By Julie Schonfeld
Originally posted as a letter to the editor in The Forward
With regard to a December 2 Forward article, “Conservatives Grapple With Gay Wedding Rite,” we wish to clarify our position on the draft of a new ceremony for gay and lesbian couples in discussion before the Conservative movement’s Committee on Jewish Law and Standards. The drafting of these model ceremonies of commitment and separation, in addition to including several careful readings by committee members and other rabbis, also involved gay rabbinical students. As treasured members of our community they are most directly affected by the proposed new liturgy and we sought their guidance.
The committee took care to bring the full weight of tradition to bear in ensuring that these rituals convey their sacred purpose: the consecration of a “bayit neeman b’yisrael,” a true and faithful Jewish home, for same-sex couples seeking to build a Jewish home and family.
At the same time, they took care to distinguish the marriage ceremony from kiddushin, which Jewish tradition explicitly stipulates is intended for a union between a man and a woman... (continue reading on The Forward)