Conservative Jews Reconsider Questions of Gays, Interfaith Marriages

July 1, 2005

Source: The Forward

On July 1, 2005 The Forward reported, "In recent days, more than 90 Conservative rabbis have signed their names to the Web site of a new group that pledges to fight against 'all religious and organizational limitations' that the movement places on gay and lesbians, including the ban on same-sex unions and the ordination of openly gay rabbis or cantors... The current protocols for dealing with gays and lesbians and with non-Jewish spouses were established during the 1980s and early '90s, when movement leaders focused on establishing clear boundaries separating the Conservative movement and the more liberal Reform movement. The strategy was to 'hold the line, to set boundaries,' said Rabbi Charles Simon, executive director of the Federation of Jewish Men's Clubs... 'That was a mistake. Those efforts failed.' The Conservative movement has plunged from claiming more than 40% of American Jewish households in 1990 to 33% by 2000, according to the National Jewish Population Survey 2000-01, conducted by United Jewish Communities. Over the same period, both the Reform and Orthodox movements surged in popularity."