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!
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
  • Aperitif Cocktail, Tequila Shot, Tom Collins or Vodka Soda — Which son do you relate to?
  • Elvis craved bacon on tour. Michael Jackson craved matzo ball soup. We've got the recipe.
  • This is the face of hatred.
  • What could be wrong with a bunch of guys kicking back with a steak and a couple of beers and talking about the Seder? Try everything. #ManSeder
  • BREAKING: Smirking killer singled out Jews for death in suburban Kansas City rampage. 3 die in bloody rampage at JCC and retirement home.
  • Real exodus? For Mimi Minsky, it's screaming kids and demanding hubby on way down to Miami, not matzo in the desert.
  • The real heroines of Passover prep aren't even Jewish. But the holiday couldn't happen without them.
  • 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.