Conservative Judaism

Conservative Yeshiva

07_2006_israel_005 I’ve been spending my mornings here in Israel studying at the Conservative 07_2006_israel_004_1 Yeshiva, which is part of the Fuchsberg Center on Agron Street in the heart of Jerusalem.

The Conservative Yeshiva is doing great. They have over 90 students here at the moment.  The students are all ages…from late 20s to at least 60s, and of all skill levels and backgrounds.  There were a few other rabbis 07_2006_israel_002besides myself, and they also serve beginners .  Naturally there are different programs and courses for people at different skill levels.  People with little or no Hebrew can start with an ulpan program half days.

The professor for the Advanced Talmud program, Dr. Joshua Kulp, has been 07_2006_israel_003leading us through the study of a section of the Babylonian Talmud in tractate Yevamot which has to do with the requirements for conversion.  This, of course, is very relevant to all of the "who is a Jew" questions which perenially surface.  Opinions in the Talmud showed a great deal more diversity on this question — some rabbis saying for a man all that matters is circumcision, others saying all that matters is immersion in the mikvah.  As often happens, the halacha was decided in favor of covering all the bases and requiring both.

They have a first rate program, I recommend it highly, whether for their short three week summer programs, or their more intensive year long programs.  It’s wonderful that we have a place like this, where people who are serious about Jewish learning for its own sake can go and study with first rate faculty in an egalitarian setting.  It’s a unique institution, and one we should support and be proud of.

Reb Barry

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Barry Leff

Rabbi Barry (Baruch) Leff is a dual Israeli-American business executive, teacher, speaker and writer who divides his time between Israel and the US.

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