Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Big Tent????? Please, it's insulting......

So the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards (CJLS) of the Rabbinical Assembly has finally passed down their decision on the ordination of gays and lesbians in the Conservative movement. Going with the "two Jews, three opinions" theory, they adopted three different views. Quoting from the AP story on
"One upholds the prohibition against gay rabbis. Another, billed as a compromise, permits gay ordination while continuing to ban male sodomy. The third upholds the ban on gay sexual relationships in Jewish law and mentions the option for gays to undergo therapy aimed at changing their sexual orientation."
None of these work for me. The first, in my opinion, is just wrong. The second is fine up until "continuing to ban male sodomy." So, is male/female sodomy no longer banned? If male/female sodomy is also still banned, are you going to question heterosexual rabbinical candidates on their sex lives to insure this? And anyone who thinks that the third is an option should definitely read this letter from last week's Jewish Press.

Once again, the Conservative movement wimps out. I'm working on a post "My love/hate relationship with the Conservative movement" but right now, it's hard to feel the "love" part. The AP article on the decision mentions the Conservative movement's leaders mantra, the big tent theory, "allowing diverse practices by the movement's more than 1,000 rabbis and 750 North American synagogues." I have had that same theory thrown in my face during discussions on egalitarianism in the Conservative movement. There are still Conservative affiliated synagogues in this country that would not count me--a minyan going, tefillin wearing, Torah reading woman--as one of the 10 needed for a minyan, where they would count a Jewish man who took on none of those practices.

The big tent theory only works for the men who are making the decisions in the Conservative movement--they can go everywhere in the tent. But it is insulting to the gay, lesbian, and female members of the movement.

I belong to a Conservative affiliated synagogue that is completely egalitarian and supports the ordination of gay and lesbian clergy. I will remain with my synagogue. But as of today, I no longer identify as a member of the Conservative movement. I need no labels or approvals from anyone to continue my strong Jewish practice--and think I'm better off without them.

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