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April 04, 2003 - Image 33

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-04-04

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CONVENTIONAL

RABBINIC DISCUSSION

from page 32

request to its subcommittee on sex
and family life. That subcommittee
would then solicit rabbinic opinions
on the matter to be discussed when
the committee does meet.
A March 5 meeting of the
Committee on Jewish Law and
Standards at New York's Jewish
Theological Seminary of America,
which had been scheduled before the
question of reconsidering the attitude
toward homosexuality had arisen, did
not include discussion of the issue.
However, Keshet, a student gay
rights group at JTS, organized a day-
long teach-in, "7:se tnemad• Come
Out and Learn," timed to coincide
with the law committee session.
The teach-in included talks by lead-
ing movement officials like Rabbi
Dorff and gay rights leaders such as
David Bianco, along with a showing
of the film Trembling Before God,
about gay and lesbian Orthodox Jews.
At the same time, Dror Yikra, a sim-
ilar group at the movement's West
Coast seminary, also was set to hold
sessions about the controversy.
Keshet's chairperson, Jeremy Gordon,
a fourth-year rabbinical student, said he
also would circulate an online petition
addressed to the movement generally
and the law committee specifically in
support of gay rights. The petition sup-
ports same-sex "commitment cere-
monies," urges the admission of gay,
lesbian and bisexual members into the
movement's rabbinical and cantorial
unions, and calls for opening "all lay
and professional leadership positions"
in the movement to gays and lesbians,
among other declarations.
The seminary's chancellor, Rabbi
Ismar Schorsch, who has opposed
changing the gay ban, has declined to
discuss the issue so far.
"I look forward to learning more
from my fellow Jews about this issue,"
Rabbi Nevins said. "I also fear that the
strident voices on the left and the
right will drown out compassionate
and carefully reasoned approaches that
have the best chance at drawing
together the Jewish people.
"As a member of the (committee), I
am committed to working for an open
and substantive process that will give
dignity to an often excluded and
oppressed minority within a minority,
but which will also work within the
parameters of Jewish law." ❑

Staff Writer Shelli Liebman Dorfman
contributed to this story.

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