JTS Chief Opposes Policy Change

By Elli Wohlgelernter

Published February 13, 2004, issue of February 13, 2004.
  • Print
  • Share Share

JERUSALEM — Rabbi Ismar Schorsch, chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary, told the Forward that he opposes any change to the Conservative movement’s prohibition against ordaining gay rabbis or sanctioning same-sex commitment ceremonies.

Schorsch outlined his position this week while attending the annual convention of the Conservative movement’s Rabbinical Assembly in Jerusalem. It appeared to be the first time that the rabbi had spoken out on the issue since Judy Yudof, president of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, called for a review of the policy, and the movement’s top lawmaking body agreed to reconsider the issue.

Schorsch said he worried that any change would split the movement, but also because an endorsement of same-sex commitment ceremonies would mean that “there is very little to prevent us halachically from officiating at [interfaith] marriages, or accepting the matrilineal principle.

“The principal reason for not ordaining [homosexuals] and not performing commitment ceremonies is that there is simply no halachic justification for it,” Schorsch said.

Elsewhere at the gathering, much attention was focused on Rabbi Baruch Zeilicovich, the Conservative rabbi from Texas who was arrested and briefly detained by Israeli police Tuesday after trying, along with fellow rabbis, to unfurl a banner near the Western Wall reading “The wall belongs to us all.” Zeilicovich, who leads a congregation in Fort Worth, was among some 200 Conservative rabbis from around the world protesting construction that will nearly double the gender-segregated prayer area adjacent to Judaism’s holiest site, the Kotel. Officials said Zeilicovich did not have a permit for the sign.






Find us on Facebook!
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.