Rabbi quits Israeli seminary over gay issue


(JTA) — A rabbinic leader has quit the Conservative rabbinical seminary in Israel, reportedly over its policies toward gay students.

Rabbi Tamar Elad-Appelbaum, a former assistant dean at the Schechter Rabbinical Seminary in Jerusalem, resigned over what is alleged to have been an unfulfilled promise by the school to ordain gay students, The Jerusalem Post reported.

“She was promised two years ago when she entered the position that they will ordain LGBT students,” an unnamed source told the Post. “She learned this was not going to be the case two weeks ago and quit.”

Elad-Appelbaum did not respond to requests for comment.

The Schechter Institute, which includes several educational divisions in addition to the rabbinical school, expressed regret over Elad-Appelbaum’s decision to leave.

"Rabbi Elad-Appelbaum contributed enormously to the seminary during her tenure and we wish her every success in her future endeavors," said Rabbi Hanan Alexander, the chairman of the seminary’s board of trustees.

The place of openly gay rabbis has riven the Conservative movement for years. Following a decision by the movement’s religious law committee, the two Conservative seminaries in the United States moved to admit openly gay students. But the Schechter Institute, the movement’s flagship institution in Israel, thus far has declined to modify its policies barring the admission of gay students.

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