Masorti FAQs

What is T'nua Masortit (The Masorti Movement)?
Masorti is the name of the Conservative Movement in Israel. Representing an alternative to state-sponsored Orthodoxy, we are an indigenous Israeli movement led by Israelis for Israelis.
Derived from the Hebrew word Masoret, meaning tradition, Masorti represents a traditional, pluralistic, modern and non-coercive approach to Jewish life in Israel.

What is the CANADIAN FOUNDATION FOR MASORTI JUDAISM IN ISRAEL?
The Canadian Foundation for Masorti Judaism in Israel is a Canadian organization which raises funds to support the activities of T'nua Masortit, as well as individual kehillot in Israel. The Foundation, along with MERCAZ-Canada, also serves as the Movement's Zionist voice to Canadian media, public officials and Jewish leadership.

What is MERCAZ-CANADA?
MERCAZ-Canada is the Conservative Movement in Canada's Zionist organization. MERCAZ-Canada promotes Zionist education with our partner synagogues, offers matching scholarships for Conservative Movement trips to Israel, and, with MERCAZ Olami, provides representation for the Masorti/Conservative Movement on the decision making bodies of the Jewish Agency, Keren Kayemet Yisrael (JNF), Keren Hayesod, and the World Zionist Organization.
MERCAZ-Canada membership, combined with others around the world through MERCAZ Olami, ensures funding for Masorti/Conservative Kehillot and programs throughout Israel and the world from the World Zionist Organization (WZO). As our lobby within the WZO and the Jewish Agency for Israel, MERCAZ Olami uses its power and the size of our membership rolls to leverage an appropriate share of Jewish communal funding. The World Zionist Organization (WZO) budgets about $2 million a year for religious services in the Diaspora. The worldwide Masorti/Conservative Movement receives a third of that. In 2012 the Masorti/Conservative Movement in Israel collectively received a further $1.7 Million which supports the Masorti movement and its institutions.

Where does Masorti stand on Israeli political issues?
The Masorti Movement is apolitical. Just like the Canadian Jewish community, members of Masorti kehillot range over the entire spectrum, but check their political views at the synagogue door. This is unique in Israeli society, where often religious affiliation and political views go hand in hand.

Why can't Israelis support their own movement with synagogue dues, the way North Americans do?
Israel - with no separation between church and state - heavily funds religious institutions, including synagogues, from the State budget. Most of this funding is limited to Orthodox institutions and practically no public funding goes to Masorti or other movements.
The concept of synagogue dues is alien to most Israelis. However, all Masorti kehillot collect dues, part of which are channeled to the Movement. While philanthropy is on the rise in Israel, due to the economic situation and high taxes, usually funds are directed more toward social and cultural rather than religious endeavors.

Isn't religious pluralism a luxury and shouldn't we be working on Israel's security needs?
Religious pluralism and freedom are not luxuries, but rather real needs of Israeli citizens, affecting them and their priorities no less than questions of foreign and defense policy. In the 2013 election, hundreds of thousands of Israelis, although faced with serious external and security threats, chose to vote for a party (Yesh Atid) that prioritized social needs, including the fight against religious coercion and the Orthodox monopoly. In addition, nearly 3.5 million people travel to Israel each year. Masorti ensures Conservative Jews from around the world have a place to go, whether at the Masorti Kotel or a kehillah, when visiting our historic homeland.

Who comprises the population of the Masorti Movement congregations?
The Masorti Movement prides itself on the wide-ranging roots of its members. Our many synagogues boast members from over 25 countries. Today, Masorti is a deep-rooted Israeli organization: two-thirds are native-born Israelis or 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 present membership.

What is the Masorti Movement's Budget and what does it cover?
The Masorti Movement's present budget is a modest $2.5 million. This budget includes all national programs and subsidies from the Movement to Masorti kehillot. About one third of the budget is dedicated to youth programs, one third subsidizes rabbinic salaries, and the rest goes to all the other programs. The Movement's main sources of income are the North American Foundations, the Jewish Agency funding secured by MERCAZ Olami, and income from services and local donations.