NEW YORK (Sep. 10)
A far reaching change in Jewish religious practice was announced today by the Rabbinical Assembly, the international organization of Conservative rabbis. The Assembly’s Committee on Jewish Law and Standards in its most recent meeting voted to approve a proposal which counts men and women equally as members of a minyan. Rabbi Judah Nadich of New York. Assembly president, said this change recognizes the new role that women are playing in Jewish communal life.
Rabbi Seymour Siegel. committee chairman, said the action taken in making men and women equal in regard to the minyan was the result of long and serious discussion and emerged out of papers written by Rabbi Aaron Blumenthal of Mount Vernon, N.Y. and Rabbi Philip Sigal of Pittsburgh.
A significant minority of the committee did not approve of the decision feeling that the tradition should be maintained and that most synagogues were not ready for such an innovation and the institution of the new norm might disrupt the unity of congregations. According to the committee rules, the decision-on equality is not mandatory, Whether or not to institute the new ruling is in the hands of the individual rabbis and congregations.
"The Conservative movement," Rabbi Nadich said, "has historically acted to make Jewish Law responsive to changes in society and to new needs. Women have played an important role in the various branches of our movement….The latest action furthers the positive actions we have taken in the past to enhance the role of women in the synagogue."