Conservative Judaism is a modern movement within Judaism that seeks to reconcile traditional Jewish beliefs and practices with the changing realities of modern society. It emerged in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as a response to the challenges posed by the Enlightenment, the Haskalah (Jewish Enlightenment), and modernization. The movement is considered “conservative” because it seeks to conserve the traditional principles and practices of Judaism, while also adapting them to meet the needs of contemporary Jews.
Conservative Judaism places a strong emphasis on Jewish law (Halakha) and tradition, and its leaders believe that these ancient teachings are still relevant and meaningful in the modern world. However, they also believe in the importance of intellectual openness and critical inquiry, and they encourage members to engage in ongoing study and discussion.
In terms of worship and religious practice, Conservative Judaism falls between the more traditional Orthodox Judaism and the more liberal Reform Judaism. For example, Conservative synagogues typically use Hebrew in their services, but they also incorporate English and may use musical instruments on the Sabbath. They also ordain women as rabbis and allow for greater flexibility in areas such as conversion and intermarriage.
Overall, Conservative Judaism strives to maintain the core beliefs and practices of traditional Judaism while also adapting to the changing needs and realities of contemporary society.