I’ll leave a fuller rant to BZ, since he’s so good at it, but will note with exasperation that respondents’s observance levels were ranked “very high, high, moderate, and low” depending on their answers to questions about their prayer, Shabbat, Tisha b’Av (?!), etc. ritual practices. As is typical, the questions about “observance” failed to ask anything about respondents’ tzedakah practices or any other mitzvah that is bein adam lachavero. Why do we persist in measuring observance (a bit of an absurd endeavor to begin with) solely by ritual practice? A mitzvah is a mitzvah. And it is no more or less quantifiable to ask about respondents’ charitable giving practices, for example, than about their observance of Tisha b’Av.
I also find the enormous gender gap fascinating: 60% of men surveyed were in favor of gay ordination vs. 86% of women).
More to come…
5,583 responses were received; 4,861 from invitees, and 722 who responded to a public access website.
Major findings include:
Large majority favors gay and lesbian rabbis and cantors:
* Rabbis are largely in favor (65% in favor to 28% opposed, with others unsure), as are the cantors by a similar margin (67% to 27%), while lay leaders split 68% to 22%.
* JTS students also favor admitting gay and lesbian rabbinical students: (58% to 32% for the rabbinical students; 58% to 21% for the cantorial students, and 70% to 21% for all other JTS students.
* Among Conservative educators, executive directors, and other professionals are in favor (76% to 16%), while lay leaders split 68% to 22%, and students, USY and others (largely public access respondents) divide 70% to 20%.
Substantial variation by country, gender, age, and observance. Support for gay ordination is:
* Higher in the US than Canada, Israel, or elsewhere in the world.
* Higher among women than among men.
* Higher among younger people than among older people (among those 25 and over).
* Higher among the less observant than among the more observant.
* Men divide on the issue of gay rabbis and cantors 60% in favor to 33% opposed.
* Women are more heavily pro-acceptance, by a margin of 86% to 10%.
The survey also found that large majorities of respondents are united on the centrality of halakhah to Conservative Judaism, support of women as clergy, and opposition to both patrilineal descent and rabbis officiating at mixed marriages. These areas provide the basis for shaping consensus and direction in the future.