Joel Meyers

Activists Renew Fight For Gay Ordination

04/09/1999
Staff Writer
The struggle over gay rights in the Jewish community heated up this week in the Conservative and Orthodox movements. At the Jewish Theological Seminary on the Upper West Side, a group of rabbinical students are launching an effort to gain grassroots support to change the Conservative ban on ordaining gay and lesbian rabbis. The action follows a heated meeting between the students and Chancellor Dr. Ismar Schorsch, who reiterated his long-standing opposition to overturning the ban against openly gay rabbinical students.

'Blindsided' By Singer?

05/30/2003
Staff Writer
Who does Israel Singer represent? That's the question several angry Jewish interfaith leaders are asking this week after Singer met privately in Rome with Pope John Paul II and raised several key issues between the Vatican and the Jewish community (apparently without the authorization of IJCIC) the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations.

Reform Launches Major Effort In Israel

12/17/1999
Staff Writer
Reform Jewish officials announced plans this week to raise $50 million over the next decade to build synagogues and community centers throughout Israel as part of an aggressive and ambitious new strategy to boost the movement worldwide. The announcement by Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch, executive director of Reform's Zionist and international arm called ARZA/World Union, comes as North America's largest Jewish denomination begins its biennial convention in Orlando, Fla.

ADL Quits Dialogue Group

10/08/1999
Staff Writer
A new dustup has hit IJCIC, the Jewish coalition group that claims to represent the world Jewish community to the Vatican. One key member, the Anti-Defamation League, has quit, even as the umbrella group officially known as the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations tries to resurrect itself in the face of sharp criticism and years of ineffectiveness. ADL interfaith director Rabbi Leon Klenicki said the IJCIC is no longer relevant. Last March, the group was declared dead by the Vatican’s chief interfaith official.

Spiritual Struggle

04/30/1999
Staff Writer
Baltimore — What do an expert on Buddhism, a Christian theologian and a former Reagan administration bureaucrat have to say about Jewish spirituality to a room full of Conservative rabbis? That was the question here this week when all three addressed several hundred rabbis and guests at the 99th annual convention of the Rabbinical Assembly, the organization representing the world’s 1,500 Conservative rabbis.

Pluralism Wars Rekindle

01/01/1999
Staff Writer
Reform and Conservative leaders are threatening to hit Israeli politicians where it hurts — in the pocketbook — for supporting a new two-pronged legislative attack aimed at blocking non-Orthodox efforts to gain equality in Israel. In this sudden escalation of Israel’s religious pluralism war, non-Orthodox leaders this week angrily denounced the Israeli Orthodox coalition’s aggressive political maneuvers to try and prevent Reform and Conservative representatives from taking their seats on local religious councils.

Rabbis Unite Under National Entity

02/26/1999
Staff Writer
Over the strong objections of the nation’s major rabbinic organizations, New York Board of Rabbis President Marc Schneier this week launched a new national rabbinic group that includes 30 members from Orthodox, Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist Judaism. The creation of the North American Boards of Rabbis in Washington, D.C., Monday marks the first time an interdenominational rabbinic group has formed since the Synagogue Council of America disbanded under a cloud in 1995, partly for financial reasons and the growing isolationist philosophy of some Orthodox groups.

Gay Policy Put To Test

07/26/2002
Staff Writer
The first case testing a decade-old policy permitting Conservative rabbis to serve gay and lesbian congregations has illuminated the movement's many struggles and inconsistencies in connection with homosexuality-related issues. A day before her ordination this spring at the Jewish Theological Seminary, Ayelet Cohen informed the Rabbinical Assembly that she had been offered a job at New York's gay and lesbian synagogue. She had served at Congregation Beth Simchat Torah as a rabbinic intern (placed there by the seminary) for the past two years.

Hebrew College To Ordain Rabbis

01/24/2003
Staff Writer
Boston's Hebrew College, the 82-year-old center of secular Jewish studies, plans to open the doors of a new rabbinical school in September, adding to the handful of Jewish independent ordaining institutions in the United States. The new program will likely create competition for students among New York-based seminaries. The move by Hebrew College, which has about 400 students enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs in Jewish studies and Jewish education, is being welcomed in some quarters and criticized in others.

Rabbis And Scandal: Are We Losing Faith?

07/28/2000
Staff Writer
The unsettling reports of rabbis committing crimes against both secular and Jewish law, and against common-sense morality, seem these days to come unrelentingly. Reform Rabbi Fred Neulander from Cherry Hill, N.J., sits in prison awaiting trial for arranging his wife's murder, which happened at the same time he was having an affair. Orthodox Rabbi Baruch Lanner was accused recently in these pages of physically and sexually abusing the young people in his charge in his nearly three decades with the Orthodox Union's National Conference of Synagogue Youth.
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