by Rabbi Bruce Ginsburg
In this article published in the New Jersey Jewish Standard, Rabbis Ronald Price and Bruce Ginsburg discuss Rabbi Neil Gillman’s declaration that the Conservative movement is no longer a halakhic movement.
Our well-known opposition to the seminary’s 1983 decision to ordain women as rabbis was hardly a function of misogyny. It emerged from our prescient concern that the cavalier treatment of the halachic process in that case would foreshadow a wholesale abandonment of the rabbinic legal tradition later. Our fears have been validated time and again by attempts to put patrilineal descent on the Conservative agenda, the publication of halachically problematic liturgy, and the acceptance of non-marital sexual relations as holy. Even former proponents of some of the above departures have been prompted to rethink their underlying positions in light of the movement’s current debate over ordaining homosexuals as rabbis and officiating at same-sex commitment ceremonies. . . .
As individuals who both fondly recall the great teachers with whom we studied at the seminary and who invested time, energy, and substance there and in other Conservative institutions, we hardly find satisfaction in this most recent confirmation of the warnings we issued years ago. But, along with the others who established the Union for Traditional Judaism and its mission to bear the torch for the open-minded halachic community, we do take comfort in the choices we have made.