In short, Halacha is a guide to living a religious, ethical and moral life of the type expected and required of a Jew. Much of Halacha relates to interpersonal and ethical situations. Conservative Judaism is firmly based in Halacha, and considers Halacha to be binding on all Jews. This Guide focuses mainly on ritual aspects of halacha, and on the how rather than the why of observance.
A thick volume with coverage of Halacha from a Conservative standpoint is available in a text by Rabbi Isaac Klein, published by the Jewish Theological Seminary. In addition, there are texts which compile some of the decisions of the Law Committee of the Rabbinical Assembly, which is the body which is empowered to define Halacha for the Conservative movement, and there is a periodical which reports on these decisions. All these references are somewhat formidable due to size, and yet incomplete in some basic areas. Therefore I have compiled this Guide with information on practical Halacha in areas where questions of observance often arise.
One section of the Guide describes the system used in the Conservative Movement to make Halachic decisions. In short, depending on the topic, there may be more than one valid Conservative Halachic viewpoint. Since there is no unitary Conservative Halacha, but rather a range of views on various topics, I have attempted to present a centrist view, with some indication of the range of accepted views.
This Guide assumes some familiarity with Jewish practices and terminology.
I have written this Guide because I, as a layperson, found it very difficult to find the information presented here. It began as an exercise in self-education and evolved into an attempt to address the lack of a simple, short summary of Conservative halacha. It is intended for those Conservative Jews who are a point on the learning curve where they may find such a short summary helpful. Even though it is meant to be a useful guide, when questions concerning halacha and observance arise a Rabbi should be consulted.
If you would like to order a hard copy of the latest draft of this Guide, send a check for $30 made out to:
Get Your Own Copy
A full-text copy of the Guide, including a detailed table of contents, is available at no charge for non-commercial use. It may be downloaded by following the link below. You must have Adobe's Acrobat Reader software to read or print the Guide. This software is available for free from
To download the Guide (280 kbytes), click below: