Regarding the Status of Gays In the Conservative Movement


The following Letter-to-the Editor appeared in the    January 12, 2007 edition of The New York Jewish Week

The contradictory resolutions of the Law Committee of the Rabbinical Assembly regarding the status of gays certainly leave most Conservative Jews with something to agree or disagree with.

The resolutions that suggest that homosexuality is wrong and that sodomy in particular remains prohibited seem reactionary at best.  Such views are out of step with contemporary perspectives in psychology that reject the idea that homosexuality is symptomatic of developmental dysfunction. With all due respect for the role of the Law Committee, this gay Jew is troubled by the idea of a group of assumingly straight theologians daring to define how I may love my life partner in private. Shall we review the not too short list of Biblical injunctions that have been relegated to the bin of “no longer reasonable, feasible or practical?”

On the other hand, the decision to approve of the ordination of gays is reassuring in that it acknowledges the capacity of gay men and women fulfill the sacred role of being a preacher and teacher in the House of Israel. And it is certainly exciting to know that two gay Jews who have made a lifetime commitment to one another can now enjoy the privilege of celebrating their loving relationship with their friends, family and community through commitment ceremonies.

No significant changes in social roles have taken place without the cries of traditionalists about the undermining of faith and society. In spite of the cognitive dissonance such changes may inflict on a few, the widening of the proverbial gates of society to be more inclusive of those who have been marginalized out of fear and ignorance has yet to result in the dissolution of our maturing civilization.

Mitchell S. Gilbert


About Mitchell S. Gilbert

Mitch Gilbert is a social worker, writer, and religious educator. A native of Brooklyn, New York, he has done community development work in Washington DC, Cleveland, Akron, Vancouver, San Francisco, and Las Vegas. Mitch earned a BA at Brooklyn College (CUNY), a Master of Science in Social Administration degree from Case Western Reserve University. In addition, Mitch has done graduate studies in Jewish tradition, history, and culture at New York University and the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. Mitch serves as a volunteer Jewish chaplain in a state prison and a senior adult residential community. In addition to writing/blogging, he an avid volunteer and political activist.
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