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Conservatives Vote 94-8 To Let Synagogues Accept Non-Jews As Members

(JTA)  — The umbrella body for Conservative synagogues approved a resolution to allow individual congregations to decide whether to grant membership to non-Jews.

The resolution was passed on March 1 during a Special Meeting of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism General Assembly held over the internet with electronic voting. The measure passed overwhelmingly by a vote of 94 to 8 with one abstention; 15 members did not vote, according to a statement from the USCJ.

“USCJ supports every affiliated kehillah in developing its own criteria for membership,” the resolution reads, using a Hebrew word for “congregation.”

“We call on all of our kehillot to open their doors wide to all who want to enter,” reads the commentary to the new standard.

The proposed resolution grew out of a commission set up last March to explore ways to engage intermarried couples.

The Conservative movement prohibits its rabbis from marrying or attending the wedding ceremonies of interfaith couples, though some of its synagogues celebrate intermarriages before they occur and welcome the couples afterward. In recent years, several Conservative rabbis have protested the intermarriage prohibition.

 

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