Conservative Judaism has been in sharp decline since 2001 and other liberal Jewish bodies are organizing and strategizing to address their own declining memberships, reports the Jewish newspaper Forward (February 18).
A draft of a strategic plan by the denomination reveals that there has been a 14 percent decline in Conservative membership in the last decade, a trend particularly affecting the northeast, where family memberships dropped by 30 percent. Conservative Judaism recently introduced its strategic plan to try to reverse these membership losses.
Josh Nathan-Kazis reports that within Reform Judaism, “a group of dissident rabbis is seeking to shake up a movement long seen by outsiders as untroubled by internal dissent.” While the specific agenda of the group is unclear, the group consists of 17 senior rabbis from large Reform synagogues that foot a significant portion of the movement’s budget. Nathan-Kazis adds that the synagogue body of the smaller Reconstructionist movement is “weathering its own transition.
Following a November vote, Reconstructionist leadership is finalizing a plan to merge its synagogue arm with its rabbinical school. The parallel developments within all three of North America’s liberal Jewish denominations paint a picture of a growing crisis in liberal Judaism. Their long-standing central bodies are struggling to convince the synagogues that pay their bills of their relevance and usefulness.”