The Masorti Foundation for Conservative Judaism in Israel

FAQ’s

Have questions about Masorti?  Here are some FAQ’s to help you!

Q: What is the Masorti Movement?

A:  The Movement is an indigenous effort by Israelis for Israelis to create a pluralistic, egalitarian, inclusive approach to living a Jewish life in Israel.  The name Masorti is derived from the Hebrew “Masoret,” meaning “tradition.”  The Movement honors and preserves our traditions.  It also respects how modern Israelis live today and strongly advocates for religious freedom for all Jews is Israel.

Q: What is the Masorti Foundation?  How is it different from the Movement?

A: The Foundation is the organization in America responsible for raising funds to support the Masorti Movement and its activities in Israel.  It also serves as the Movement’s voice to American media, public officials and Jewish leadership.

Q: Who comprises the Masorti Movement’s Kehillot (congregations)?

A:  The Movement prides itself on the wide-ranging roots and views of its members.  Two-thirds of Masorti congregants are either native-born Israelis or are immigrants from Latin America, Europe and the former Soviet Union.  North Americans, who established the Movement’s first synagogues, comprise around one-third of the current membership.  This diversity and inclusiveness are driving engines of the Movement.

Q: Isn’t religious pluralism a luxury in Israel?  Shouldn’t we devote all our efforts on Israel’s security needs?

A:  Religious pluralism and freedom are no more luxuries in Israel than they are in the Western world.    The struggle for democracy and equal treatment for all kinds of Jews in Israel stems from the most sacred parts of our tradition.  Choosing between the work of defending Israel and creating the Israel of our dreams is false choice—our responsibility is to do both.

Q: Where does the Masorti Movement stand on Israeli politics?

A:  The Movement is apolitical.  Kehillot (Congregation) members span the entire spectrum of of Israeli political views but check their views at the synagogue door.  This is unique in Israeli society, where often religious affiliation and political views go hand-in-hand.  This diversity and openness is a core strength of the Movement.

Q: Why don’t Israelis support their own Movement with synagogue dues or donations, the way North American Jews do?

A: In Israel, religious institutions, including synagogues, are heavily funded by the State with the expectation of fee-less participation.  This funding, however, is limited to Orthodox institutions.  Virtually no public funding goes to Masorti or Reform Movements.

Masorti congregations (kehillot), contrary to custom in Israel, do collect dues to fund local and national programs.  To grow the Movement, to nurture it so that it becomes a significant force in Israeli life, it needs the help and support of friends in North America.

Q: What is the Masorti Movement’s budget and what does it cover?

A: The present budget is a modest $2.5 million.  This covers all national programs and subsidies to Masorti congregations, including its youth programs, rabbinic support and materials for observance.

The Masorti Foundation, together with Jewish Agency and income from local donations, are the main sources of income for the Movement.