(Israel Twitter)Conservative Judaism (also known as Masorti Judaism outside of the United States and Canada) is a modern stream of Judaism that arose out of intellectual currents in Germany in the mid-19th century and took institutional form in the United States in the early 1900s.
Conservative Judaism has its roots in the school of thought known as Positive-Historical Judaism, developed in 1850s Germany as a reaction to the more liberal religious positions taken by Reform Judaism. The term conservative was meant to signify that Jews should attempt to conserve Jewish tradition, rather than reform or abandon it, and does not imply the movement's adherents are politically conservative. Because of this potential for confusion, a number of Conservative Rabbis have proposed renaming the movement, and outside of the United States and Canada, in many countries including Israel and the UK, it is today known as Masorti Judaism (Hebrew for "Traditional").
In the United States and Canada, the term Conservative, as applied, does not always indicate that a congregation is affliliated with the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, the movement's central institution and the one to which the term, without qualifier, usually refers. Rather, it is sometimes employed by unaffiliated groups to indicate a range of beliefs and practices more liberal than is affirmed by the Orthodox, and more traditional than the more liberal Jewish denominations (Reform and Reconstructionist Judaism). In Canada, several congregations belong to the Canadian Council of Conservative Synagogues instead of the United Synagogue. The moniker Conservadox is sometimes employed to refer to the right wing of the Conservative spectrum, although "Traditional" is used as well (as in the Union for Traditional Judaism).
The Conservative-Masorti movement is unified on a global level by Masorti Olami, representing affiliated congregations in the Americas, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia. Masorti Olami unites a number of smaller national and regional organizations, including:
The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ) in the United States and Canada,
The Assembly of Masorti Synagogues in the United Kingdom,
Masorti Europe in Europe,
Masorti AmLat in Latin America,
The international association of Conservative/Masorti Rabbis is known as the Rabbinical Assembly; the Cantors Assembly is the organization of chazanim. The global youth movement is known as NOAM (an acronym for No'ar Masorti); its North American chapter is called the United Synagogue Youth. The movement maintains numerous Rabbinical seminaries and other educational institutions.