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From the moment that Arnold Eisen was named chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in April, grumbling began over the prospect of a nonrabbi assuming the helm of the Conservative movement’s main rabbinical school. Only recently, however, did Conservative rabbis begin wrestling with the all-important question of whether to permit Eisen to join Ravnet, the strictly confidential rabbis-only discussion group. As it stands now, the forum is open only to members of the Conservative movement’s Rabbinical Assembly, to which Eisen does not belong.

The debate has been civil and thoughtful on both sides, the Shmooze has been told, but that didn’t prevent one rabbi from sending a message to his colleagues, suggesting that the whole exercise is a waste of time.

“Why bother changing the rules?” the rabbi wrote. “Buy [Eisen] a subscription to the Forward…. Everything which is said here is usually found there by the next week.”

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