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Israeli Conservative seminary closed to gays

The Conservative movement’s seminary in Jerusalem announced that it would not change admissions policies to admit gay and lesbian students. The Schechter Rabbinical Seminary’s decision comes after the chancellor-elect of the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, Arnold Eisen, moved to allow gays and lesbians to apply,. The change was enabled by a decision by the Conservative movement’s legal authorities last December to permit the ordination of gay and lesbian rabbis.Rabbi Einat Ramon, dean of the Jerusalem seminary, distributed a position paper to the school’s executive committee in which she emphasized the historic centrality of heterosexual unions in Jewish thought. “We have always admitted students committed to an observant lifestyle, including kashrut, Shabbat and the sanctity of the heterosexual family,” Ramon said. “Today in particular, when the traditional family is in trouble, it is especially important that we ordain modern rabbis who are devoted to this institution and identify with this worldview.”The Conservative movement’s international affiliates had been expected to reject the ordination of gay clergy, a position that puts them at odds with their American counterparts, who have moved steadily in the opposite direction.

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