3/26/07

Eisen decides to admit gays to JTS rabbinical school

It's clear to me from the JTA report that this was the brave decision of Arnie Eisen. His letter confirms that he is the moving force for this change.

Now the big unknown is how tough Eisen is. He will be attacked from the left and the right. Will he be able to stand his ground? Time will tell.

His letter of defense cites the sources and principles of Conservative Judaism to bolster the decision. But he faces real questions. Leviticus is not ambiguous on this matter. And the Orthodox at Agudah are always happy to have a slow soft pitch lobbed their way so that they can smack it out of the park.

Whatever the outcome, this is a historic shift. Make note of the date so you can tell your grandchildren you remember when...
JTS to admit gay rabbinical students

The Jewish Theological Seminary announced Monday that it would change admission policies to accept openly gay students at its rabbinical school.

Arnold Eisen, chancellor-elect of the Conservative movement's flagship institution, made the decision after consulting with the seminary community and conducting a movement-wide survey, both of which found strong support for the change.

In December, the movement's legal authority, the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards, endorsed three opinions on the question of homosexuality. Two upheld the movement's traditional stance barring gay clergy and commitment ceremonies, while a third opened the door to gay rabbis and commitment ceremonies while upholding the biblical prohibition on male intercourse.

The conflicting opinions enabled individual Conservative institutions to make their own policy decisions. In Los Angeles, the University of Judaism's rabbinical school has already admitted two openly gay students for the fall term. The movement's other seminaries – in Jerusalem, Budapest and Buenos Aires – are not expected to follow suit.

3 comments:

andy said...

If you disregard Leviticus, why do you make such a fuss about kitniyot, just eat bread already.

Tzvee said...

we don't make the news, we just read it and comment on it.

Bryce said...

"It's clear to me from the JTA report that this was the brave decision of Arnie Eisen."

I had a few adjectives in mind to describe this decision, but 'brave' didn't quite make the list.