Thanks and going on… Response to MoC’s First Shabbaton

What is our common language? Do we have one?

By Leandro Galanternik

As Masorti/Conservative Jews, I don’t feel we have a common language. We are lacking a basis that guides us in our personal lives and, more importantly, in our communal life together. I see two problems regarding this lack of common language. The first one: is the difficulty in communicating with each other. At a global level, our organizational capacity is fuzzy. And the second is that we don’t have a strategic global plan as a movement because, in my opinion, we don’t speak the same language. Ultimately, our language has become about numbers and not about impact and meaning. We are more concerned about the output than the outcome, and a Jewish language cannot be like that.

Tradition and change cannot be our leitmotiv any more. The movement is divided in many ways, but one of these divisions was created by this two concepts. One part of the movement has as their common language “tradition”, while the other has “change”.  Because these two words are, in many ways, opposites, the dialogue between these two factions is complex because they do not share the same mindset and priorities. If we are truly a halachik movement this is the common language we need to speak. This means that our activities, programs, plans, conventions, educational curricula, and gatherings are ruled but this first priority.

The gap between theory and practice is killing the Movement. Nowadays halacha is not our may concern and maybe it might not be in the future. However, we need one, one that will maintain the same in theory and practice, inside and outside the Synagogues, for the adults and for the youth, for the newcomers and those with tenure. Is not a dogma that I want, I wish for a common language so we can expect that the other will take me in and I will not have surprises or be uncomfortable. This language needs to be open enough to respect the great value of pluralism that we as Conservative Jews have, but restricted enough to have clear limits.

We need that powerful paradigm of how to live as Conservative Jews.  This common language will have accents, but it will be one language that will set the frame to think, act, and most important plan for the future as ONE Movement.

Leandro is from Argentina, he is 28 years old and married. He studied Business Administration in Buenos Aires and has a MA in nonprofit management and leadership from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He founded Marom Argentina and Marom Latin America being the first youth representative in the Masorti AmLat Board. He is also the Jewish youth representative in an Interfaith Dialogue Organization. He worked in Brazil, in Noam Sao Paulo and Israel, with Noam AmLat. Now he works in Argentina where he is the Project Director of the Seminario Rabinico Latinoamericano Marshall T. Meyer in Buenos Aires.