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.
Reform, Masorti movements see some progress for their causes, but the struggle for acceptance continues.
The ecstasy of many non-Orthodox Jews following January’s election is over and a sober reality has begun to set in.
Sure, for the first time that anyone can remember the new Israeli government does not include any haredi or fervently Orthodox parties. But the inclusion in the coalition government of an Orthodox party — Jewish Home — has tempered hopes for sweeping changes that would end the virtual pariah status of non-Orthodox streams of Judaism in Israel.
For years, the Reform and Conservative movements in Israel have been seen as illegitimate forms of Judaism, and haredi Jews in the government have ensured that the Orthodox hegemony in the country over anything to do with religion, lifecycle events and kashrut remained intact.
Today, there are about 60 Masorti or Conservative congregations with about 15,000 members.
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.