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Conservative Judaism Losing Youth

Dr. Gerson D. Cohen, Chancellor of the Jewish The logical Seminary of America, said here today that Conservative Judaism was losing Jewish youth because of the lack of fervency in its ritual, that the American brand of Conservative Judaism could never be transplanted to Israel and that in time women would be ordained as rabbis.

Dr. Cohen addressed 1700 delegates to the biennial convention of the National Women’s League of the United Synagogue. He disclosed that the Seminary is about to embark on major programs for the improvement of Jewish education and the training of educators.

Dr. Cohen said many young Jews are defecting from Conservative Judaism because of its inhibited ritual. He said “Young people are looking to the Orthodox because they seek fervency and uninhibited expression in synagogue worship. They want to become de-inhibited Jews.” Nevertheless, Dr. Cohen said, the Conservative movement is the largest and fastest growing branch of Judaism in America.

He said he could not foresee a time when Israel would become a center of Conservative Judaism in the American style. “The Conservative movement is unique in its commitment to religious freedom in Israel,” he said, adding that “Each country must create its own dialect of Conservative Judaism for diversity and pluralism in the Jewish experience.” He added, however, that Israel “can learn from us and we can learn from Israel.”

Jewish sources in London said today that Kishinev prisoners Gari Kirshner, 26, and Semeon Abramovich Levit, 25, were released from jail over the weekend. They were convicted June 30, 1971, for anti-Soviet “agitation or propaganda.”

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