Israeli Masorti movement agrees to ordain gay rabbis

By Zoe Winograd, April 20, 2012

Israel’s Masorti movement has agreed to ordain gay and lesbian rabbis.

The Israeli Conservative movement’s Schechter Rabbinical Seminary held a vote on Thursday to decide whether the institute would admit and ordain gay and lesbian students.

After years of debate on the matter, all but one of the 18 on the panel approved the proposal and one abstained. The seminary is the main Masorti rabbinical school in Israel.

This decision is a dramatic shift for the movement. The U.S counterpart of the Conservative seminary made the same resolution six years ago, but at this time Israel’s Masorti rejected the proposal.

Rabbi Mauricio Balter, president of the Israeli Conservative Movement Rabbinical Assembly, told Haaretz: “It is a very important development in Jewish law. It is the right thing to do.

“We were all made in the image of God, and as such we are all made equal. For me this is a very important value.”

The change will take effect at the start of the new academic year.

Last updated: 4:19pm, April 20 2012