's more radical proposals and actions. Some were scandalized by the non-kosher food served at a Hebrew Union College banquet in 1883; others were offended by the platform adopted by the Union of American Hebrew Congregations in Pittsburgh in 1885. Some of these critics gathered in New York in 1886 and founded the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS), thus laying the foundations for Conservative Judaism.

The preamble to the Constitution of the Jewish Theological Seminary

The necessity having been made manifest for associated and organized effort on the part of the Jews of America faithful to Mosaic Law and ancestral traditions, for the purpose of keeping alive the true Judaic spirit; in particular by the establishment of a seminary where the Bible shall be impartially taught, and rabbinical literature faithfully expounded, and more especially where youths, desirous of entering the ministry, may be thoroughly grounded in Jewish knowledge and inspired by the precept and the example of their instructors with the love of the Hebrew language, and a spirit of fidelity and devotion to the Jewish law, the subscribers have, in accordance with a resolution adopted at a meeting of ministers held Shabat 25, 5646 (January 31, 1886), at the synagogue Shearith Israel, New York, agreed to organize The Jewish Theological Seminary Association . .

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