Israeli Conservative Movement Approves Ordination of Gay Rabbis

In a dramatic 18-0 vote with one abstention, the Israel's Masorti (Conservative) Movement voted to approve the ordination of gay rabbis, Haaretz reports:

BalterThe Schechter Rabbinical Seminary, affiliated with the movement, will admit gay and lesbian students for training as spiritual leaders as of the upcoming school year.

In doing so the Israeli Conservative Movement is joining the American branch of the movement, whose rabbinical seminaries have been admitting gay students for some years.

The question whether or not to ordain gay and lesbian rabbis has been rattling the Conservative Movement in Israel and the U.S. for the past decade. Unlike the Reform movement that took to the question with ease, deciding firmly on the acceptance of gay rabbis. The Conservative Movement, whose rabbis see themselves bound to Jewish law, has been caught up in heated debate over the subject.

Said Rabbi Mauricio Balter (pictured): "I see it as 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. I always said we should admit gay and lesbians into our ranks."