The Rabbinical Assembly, first established in 1901 by graduates of the rabbinical school of the Jewish Theological Seminary, is the international association of Conservative/Masorti rabbis. Today its ranks include rabbis ordained at the seminaries of the Conservative/Masorti movement as well as rabbis of other accredited rabbinical schools who accept the tenets of Conservative Judaism. The mandate of the Rabbinical Assembly is to kindle the passion of the Jewish People in the service of God, Torah and Klal Yisrael, to strengthen the Conservative/Masorti movement, and to support the Conservative/Masorti rabbi. Its nearly 1,700 members serve as congregational rabbis, educators, military and hospital chaplains, professors of Judaica, and officers of communal service organizations throughout the world. While the majority of the men and women of the Assembly serve in the United States and Canada, more than ten percent of its rabbis serve in Israel and many of its rabbis serve in Latin America, in the countries of Europe, Australia and South Africa.
Since a major concern of the Rabbinical Assembly is the relationships of rabbis to the congregations, communal institutions and organizations they serve, it administers the affairs of the Joint Placement Commissions for the Conservative movement. Its Committee on Jewish Law and Standards responds to inquiries on Jewish law and practice for the Conservative movement and has embarked upon a program of publishing the Responsa issued throughout the decades of its existence. A strong supporter of Israel and Zionist activities, Rabbinical Assembly members serve on major national and internatonal bodies working to strengthen Israel and Israel-Diaspora relations. The Rabbinical Assembly is active in interfaith activities and in promoting and supporting projects of tzedakah, gemilut hesed and social justice.
The Rabbinical Assembly publishes learned texts and books of Jewish interest, including prayerbooks for Shabbat and weekdays and a mahzor for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, as well as other liturgical works. It publishes Etz Hayim, a Torah commentary for synagogue use, in conjunction with the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism. It also publishes a quarterly journal, Conservative Judaism, proceedings of its annual conventions and a variety of books on Jewish observance and on the history and development of the Conservative movement. Its new imprint, Aviv Press, develops and publishes popular books on a variety of topics, focusing on Jewish spirituality and contemporary Jewish practice.
Caring for the welfare and well-being of its rabbinic members has always been a principal responsibility of the Rabbinical Assembly. An annual program of seminars and workshops are offered providing opportunity for continuing study and for professional development. Professional publications are available, study kallot are supported, regional meetings and conferences held, and an annual convention held for members to study and plan together. A mentorship program supports newly ordained rabbis, and the Rabbinical Assembly Retired Rabbis Association provides a meeting ground for retired colleagues. The Assembly maintains an assistance fund to provide support in special circumstances for rabbis and their families.
The Rabbinical Assembly is a religious non-profit corporation established under charter of the State of New York. It is governed by a Constitution which describes the organization and governance of the Assembly. Management of the Assembly's affairs is vested in an Executive Council, which is the Assembly's board of directors. The Executive Council is comprised of the officers of the Rabbinical Assembly, elected representatives and organizational representatives. The day-to-day work of the Assembly is carried out by a staff directed by the Executive Vice President.
Support for the Assembly's work comes through membership dues and contributions, the sale of publications, collaborative funding efforts with the seminaries of the movement, grants, bequests and endowments.