Monday, June 20, 2022

In the US, some fading Reform and Conservative synagogues go Orthodox to stay afloat

The story isn’t unique to Howard Beach. As Reform and Conservative synagogue memberships decline nationwide, some synagogue boards are reaching out to Orthodox congregations, primarily those affiliated with the Chabad movement.


  1. So when Riskin did this, it wasn't outreach, just the shul changed denomination. Now that chababad did it, it's outreach, kiruv, and teshuva.

  2. Yes, when Riskin did it he put in a mechitzah but the place otherwise remained recognizable. When Lubavitch does it, up go pictures of the Rebbes and a whole bunch of new standards.

  3. Is that what makes a place orthodox?
    Riskin Also made the congregation orthodox. Rav soloveitchik told him not to accept a salary from the conservative people. So a smart business move to turn them frum as well!

  4. There's a difference between turning Orthodox and going all out on teshuvah. Riskin turned the rituals into Orthodox ones. I doubt he had massive farbrengens whose purpose was to convince people that his way was the end all and be all of Judaism.

  5. Yes, and the parrot isn't dead, it's resting, and pining for the fjords.

    Let's just look at your comment :

    "Riskin turned the rituals into Orthodox ones." So following halacha eg keeping shabbat k'hilchato is nto the same as observing halacha?

    " I doubt he had massive farbrengens" - a) where in the Talmud to shulchan aruch dos it say we have to have massive farbrenghans?
    b) Actually, R Riskin is quite chassidic, and he does all that stuff too.

    If you read the article, it is actually the other way around - The Conservative shul oldtimers cannot keep the the synagogue going, so they called in Chabad, who are now managing it and running services in an orthodox/chabad fashion. The old timers rememebr some orthodoxy from their childhood, so they are familiar with it, and are taking it as a necessary evil.

    Riskin, on the other hand, not only made the shul into an orthodox one, but he transplanted his community, about 1000 peopel , to Efrat, where he establsihed a network of [Modern] Orthodox yeshivas, day schools, mikvaot etc. The whole shabang.

    Becaue some of R Riskins's views are not accepted does not give license to dismiss the many good and faithful things he did do.

  6. a brief history of Lincoln sq shul.
    yes, Riskin did kiruv and changed a conservative community into modern orthodox.


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