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Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

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< Q8.1 TOC Q8.3 >

Question 8.2:
What is the Conservative view of the role of women in Judaism?


The past 30 years have seen a revolution in how Conservative Judaism views women. Conservative Judaism believes in the equality of men and women, and, where necessary, has produced responsa and innovative rituals to address religious needs in this area. The Committee on Jewish Law and Standards (CJLS) has approved a number of responsa that deal with the role of women in Jewish law. In all of the areas listed below, responsa exist that halakhically justify women's active participation in synagogue life: Note that a congregational rabbi may or may not decide to adopt particular rulings for the congregation. So some Conservative congregations will be more or less egalitarian than others.

However, there are other areas where differences remain between men and women, including:

If you want more information on the Conservative positions, you should be aware that there is a set of teshuvot on all of these areas developed by The Rabbinical Assembly. These teshuvot have all been published in the following sources, all available from the United Synagogue Book Service. However, every Conservative synagogue library should have each of the following books in stock; if they do not, please bring it to the attention both of your librarian and rabbi so that they can rectify the omission.

If you are looking for statistical information on women in Conservative Judaism, LEARN @ JTS (, the free educational outreach website from the Jewish Theological Seminary, has a section on statistics. The information on this website has been excerpted from "Conservative Synagogues and Their Members: Highlights of the North American Survey", Edited by Jack Wertheimer, which is available from JTS Press. Another source of information on this topic is "Conservative Jewry in the United States: A Sociodemographic Profile" by Sidney Goldstein and Alice Goldstein. JTS Press books are available at this website:

The FAQ is a collection of documents that is an attempt to answer questions that are continually asked on the soc.culture.jewish family of newsgroups. It was written by cooperating laypeople from the various Judaic movements. You should not make any assumption as to accuracy and/or authoritativeness of the answers provided herein. In all cases, it is always best to consult a competent authority--your local rabbi is a good place to start.

[Got Questions?]Hopefully, the FAQ will provide the answer to your questions. If it doesn't, please drop Email to The FAQ maintainer will endeavor to direct your query to an appropriate individual that can answer it. If you would like to be part of the group to which the maintainer directs questions, please drop a note to the FAQ maintainer at

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© (c) 1993-2002 Daniel P. Faigin <>