Wednesday, March 08, 2006

You can't do shit by riding the fence.

Cowardly. Craven. Spineless. Gutless. Weak.

In a dereliction of duty that would've made Olympia Snowe and Chuck Hagel proud, the Conservative movement's "College of Cardinals, except without the smoke" (props to BZ) concluded its meeting in Maryland with a meek whimper.

The Committee on Jewish Law and Standards, after several years of debating, decided whether or not people who happened to be gay could be full members of the Conservative Jewish world by marrying their partners or serving their community as clergy. They decided.

They decided, emphatically and without hesitation, to wait 9 more months. At least.

While the Conservative movement's ranks slowly slip away, you can watch a parade of incredibly dynamic, brilliant, talented and committed people walk away from the Conservative movement over this issue. And while the Committee prolongs their day of judgement as long as they can, they duck their responsibility to lead the Conservative community.

This situation is emblematic of the non-responsiveness of the "movements" of Judaism. They want to know why we're forming our own minyanim? They want to know why we're going to independent shuls and havurot? Look real close:

Shma mina. Your inability to take a stand on such an important issue renders you ineffective moral leaders. In spite of the belief that we are all created in G-d's image, you have created second class citizens, and that does not fly. Agree with me, or don't, but failing to resolve this discriminatory matter while people's way of life hangs in the balance does you, me, the Conservative movement, and the Jewish People, a grave disservice. If you want the LGBT community and people of conscience to be a part of the Conservative movement, good. If you feel you must affirm the ban and maintain segregation, that's your decision to make. But stop jerking people around. If you tell us we don't have a place in your house, we get it. If you tell us you want us in, that's great. But telling us to just wait a little longer, no, I'm sorry, that ship has sailed, it's time to make a call. At least have the guts to affirm that you believe in this segregation, don't continue it by default.

Addressing your woeful inaction on this, and other, issues will do a lot more to affect your downturn than jews + jews = more jews programming. Shma mina.

Maybe I'm this angry because I used to consider myself a Conservative Jew and expect much better than this. To quote my man Boots Riley, "Take a look around and be for or against, but you can't do shit by riding the fence."

I may not have smicha, but you still don't get to piss on my back and tell me its raining.

UPDATE: Apparently, I'm not the only person to feel this way. Some of the clergy of Congregation Beth Simchat Torah, a wonderful LGBT friendly open shul in Manhattan, had this to add:

"This is an act of despicable cowardice. The silence is deafening. For too long the Conservative Movement has said to us as GLBT rabbis and laypeople – you are not welcome to be our rabbis, you are not welcome to be in our Movement as a family. This is bigotry in the name of religion. As a lesbian rabbi who could not go to JTS because of their anti-gay position, I say, enough is enough. Stand up for the full equality of gay and lesbian people in Judaism.”
Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum, Senior Rabbi

"As a Conservative Rabbi, I am deeply grieved by this failure to come to a decision that affirms gay and lesbian people as equal human beings. Right now, the policy of the Conservative Movement allows for discrimination against gay and lesbian people. I reject that policy – The current position is immoral. It does not reflect what I consider to be just and Jewish. I believe that halachah is dynamic enough to accommodate this change. I call upon my colleagues to affirm the right of gay and lesbians to serve as rabbis and cantors and to officiate at weddings for same-sex Jewish couples under the chuppah."
Rabbi Ayelet Cohen, Associate Rabbi


Post a Comment

<< Home