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Conservative Judaism

Somewhere in between strict Orthodox Judaism and moderate Liberal/ Reform Judaism is the practice of Conservative Judaism.

People who practice Conservative Judaism believe in both the importance of studying Hebrew scripture and adhering to customary Jewish laws and tradition (as Orthodox Jews do) as well as adapting their lives to coincide with the practices and culture of modern society (as Liberal/ Reformists do).

In this case the word Conservative does not necessarily denote a pointed opposition to change, but rather a commitment to conserve Jewish tradition while maintaining a positive attitude towards modern society. Conservative Jews bring together modernity and tradition so that the two can work together in today's world.

The practice of Conservative Judaism began in Europe around 1850, originally being given the name "Positive-Historical Judaism." One of the founders of this movement towards a new sort of Judaism was a man named Rabbi Zecharias Frankel.

Frankel taught his followers that Jewish tradition and law was not meant to be static and unchanging. Instead he promoted the idea that it has always evolved and should continue to develop in response to changing conditions as society evolves.

Conservative Judaism encourages its followers to encorperate Jewish laws (halakha) into their daily lives. They are told to attempt to observe the Shabbut, to pray three times a day, to keep to a kosher diet and to observe all Jewish holidays, though most Conservative Jews do not adhere to many of these laws very strictly.

The underlying message in Conservative Judaism is not to forget the past while moving ahead into the future. Conservative Jews tend to believe that the strict practices of Orthodox Jews are rather antiquated, while the moderate views of Liberal Reformists are too lax and misguided because of their rejection of tradition. For this reason Conservative Jews believe that their middle path is the most sensible, fusing the best of history and modernity together.