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The decision ensured that Modern Orthodox Judaism remained within the larger Orthodox camp.
However, at the time of these pivotal decisions, it was not at all apparent whether Conservative Judaism or Modern Orthodoxy would form their own religious movements.
The CJLS was one of several institutions that helped form the Conservative Movement.
To be sure, the establishment of the Jewish Theological Seminary (1886) and its Alumni Association (1901), along with the United Synagogue (1913) were all pivotal steps toward the “birth” of Conservative Judaism.
One of the Seminary’s most outstanding graduates, Finkelstein took it upon himself to articulate, as he made it known in the title of his presentation, “The Things that Unite Us.” To his fellow JTS graduates, Finkelstein preached what he argued to be the shared importance they all placed on the “Conception of God,” devotion to the Torah and attitude toward considered change in the practice and ethics of Jewish law.
In all probability, Finkelstein grew frustrated with the immediate reaction to his call for unity.
The Orthodox community condemned Farber for espousing a heretical position.
Likewise, Weiss has reviewed some of his earlier highly-criticized views and repackaged them in more religiously palatable forms. With the advent of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah and Yeshivat Maharat, the International Rabbinic Fellowship, the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance, the Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals, Uri L’Tzedek, and in Israel Beit Morasha and Beit Hillel, and synagogues like Ohev Sholom—The National Synagogue, there is a new spirit.No doubt, this is a most reasonable lens to examine the scaffoldings of a religion like Judaism that more often emphasizes rituals and deeds rather than miracles and creeds.The role of institutional halakhic bodies to determine the contours of religious movements can be measured along historical lines.Finkelstein’s attitude of evasion must be offensive to both. His colleagues demanded more than just rhetoric; the Rabbinical Assembly required an institutional framework that would compel its members to share a more singular vision.One year later, Finkelstein, as president of the RA, launched the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards to “guide us in questions of ritual and religious adjustment.” Halakhah offered a pragmatic solution to the theological questions that centered on “change and “tradition.” To its founder, the CJLS was a means to harness Conservative Judaism’s “philosophy” in a manner that both his earlier supporters and detractors could agree was conducted in a most concrete and pragmatic manner.