Gay? Okay!
Apparently uncontroversially. And uninterestingly.

I love my shul but sometimes it drives me up the wall.

For instance, a recent letter (signed by the Chair, the President, and the rabbi) informs us of some recent deliberations of our Ritual Committee, which discussed "how [the recent] decisions of the CJLS [regarding homosexuality] would affect our membership criteria; and second [. . .] whether or not we would recognize and celebrate gay and lesbian relationships." The conclusions, unsurprisingly, are that "two adult Jews who are members of the same household may enjoy a joint membership" and that "we should publicly acknowledge same sex relationships in the ways we currently acknowledge married couples. This change would mean that a gay or lesbian couple could hold a commitment ceremony in our synagogue and be called to the Torah together in celebration of an anniversary." It is also unsurprising that "both recommendations were overwhelmingly endorsed" by the shul's governing bodies.

I agree with all this! This is all good, for reasons I think I've outlined before on this blog and which scholars have defended in the relevant teshuvot: in short, homosexuality is not immoral, halachah and morality should reinforce each other despite significant but temporary contradictions; and, just as the prohibitions in the Torah have been continually re-understood throughout the generations, our generation is bound to do the same. What drives me nuts is that none of these plausible reasons - no reasons at all! - are stated in the letter. Sure, our rabbi spoke about these issues from the pulpit, but now, when actual decisions bearing on peoples' lives have been made in our shul, would be the perfect time for a full-throated (re)statement of the principles our shul finds applicable in this situation - or, at the very least, why these recommendations were "overwhelmingly endorsed." What is it about gay and lesbian commitment which put it onto our shul's agenda? Do we think not recognizing such unions is a moral wrong? Then say it! Put some bite into the "overwhelming endorsement"!

I wonder if the way this decision might have been made in our own shul (I don't really know how it was made, since I wasn't at the meetings; I'm just speculating) might reflect how it might be made in the Conservative movement at large. There are two possibilities that come to mind. One is that the majority of Conservative Jews (who care about such matters at all) have already made their own intuitive halachic decision. Puk chazei: go and see what the people are doing, and what they are doing is failing to endorse the putative immorality of homosexuality or the eternal validity of toevahschaft. Second is that people don't really care; this halachah is something which was ignored, or taken for granted to be invalid in any case.

I much prefer the first option. In that case, I would welcome (again) an endorsement by our shul's leadership, that this change was taken for positive, halachic-affirming reasons and not merely as a drift down the stream of inertia.

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