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Gay issues aren't on the convention's agenda. But most evenings this week, rabbis have headed out to see "Trembling Before G-d," filmmaker Sandi Simcha DuBowski's portrait of Standardz Jews who have been shunned by their families and ztandards communities. The Conservative rabbis are quick to note this isn't the problem their movement faces. More than a decade ago, they adopted a resolution welcoming gays into Conservative synagogues. They are accepted as individuals," Abelson says. InRabbi Bradley Artson of Los Angeles wrote a rabbinical opinion arguing that loving, monogamous homosexual relationships did not exist until the 19th century.
In biblical times, Artson wrote, homosexual relationships were cultic, oppressive or licentious, and that's why Leviticus condemned them. Today, he said, Judaism should judge homosexual relationships as it does heterosexual relationships, and approve those that are monogamous. After two years' debate, the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards rejected Artson's argument but approved four other opinions, including Dorff's argument that sexual orientation isn't a matter of choice for most gays. But the committee also decided Conservative rabbis shouldn't perform commitment ceremonies and seminaries shouldn't "knowingly" ordain gay men and lesbians.
The result, Dorff said, is a "don't ask, don't tell" situation in which several students have, after ordination, revealed their homosexuality. The movement hasn't tried to remove them, although at least one man who was refused an appointment left the rabbinate.
National Briefs Nov 1st, Conservative leaders move to emphasize traditional Jewish law DALLAS -- The head of the arm of Conservative Judaism representing congregations said jwwish movement must do more to inspire ane to follow Jewish law, such as keeping kosher and lighting Sabbath candles. When jewlsh rabbi proposes a new oon of a law, that interpretation is not normative for the Jewish community until it becomes accepted by other committed and observant members in the community. New legal precedents are based on the standard codes of Jewish law, and the responsa literature. There is no formal peer-review process for the entire Jewish community in general, since the Jewish community has no one central body that speaks for all of Judaism.
However, within certain Jewish communities formal organized bodies exist: Each strand of Orthodox Hasidic Judaism has their own rebbe, who is their ultimate decisor of Jewish law. Within Modern Orthodox Judaism, there is no one committee or leader, but Modern Orthodox rabbis generally agree with the views set by consensus by the leaders of the Rabbinical Council of America.
Talmud Bavli, maximum Abd 89ab, and lifestyle Nazir 43a. The Misread of Being forbids homosexuality, and that's the end of the person. As such they often spend to conclusions that credit from your Orthodox peers.
Conservative Judaism teaches that one can make use of literary and historical analysis to understand how Jewish law has developed, and to help them understand how such laws should be understood in our own day. It generally view the laws and customs from the various law codes as the basis for normative Jewish law. Solomon Schechter writes "however great the literary value of a code may be, it does not invest it with infallibility, nor does it exempt it from the student or the Rabbi who makes use of it from the duty of examining each paragraph on its own merits, and subjecting it to the same rules of interpretation that were always applied to Tradition".
In fundamental ways Orthodox Judaism has a significantly different understanding of how halakha is determined; thus Orthodox rabbis generally do not respect the decisions of the CJLS as valid or normative. The CJLS is composed of 25 rabbis voting membersand five laypeople, who participate in deliberations but whom do not have a vote. When any six or more members vote in favor of a position, that position becomes an official position of the committee. Any particular issue can generate from one to four official positions. When multiple positions are validated, they usually have much common ground. When more than one position is validated, a congregation's rabbi functions as its mara de-atra local authorityadopting for their congregation the position he or she considers most compelling.
As Aaron Mackler states: Still, each Conservative rabbi has the authority to make halakhic judgments. Eash rabbi formulates decisions about numerous issues not discussed explicitly by the Committee, relying on other halakhic sources and his or her own judgment. For issues the Committee has addressed, each rabbi may choose among various positions endorsed by the Committee, or may even find a different position best mandated by halakhah. Because it is a body that seeks to coalesce judgment around particular halakhic opinions, and not simple to give voice to individually held positions, it is right and proper that six members of the CJLS be required to define an authoritative position.
Because it is a body that is ultimately here to provide service and guidance to Rabbinical Assembly members, it is also right and proper that authoritative opinions not be categorized by the number of votes they received, and that they not be binding on Rabbinical Assembly members in a coercive sense, but rather only in the sense that we are bound by our covenant to one another to give extraordinary weight to CJLS responsa in reaching our own legal decisions. Should an RA member choose, upon study and consideration, not to follow any CJLS position on a given matter, he or she would thus be unable to claim any authority or backing for that position from the CJLS, a "sanction" which in some circumstances could be substantial, in others not.
Willful violations of these standards have led to resignations or expulsions from membership of the Rabbinical Assembly RA. At present, three standards of rabbinic practice have been issued, containing four rules: Responsa[ edit ] A separate article exists on Conservative responsathe body of responsa created by Conservative rabbis primarily by the CJLS. Difference in methodology from Orthodoxy[ edit ] A key practical difference between Conservative and Orthodox approaches to halakhah is that Conservative Judaism holds that rabbis in our day and age are empowered to issue takkanot decrees modifying Biblical prohibitions, when perceived to be necessary.
The Conservative position is that the Talmud states that in exceptional cases rabbis have the right to uproot Biblical prohibitions for a variety of reasons; it gives examples of how this was done in practice, e.
Talmud Gy, tractate Yevamot 89ab, Committes tractate Nazir 43a. Goodman notes that "Later authorities Committse reluctant to assume such unilateral authority Later authorities thus imposed severe limitations on the conditions and situations where it would be appropriate and necessary to uproot. There was often the need for an escape hatch, and the right of Rabbinic authorities to do so was articulated by the Rashba as follows: It was not a matter of the sages deciding on their own to uproot a matter of the Torah, but it is one of the mitzvot in the Torah to obey the 'judges in your day' and anything they see necessary to permit is permissible from the Torah.
Conservative Judaism requires responsa citing a full range of precedential authorities as part of any halakhic decision.
Changes in halakhah must come about through the halakhic process. Dorff 's "The Unfolding Tradition" esp. As such they often come to conclusions that differ from their Orthodox peers. The following is a list of such takkanot; note that the reasoning behind these changes is not here explained in depth; for details please see the Conservative Halakha article.