Next week’s big meeting of Conservative rabbinic scholars to take on the question of homosexuality will take place at NYC’s historic Park Avenue Synagogue on the East Side.
A press conference has already been called for 3 p.m. on Wednesday, when the results will be announced.
The 25 members of the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards will meet Tuesday and Wednesday. They are now scheduled to hear five position papers on what is clearly one of the most controversial questions in the religious world today.
The group can approve one paper, none or more than one. It takes six votes to give a position the group’s stamp.
Currently, the Conservative movement does not allow the ordination of gays and lesbians and its rabbis do not bless same-sex relationships. In 1992, the committee upheld the traditional injunction against gay sex.
The committee is an advisory group. It takes positions that its members believe adhere to a Conservative interpretation of Jewish law and tradition.
But individual synagogues and pulpit rabbis are free to interpret Jewish law differently and not follow the group’s advise.
Still, there is no getting around the importance of the committee’s decision(s), which will become part of Conservative Judaism’s identity.
The papers under consideration will be released after the meeting breaks up. No doubt, they will be poured over for some time.
Again, the Conservative movement’s Jewish Theological Seminary in NYC offers a real good “primer”:http://www.jtsa.edu/cjls/index.shtml on the gay debate.