Conservative/Masorti movement puts a pluralistic spin on the Simchat Torah flag.
When Rabbi Tzvi Graetz was a little boy in the Israel of the 1970s, he would visit the shuk, or market, with his father every High Holiday season to buy flags to wave during Simchat Torah, which celebrates the end of one year of Torah readings and the beginning of a new one.
Some years ago, the immediate past Chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary, Rabbi Ismar Schorch, publicly called for the elimination of the office of the Sephardi and Ashkenazi Chief Rabbinate in Israel. If memory serves me correctly, the New York Times called him on it, referring to his suggestion as rash and impolitic. At the time, I agreed.
But I have to admit, Rabbi Schorch's suggestion is looking better to me by the day.
Many hope landmark decision at Masorti-Conservative’s Schechter leads to more inclusion, less acrimony.
Jerusalem — Mikie Goldstein, a gay rabbinical student at New York’s Jewish Theological Seminary, is gratified that the Masorti movement — the Conservative movement’s Israeli branch — decided late last week to permit gays and lesbians to study toward ordination at the Schechter Rabbinical School in Jerusalem.
Gay and lesbian students will be ordained as Conservative rabbis in Israel.
The Board of Trustees of the Schechter Rabbinical Seminary voted Thursday night to accept gay and lesbian students for ordination beginning with the 2012-13 academic year. The Conservative movement in Israel is known as Masorti.
A seminary statement said the decision comes following a "long process."
There was once a talmudic student in Europe who was brilliant scholar, as well as a fervent believer. He practiced religious rules scrupulously, and was moved by a godly spirit too. But when he said that God may not have actually given the Torah to Moses at Mt. Sinai some 4,000 years ago, his colleagues were outraged. "Blasphemy!" they implored, and cast him out of their sight.
Rabbi Ehud Bandel, the leader of the Masorti (Conservative) movement in Israel, takes satisfaction in the Orthodox establishment’s stepped-up opposition to his group’s efforts. He sees it as a sign of serious concern on the part of the Chief Rabbinate.