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(RNS) As Conservative Judaism approaches its 100th birthday, it confronts a set of statistics that bode poorly for its future as the anchor in the center of American Jewish life.


  1. The word Conservative, given recent years, must have negative connotations, conscious and unconscious, for young Jews. The word Reform is much more positive.

    • As someone who grew up in the Conservative movement, I agree, it does have negative connotations. The article doesn’t go into this, but the name came about as being relative to the evolving Reform movement in the late 19th and early 20th century. It was to “Conserve” traditional practice while also modernizing to the times. It had nothing to do with modern politics. Maybe we should change it to “Mainline Judaism.” I hear that adjective may need a buyer soon…

  2. Lauren Markoe

    Lauren Markoe

    Article author

    Yes, and we invite everyone – no matter your faith or lack of – to take the Religion News Service poll on renaming Mainline Protestantism.

  3. As a Christian, I can say that this is sad because younger people not only do not seem to have an interest in organized religion, but, in fact, in organizations in general except entertainment and electronics.

    As the Jewish and Christian commitment levels decline, this spiritual gap will be filled by another religion which is already on the rise. Meaning and a sense of continuing tradition is a basic human need.