Saying that children of non-Jewish mothers would benefit from a Jewish day school education, a Conservative leader has proposed that such children be admitted to the movement’s Solomon Schechter Day Schools with the understanding that they are expected to eventually convert to Judaism.
As the Conservative movement began grappling this week with the implications of the landmark Law Committee ruling paving the way for gay ordination, thousands of Conservative Jewish leaders are to shortly be polled for their opinion on the issue.
Homosexual Jews may now be ordained as Conservative rabbis and rabbis now may perform same-sex unions, according to a landmark ruling Wednesday by the movement’s rabbinical committee that interprets Jewish law.
At the same time, the committee also upheld the current ban on gay rabbis or teachers, or other leadership positions.
The split decision, rendered after two days of deliberations here by the 25-member Committee on Jewish Law and Standards, was made possible because five position papers were considered and each needed only six votes to be considered valid.
The leadership of Adath Israel Congregation in Toronto has voted to leave the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism immediately because it no longer represents their more conservative views, according to the Canadian Jewish News.
“We find the chasm between Conservative Judaism in the United States and Conservative Judaism here to be growing larger and wider,” Rabbi Steven Saltzman, the congregation’s spiritual leader, was quoted as saying.
Torahs from the Suffolk Jewish Center in Deer Park were marched and driven five miles to the Dix Hills Jewish Center under bright sunny skies Sunday as the two Long Island congregations celebrated their merger with singing, dancing and food.
As police and fire trucks led the way and a klezmer band played, Dr. Martin Feller, a founder of the Dix Hills Jewish Center, recalled a similar march 30 years ago when he and fellow congregants carried Torahs from their rented house to their then-new home at Vanderbilt Parkway and DeForest Road.
A survey of Conservative clergy released last week found that more than 80 percent eat warmed fish in non-kosher restaurants, prompting the chairman of the movement’s rabbinic kosher subcommittee to begin writing a legal opinion that will likely restrict what Conservative Jews may or may not eat in non-kosher restaurants.
As widely expected, a large majority of Conservative rabbis, cantors, professionals and lay leaders support gays and lesbians becoming rabbis and cantors, although about half have their doubts as to whether it is compatible with Jewish law. And a majority of professional and lay leaders admitted to being “confused” and “somewhat embarrassed” by a rabbinic law committee’s decision in December to both accept and reject gay ordination.
As a rabbinical committee of the Conservative movement prepares to decide next month whether gays and lesbians should be admitted to the rabbinical school, the school's incoming chancellor confessed to having some concerns.
"It's a very important matter but I don't want it to divide us," Arnold Eisen, chancellor-elect of the Jewish Theological Seminary, told more than 400 people at Temple Beth Sholom in Roslyn, L.I., Tuesday night.
In his farewell address, the outgoing chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary delivered a scathing attack on his students for craving "instant gratification" rather than "dense and demanding discourse," and on his own Conservative movement for too easily permitting "fundamental changes."
A request for financial assistance from the Masorti (Conservative) movement in Israel has prompted the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism to develop a major initiative that would encourage Conservative Jews to contribute to the movement's programs worldwide.