Conservative Rabbis Explain Themselves

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This week’s Jewish Week has two letters from rabbis on the Conservative movement’s Law Committee, explaining their recent votes on homosexuality.

Rabbi Adam Kligfeld who voted for both the Roth “anti” responsum and the Dorff-Reisner-Nevins “pro” responsum had this to say:

I did indeed vote for both the Roth and Dorff/Nevins/Reisner papers, which do indeed contradict one another, because “it was important for me that change happen as a result of a majority of the committee.”

Deeper than that, my double vote reflected not only the robust pluralism of the Conservative movement and the Law Committee itself, but also the very real pluralism of my own neshama. I take very seriously the Talmudic idea that two conflicting opinions can, simultaneously, have halachic legitimacy.

Meanwhile, Rabbi Leonard Levy tried to explain his take on reparative therapy:

Homosexuality is not a uniform phenomenon; there are wide variations in the possible causes and manifestations of same-sex attraction and behavior…

My responsum on the subject for the Conservative movement’s Committee on Jewish Law and Standards upholds the traditional prohibitions and outlines programs of public education and individual counseling to ensure that our people who feel same-sex attraction have access to accurate information and expert advice appropriate to each individual’s particular situation, while ensuring all a welcome place in our communities.

Posted on December 21, 2006

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