Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Conservative Jews set for debate

With the Conservative movement's convention underway the issue of, what the torah refers to as an "abomination", will be debated contentiously, as the struggling jewish denomination continues to deal with the result of its' bipolar attitude towards halacha.

Journal News:

The rights of gays in the Conservative Jewish movement are being debated by congregants as their tradition's rabbinic rule-making body prepares to make a judgment on the issue early next year.
Paula Mack Drill, associate rabbi of the Orangetown Jewish Center, thought the timing was right for her congregation to have an open discussion on the matter.
"I actually spoke about homosexuality on the second day of Rosh Hashana, and there were people who were uncomfortable, which I think is normal and OK because we were looking to open dialogue," she said. "There were also more than 50 e-mails from people, most of whom were saying, 'Thank you. That's what leadership is.' "
Conservative Judaism, which tries to reconcile traditional Jewish teachings with the modern world, generally calls for equality for gays and lesbians in civil life, but not in Jewish spiritual life. The movement does not currently ordain gay rabbis or allow the blessing of same-sex unions, but that could change with the new ruling.
The Rabbinical Assembly's Committee on Jewish Laws and Standards, which is the movement's central authority on Jewish law and tradition, or Halacha, is expected to rule as early as March on whether gays and lesbians may be ordained as rabbis and cantors, or whether Conservative rabbis may perform same-sex commitment ceremonies.
Any decisions — the body may issue minority opinions as well — will set a nonbinding standard. Individual congregations ultimately look to their own rabbis as the final arbiters of most Halachic questions, and the rabbis use the committee's rulings as a guide.
posted by Yeshiva Orthodoxy
at 1:34 PM

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