Stewart Ain’s article, “United Synagogue Turns Inward” (Feb. 18), presents staggering data on the decline of Conservative affiliation within the United Synagogue’s network of congregations. Suffice it to say the organization’s embrace of the egalitarian movement has done nothing to increase congregational membership, let alone hinder the ongoing decline of Conservative affiliation.
I do agree a different approach is urgently needed. However, I think it is naive, and rather desperate, to believe that the solution involves replacing the terms “synagogue” and “congregation” with “sacred community” … or reaching out to the intermarried.
In its attempt to be overly inclusive, the USCJ has turned away the true traditional Conservative. After attending services at most, if not all, of the Conservative shuls in my area (which are all egalitarian), I find myself more comfortable at the local Chabad chapter.
I realize everything in Judaism is about numbers. It is a fact that there are far fewer Conservative Jews today (in the definition of 20-30 years ago). However, the USCJ should accept that demographic fact and focus more on the core values on which the Conservative movement was founded.