Conservative Judaism

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Conservative Judaism is a middle ground between Orthodox and Reform, developed in the USA.

Conservative Judaism believes that G-d wrote the Torah, but the halachic process sometimes does not account for modern circumstances. Conservative Jews concentrate on/study Torah in a middle ground between Orthodox and Reform Jews. Conservative Jews have their own halachic council that makes decisions for the movement.

Examples of leniencies include being able to drive to synagogue on Shabbat (turning on the electricity in the car is considered "lighting a fire"), being able to eat in a nonkosher restaurant as long as the food is not egregiously nonkosher, such as bacon, and not caring if any kitniyot oil gets into the spices for Passover. (Kitniyot: legumes that are not grain, but look as if they are grain, such as corn, rice, beans etc. Only Ashkenazic Jews will not eat these for Passover. Sephardic Jews have no problem with them and happily make special Passover recipes with rice.)

Conservative Jews do not necessarily think the Temple is as a big deal as Orthodox Jews do. The official prayer book has two versions of the prayers mentioning sacrifices, where one can pray for their restoration or remember that they existed.

Conservative Judaism is split on some sexual issues. The halachic council is discussing gay marriage. Women can be rabbis and do all the things that men can do in the synagogue, but some people are uncomfortable with this. Women also count for minyan (a quorum of 10 people which starts a prayer service).

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