I know, creative subject line. I have wished since at least when I worked on my high school paper that I could make up short, witty titles for articles and other short prose, but I can't. Oh, well.
So, what does Conservadoxy mean to Katrina, you might ask? If you consider yourself Conservadox, you might have a vague idea, or you might disagree violently with what I am about to say. If you are not Conservadox, you might think Conservadoxy is a bunch of nahrishkeit, but the same can be said for a lot of Jewish labels and the particular teeny tiny hashkafic segments of the Jewish world they represent. Here is my answer, anyway, in list form (it is not only my views but also, I hope, contains enough hedging/grab-bagging to snag others too):
1. Being Shomer (or in my case Shomeret) Shabbat and Yom Tov
2. Keeping hekhsher kosher in the house, assuming you don't live in Arkansas or Europe or some place like that, and perhaps outside, too, or perhaps eating some fish and dairy out and feeling guilty about it
3. Being comfortable with davening in either an Orthodox minyan or a so-called Traditional Egalitarian minyan (essentially same liturgy as Orthodox, full Torah reading, but women lead and read Torah, and women and men sit togther); now I now some will say that you don't have to be comfortable in a mechitsa minyan to be Conservadox, and I don't disagree--I just happen to be.
4. At least entertaining the idea of Taharat Ha'Mishpachah after marriage, plus some (varying based on the person, but probably not skirt-related) definition of tzniut before marriage
5. Wearing pants and not feeling guilty about it, if you're a woman
6. Some kind of davening commitment, whether it be the whole shebang on Shabbat, or Shabbat plus one service per day approximately during the week, or more of course
7. Some kind of regular Torah study commitment
8. Having some halakhic principles
Perhpas the real purpose of this post is to complain about #8. I live in a community in which I increasingly feel that people who look at things halakhically are considered Conservadox or Orthodox, while people who don't are considered tolerant and friendly. I don't want to get into the specifics of halakhic controversies that have ensnared at least one of the shuls where I daven, since I am trying for at least some degree of anonymity here. Also there is the lashon hara thing, which maybe I should have put on my list above. The point is that in a shul in which I sometimes daven, which identifies itself as post-denominational, which I consider to be another name for Conservative (and that at least is their style of davening), there have been two halakhic controversies this academic year. It may not be correct to call them halakhic controversies, though, because in both cases, one side has placed halakhic considerations as the number one determining factor in the final decision, and the other has not. Those of us who have the temerity to suggest that although some situations are unfortunate and hurt people's feelings, they still have to be resolved with halakhah firmly mind, have mostly been dismissed as Orthodox and therefore out of touch with the concerns of the majority of people in the shul, and/or intolerant, and/or unfeeling. This disturbs me greatly. I am not unfeeling. I'm not exactly a fundamentalist, but what Conservadoxy means to me, increasingly, is holding the line against Conservative Judaism and its meta-halakhic standpoint. I think that some of the problem in the case of this shul is the massive under-education of many of its members, which is not their fault. Plus there is shul politics and the bonds of friendship, which admittedly makes things more dificult.
Don't worry. This blog is not going to be me venting about my various shuls. I have just been frustrated about this for a long time and wanted to get it off my chest. End of rant.