Having recognized gay rights with their 2006 acceptance of gay unions, Conservative rabbis are now wrestling with the issue of gay rites, according to an article written for The Jewish Daily Forward.
“The recent efforts of three leading rabbis to construct a kosher wedding ceremony for same-sex couples hews closely to the traditional Jewish heterosexual ceremony, in an effort, they say, to ensure that same-sex couples suffer no inequality in the sacred standards governing their vows. But these efforts, ironically, are now drawing criticism from some activists for replicating aspects of the Jewish wedding rite that they consider sexist.”
“In a way it’s a shame, there is an opportunity for a less problematic, more contemporary liturgy,” said Jay Michaelson, founding director of Nehirim, a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Jewish group. What’s more important than parity between same-sex and heterosexual ceremonies, critics say, is equality between partners. While traditional Jewish marital rites — or kiddushin — describe the man as the owner of his wife, some gay and lesbian Jews say they want to avoid this hierarchical language in favor of an egalitarian template.”
This is an important debate which will probably draw attention to the sexist nature of liturgy and in Judaism in general and is it not interesting that marriage equality serves as the catalyst for what may ultimately involve correction, or at the very least profound discourse?
The Reform Congregations have altered prayer and texts to equate the sexes; the conservative movement is not as dogmatic as Jewish Orthodox – the outcome will be interesting.
Embracing equality ought not impact religious freedoms where specific denominations have the absolute right to rule upon their rites!
by Melanie Nathan.