Following the completion of a thorough and deliberate review process, The Jewish Theological Seminary has decided, effective immediately, to accept qualified gay and lesbian students into its rabbinical and cantorial schools.
JTS also announced that in recognition of the significant implications of this decision on the nature and future of Conservative Judaism, it intends to embark on two new initiatives:
- JTS will lead a dialogue – working with the Chancellor’s Rabbinic Cabinet, and through liaison with all arms of the Conservative Movement – engaging Conservative Jews about the belief and behavior that should guide JTS and the movement. These discussions – focusing on our shared dedication to mitzvah and halakhah – will be conducted over the next two years with the ultimate goal being a re-clarification of the principles of Conservative Judaism and a recommitment to its practices.
- JTS will intensify contact with the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at the University of Judaism in California, the Schechter Institute in Israel, and the Seminario Rabínico Latinoamericano in Argentina, and encourage an increased number of joint missions of lay leaders and more exchanges among the faculty and students at these institutions. JTS will also take special steps to strengthen the relationship between Canadian and American Conservative Jews.
What does this mean for your average Cleveland Conservative Jew? Well, that depends on what it means to the average Cleveland Conservative Jew’s synagogue and that synagogue’s rabbi and board of trustees and officers. I’m on the board of my shul. Our rabbi has made his views known, he’s held a forum already with congregants and has addressed it from the bima.
Me? I don’t know – it’s too new for me to think about. I just don’t know. As many of us might imagine, it’s one thing to say that it’s fine – that it should be allowed. It’s another thing to define how close you want it to your life and how you observe.
Like a lot of issues, I need to think about this one – a lot.