Ethics and Community

While the established policy of the Reform movement has long been to ordain and employ in its congregations openly gay and lesbian persons as both rabbis and cantors, the status of homosexuals as religious leaders currently remains a matter of heated dispute within the Conservative movement. While the Conservative Jewish Theological Seminary of America decided, in 2007, to ordain openly gay rabbis and cantors, the movement's synagogue council, the United Synagogues of America, has not enforced an equal employment policy with regard to gay clergy. Each congregation remains free to establish its own standards regarding the hiring of gay rabbis and cantors.

Orthodox Judaism, following the Levitical laws that unambiguously prohibit male homosexual relations and depict them as an "abomination," adamantly refuses to grant ordination to homosexuals or to employ openly gay clergy. 

Study Questions:
1.     How does time play a role in deciding the participation of women within the Jewish tradition?
2.     How do gender roles continue to influence segregation in Jewish worship?
3.     Describe the process of divorce within the Jewish community. Why might it seem one-sided?
4.     How is sexuality celebrated within Judaism?
5.     Are homosexuals welcomed within Jewish leadership? Explain.

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