Sacrifice

Since the destruction of the Temples, Jews have struggled with the enduring meaning and legacy of the sacrificial rites.

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While Reform Judaism today has a much more positive attitude to the return, the Reform attitude is still too universalistic to permit references to the old sacrificial system in prayer. Sacrifices were, indeed, once highly significant but they have now been superseded under divine guidance.

Conservative Judaism, on the other hand, believes that to delete from the Prayer Book all references to the sacrifices is to ignore the significant role the sacrifices played in Jewish history. And yet, since many Jews do not believe that the sacrificial system will one day be restored, to pray for its restoration is to engage in double-think.

To cope with this problem, the Conservative Prayer Book retains the references to the system but substitutes for the words 'and there we will offer' the words:

'and there our forefathers offered.'

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Rabbi Louis Jacobs

Rabbi Dr. Louis Jacobs (1920-2006) was a Masorti rabbi, the first leader of Masorti Judaism (also known as Conservative Judaism) in the United Kingdom, and a leading writer and thinker on Judaism.