What are the prospects for American Judaism in the 21st century? Liberal Jewish religious movements are experiencing profound change in the wake of the recent economic crisis, with declines in religious school enrollment, synagogue affiliation and philanthropic giving. For rabbis, Jewish educators, and communal leaders, it is a difficult moment. Jews are flourishing in America, but organized, institutional Judaism appears to be in deep trouble.


Indeed, profound change is not limited to Jewish religious movements. American religious institutions across the spectrum have weakened and are more fragmented. Simultaneously, independent religious gatherings, both Christian and Jewish, have sprung up, charting their own course. As a result, the task of studying organized religion in this country has become exceedingly complex.


This conference will examine the significance of the transformations for American Jewish religious communities. Leading scholars engaged in the study of issues related to current trends in U.S. religious communities will probe the strength of commitment to the Reform and Conservative movements and examine the efforts to create a religious life beyond them—including emerging pockets of energy and innovation in Los Angeles.