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Reconstructionist Synagogue Quits Movement Over Intermarried Rabbis

A Florida synagogue has voted to leave the Reconstructionism over the movement’s decision to allow rabbis to marry outside the Jewish faith.

The members of Kol Haneshamah synagogue in Sarasota, Florida, voted by a 63-to-35 margin to end its Reconstructionist affiliation and become an independent congregation not affiliate. Twelve members abstained and 13 votes were invalid.

“Our hope is that the KH community is able to return to the wonderful place that it was at six or seven months ago,” said a synagogue member who supports the move.

The synagogue’s president has sent a letter to the movement informing it of the shul’s decision.

The decision comes amid a rising tide of discord within the tiny movement over its leaders decision to allow intermarried rabbis.

Seven rabbis have quit the movement in protest since the policy was implemented last September. Other synagogues are debating the issue although none are publicly considering leaving so far.

Reconstructionist leaders note that at least four rabbis from other streams of Judaism have taken steps to join the movement during the same time frame.

Jennifer Singer Image by Kol Ha Neshama

Along with the issue of intermarried rabbis, some members of Kol Haneshamah became concerned about the prominence of some fellow members of Reconstructionism in the anti-Israel BDS movement, said the synagogue member, who asked not to be named.

The Kol Haneshamah member said that research revealed a majority of members of the Jewish Voice for Peace rabbinical council are Reconstructionists. That fact disturbed some members of the shul, which caters to a population of mainly snowbirds and retirees in the beachfront city on Florida’s Gulf Coast.

“It seems to be part of the Reconstructionist culture,” the member said.

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