The CJLS met last week on Tuesday and Wednesday at JTS in New York. During the meeting, the Committee approved four papers:
- “Military Cemeteries and Military Funerals” by Pamela Barmash, asks if Jews may be buried in a multi-denominational military cemetery, and if military funeral rituals may be conducted in a Jewish cemetery. She refers to the history of Jews serving in militaries in a variety of countries, and explores the considerations and options that rabbis and veterans and their families should be aware of with regards to burial which honors a person’s military service. She concludes that military funeral rituals may be performed in a Jewish cemetery, and that burial in a multi-denominational military cemetery is permitted for Jewish service-members, veterans, and their spouses and minor children, as long as certain factors are taken into consideration. A number of rabbis wrote a concurrence to this teshuvah, which appears on the CJLS website.
- “Building at What Cost?” by David Hoffman, responds to a question initially asked by JTS in reference to their current Twentieth Century Building Project. They asked if a Jewish institution that has hired a non-Jewish contractor may allow the contractors and their non-Jewish laborers to work on Shabbat or Yom Tov. Hoffman examines a range of considerations and concludes that it is forbidden for a Jewish institution to contract a building company and allow it to build on Shabbat or Yom Tov by means of non-Jewish laborers. A number of rabbis wrote two concurrences and one dissent to this teshuvah, all of which appear on the CJLS website.
- “Addendum Regarding Special Shabbatot to ‘Hazak, Hazak in the Trienniel Cycle.’” In a previous teshuvah adopted by the CJLS by Elliot Dorff, he addresses what should be done in a synagogue that follows the triennial cycle and wants to say “Hazak” when concluding the section of a given book of the Torah that they will be reading that year during the first and second years of the triennial cycle. In this teshuvah he addresses how that should be done on a Shabbat when a second Torah is taken out of the ark for an additional reading (Shekalim, Parah, Ha-Hodesh, etc.) Dorff offers three possible options, which he describes in detail in the teshuvah.
- “Adoption” by Nate Crane, explores the halakhic status of people who have been adopted, including the parental and filial obligations involved, and he offers a Jewish ritual and accompanying documents to celebrate and mark adoption.
The CJLS also discussed the following drafts of papers:
- “With Righteousness and With Justice, With Goodness and With Mercy: Considering Options for (More) Egalitarian Marriage Within Halakhah” by Gail Labovitz
- “Nihum Aveilim on Festivals” by Daniel Greyber
- “A Thread of Blue” about Tekhelet by David Booth
- “Head Covering for Women and Girls” by Jane Kanarek
If you have any topics that you would like the CJLS to address, or if you have written a paper that you would like them to consider, please email CJLS@rabbinicalassembly.org. The CJLS votes each fall on which topics to consider, so to be in the next round of docketing, the question should be submitted before the end of September 2019.