US Rabbinical schools vote to accept gays and lesbians
Anthony Cuesta | April 02, 2007
After months of debate, the major seminary and flagship institution of Conservative Judaism said Monday it will start accepting openly gay and lesbian students to its rabbinical and cantorial schools.
According to the Associated Press, Arnold Eisen, the incoming chancellor for the Jewish Theological Seminary, said the decision was made after extensive discussion with faculty and students, a survey on views of the issue within the movement and a meeting of the school's trustees.
"The larger issue has been how we can remain true to our tradition in general and to halakah (Jewish law) in particular while staying fully responsive to and immersed in our society and culture," Eisen said in a statement distributed to the school community and its supporters.
The Conservative branch holds the middle ground in American Judaism, adhering to tradition while allowing some change for modern circumstances.
The larger and more liberal Reform Jewish movement, as well as the smaller Reconstructionist wing, allow gays to become rabbis; the Orthodox branch bars gays and women from ordination.
The Cleveland Jewish News reports that the change comes after months of consultation, including the commissioning of a movement-wide survey that found support for the move among a majority of Conservative rabbis, cantors, lay leaders and seminarians.
Earlier this month, a smaller Conservative seminary in Los Angeles, the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at the University of Judaism, announced that it has accepted its first openly gay and lesbian applicants, reports the AP. – Issued by Gay Link Content
US Conservative Judaism rules for same-sex unions, gay ordination