Conservative Jews ok gay rabbis

Wed Dec 6, 2006 4:17pm ET19

By Michelle Nichols


NEW YORK (Reuters) - Leaders of the Conservative Jewish movement opened the door on Wednesday to the ordination of gay rabbis and the recognition of gay marriage, but made it clear the more orthodox in the faith may go on opposing such liberalization.

"We as a movement see the advocacy of pluralism and we know that people come to different conclusions," said Rabbi Kassel Abelson, speaking for the 25-member Rabbinical Assembly Committee on Jewish Law and Standards which issued a series of advisory reports. (This is their modern Sanhedrin) When it speaks here of this “Rabbinical Assembly” being over Jewish Law they are not speaking of these being governed or making their rulings from the Law of Moses of the Prophets – These use the Talmud exclusively as their light and guidance. 


"These ... are accepted as guides so that the gays and lesbians can be welcomed into our congregation and communities and made to feel accepted," he added.

The statements issued by the committee are not binding on congregations or seminaries. One said openly gay people should be allowed as rabbis and that "committed gay relationships" can be recognized but not blessed. That statement also retained the prohibition in the Torah (This statement is only in the statement for window dressing) against male homosexual intercourse. (Talk about straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel!)

In a separate vote the group also upheld a 1992 statement that advises against gay ordinations and the recognition of same-sex marriages. The result is a mixed approach that will allow both liberals and the more orthodox in the movement to pursue whichever policies they prefer.


With so much left to the institutions' and congregations' discretion, the issue was likely to go on stirring controversy in the movement. Four (Out of 25) members of the committee resigned after the statements were issued, saying they opposed the methods used to reach the conclusions in the paper liberalizing (Note the use of this word here) gay rabbis.


There are perhaps 6 million Jews in the United States, only about a third of them affiliated with a congregation. (Only one third today are practicing Jews) Of those who do attend synagogue 38 percent are Reform, 33 percent Conservative and 22 percent Orthodox, according to one survey.


The Conservative movement holds the middle ground between liberalism and orthodoxy and the gay issue is a matter of division within it, as is the case with many other faiths.

Rabbi Jerome Epstein of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism in New York, asked what backing the two differing views might have, said: "Based on the e-mails and phone calls we have been receiving my guess is that it's very close to an even split at the moment."


Rabbi Elliot Dorff of the University of Judaism in Los Angeles said each of the rabbinical schools would hold their own discussions on the papers accepted by the council.


"I imagine each of the seminaries will handle it differently," he said. ""My guess is that within the next several weeks we will be announcing that our rabbinical school will be open to gays and lesbians because we have already had this discussion" (They have been pumping through gay and lesbian students now for three decades, -- That is how they have reached this point) The same thing has been going on in Catholic sand Protestant Seminaries. As well as in Baptist and Pentecostal Seminaries and bible schools for the last three decades. There has been a concerted effort as we have declared elsewhere to overthrow all Jewish and Christian religion.  This has not been a conspiracy and planned assault – though we do not deny that gay and lesbian groups here and there have met and discussed this type of things  -- the sheer magnitude of this is beyond any organizational planning – it is a concerted effort of the enemy to end the church of Israel and Christ in any way shape of form for once and for all.


The true church of Israel and Christ are being made manifest before our eyes, and the church made with hands is passing away. The church is reverting to what it originally was believing households or households of believers. The true church is going to be forced to move underground even as God through persecution caused the disbursal of the church in Jerusalem. The true children of Israel and Christ will be forced to separate themselves from all these churches and denominations to prevent themselves and their households from being made partakers of the sins of the great whore and her daughters.


Rabbi Joel Meyers, executive vice president of the Rabbinical Assembly, said rabbis who so desire could start performing commitment ceremonies recognizing gay relationships immediately.