Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Conservative Movement and their Decision Last Week

As anyone who reads a newspaper now probably knows, the Conservative Movement last week voted to allow for openly gay and lesbians to be Rabbis and to allow for same sex marriages. I remember commenting on someone's blog that I would not take the time to comment but I have held it in long enough that I am going to say something. I first want to point someone in the direction of a beautiful article written in the World Jewish Review here by Rabbi Avi Shafran of Agudah. After reading the article you can read the actual "Teshuvas" that the Conservative Movement voted on here.

My first comment has to do with what Rabbi Shafran said. In an article he wrote in Moment magazine, he said that the Conservative movement is no longer going to be recognized as a Halachic movement. My opinion is that it wasn't a Halachic movement 5 years ago when he wrote this article and it hasn't been since the times of Avraham Yehoshua Heschel and maybe even up to the time in 1983 when JTS ordained the first women Rabbi. In last weeks Jewish Week in this article, Rabbi Roth said the following, " The non-egalitarian minyan “survived 10 years until the upstairs egalitarian minyan claimed that any Conservative Jew who was not egalitarian was immoral and [therefore] delegitimate. The student body to this day virtually reviles students who go to the non-egalitarian minyan, and if it was up to most of them, it would not exist because it is [considered] immoral.”

When I was at JTS I can affirm that this was the case. Since i would not daven in the Egalitarian minyan I was looked upon as a sexist as well as viewed as an extremist. There are some great Op Ed and articles on JTA on this issue as well. After reading through briefly the "Teshuvot", the wording of the one that was accepted did nosurprisese me. AS typical Rabbi Dorff style, Science and Opinion come before Torah and its laws and commentary. An experience I had with him was when he came to our dorm for "Dorm Talks". The topic of this talk was Sex, which is something that shouldn'surprisese anyone. He mentioned some ideas about pre marital relations and masturbation. Of course I was shocked by what he said, so I asked him about his source about being OK to spill your seed with a Tanya in my hand showing him what the Alter Rebbe said and his reply was that imedievalal Times it was thought that seminal discharge had a spirit with it which is why the Tanya mentions it the way it does. Now since we know that there are no spirits it is ok to spill your seed.

Rabbi Dorff is the future of the Conservative Movement. An Rabbi who cared at all about Halacha resigned from the Committee and it would nosurprisese me if they join Rabbi Halivni at UTJ with all of the other Rabbis who left the Conservative movement. IS it worth staying at JTS even if they pay a lot of money. Even while I was there I never felt comfortable in that environment and I don't know how anybody who follows halacha can. Gil over at Hirhurim had a post here as well as a few others these past couple of weeks as this issue was publicized. On his post he links the RCA statement on the decision.

When I left the Conservative Movement, I questioned why any Rabbi who was Halachikly observant continued to be involved. Maybe it is the money, I don't know. Many graduates from JTS from the past as well as many former members of USY and RAMAH are not happy with the decision and this decision might just be the icing on the cake for this movement. After speaking to a cousin who is a member of a Reconstructionist Shul, I was trying to figure out what the difference between, Reform, Conservative, and Reconstructionist are. If anyone has read the book Jew Vs Jew can see that everyday we come closer to what the author predicted about that there would be three types of Jews. Secular, Reformative, and Orthodox. Are we at that stage yet? I think we are.


socialworker/frustrated mom said...

I don't know the book so I don't know what the prediction was.

Ben said...

My father a"h used to say 'the only consevative Jew in a conservative syangouge is the rabbi". Your typical congregant does not know a thing about conservative doctorine

FrumWithQuestions said...

Ben- Thanks for your comment. During your fathers days I guess things were different because from my experience, the Conservative Rabbi isn't necesarily a Conservative Jew.

Anonymous said...

As I wrote or more acurately bitched, I am constantly shamed by things my fellow 'jews' get media attention with.

Anonymous said...

The good news is that some Conservative "Rabbis", specifically from Canada, are not going along with this decision.

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