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Rituals and Worship



Sacred Time

Conservative Jews observe the Sabbath and all major festivals in much the same way as the Orthodox. However there is greater flexibility regarding some of the restrictions against labor on these sacred days, most notably permitting driving to the synagogue to attend services, which the Orthodox prohibit.

Sacred Space

The vast majority of Conservative synagogues today are large, architecturally modernist suburban structures. Key innovations in Conservative synagogue design are the absence of an elevated section, or gallery for women, and the replacement of the traditional central bima (reader's stand) with an altar from which rabbis and cantors officiate.

Rites and Ceremonies

Conservative Jews continue to uphold most of the central rites of rabbinic Judaism, although the clergy generally play a central role with the congregation often reduced to the vicarious role of spectators in many rituals that require knowledge of Hebrew and rabbinic texts.

Worship and Devotion in Daily Life

The larger majority of Conservative Jews today do not participate in daily services, and those who do attend morning services at the synagogue are usually mourners observing the obligatory recitation of the Kaddish prayer for the dead. Most Conservative synagogues struggle to maintain the minimum quorum of ten persons in order to conduct daily services.

Symbolism

In addition to the universal Jewish symbols, such as the Star of David and Lion of Judah, a symbol of the burning bush, with the Hebrew inscription "and the bush was not consumed," is a distinctive emblem of the Conservative movement.

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