Culture, Religion, Sex & Gender

Revolt in Mexico City

This just in: At least one Rabbinical Assembly member has reported that the Conservative rabbis gathered this week in Mexico for their annual meeting have passed a resolution repealing the recent procedural changes that would have made it vastly more difficult for the movement to change its current policy on homosexuality. (The rabbis leading the effort to repeal the changes argue that they were made improperly, against the letter and spirit of the RA’s constitution.) Apparently the members have resolved that unless/until the heads of the RA put the matter to a vote of the entire organization, the original rule (requiring only six votes for a teshuva to pass) still stands. There’s still no news about this on JTA, AP, the Forward, or the RA’s PR page (surprise). We can only hope it’s true. Stay tuned.
UPDATE: Even with further input from RA sources, all we know for sure right now is that the resolution got enough signatures to ensure it will be discussed (and, I assume, voted on) during this convention. It’s still not appearing anywhere obvious in the media, but the text of the resolution is now posted in the members’ section of the RA’s website.

9 thoughts on “Revolt in Mexico City

  1. I can guarantee that the resolution was presented. My chevruta, Rabbi Barry Leff, wrote it, and I was one of the signers of the petition that requires 25 signers in order to present the resolution at the convention.
    I haven’t heard from anyone that the resolution passed, but I certailny hope so, as the procedural changes are completely ridiculous. I’ll keep you updated if i hear anything.

  2. From today’s “RA Update” circulated only to members:
    “[Rabbi] Joel Meyers [Exec VP] reviewed the history of the process and procedures of the CJLS [Committee on Jewish Law and tandards] and their relationship to the Executive Council, and CJLS chair [Rabbi] Kass Abelson spoke specifically about the recent meeting in Baltimore. After [Abelson] spoke, the floor was turned over to [Rabbi] Barry Leff, the author of resolution #13. After a period of discussion, a move was made to table the resolution. The motion to table carried. Then a motion was passed stating that the threshold to pass a Tekamah by the CJLS requires 13 votes of those present and voting at a CJLS meeting voting to overturn the 80% threshold for passing a takkanah set by the Executive Council.”

  3. Here is the complete text of Resolution #13 by Rabbi Leff:
    RESOLUTION ON VOTING PROCEDURES FOR THE COMMITTEE ON JEWISH LAW AND STANDARDS
    Whereas the Constitution of the Rabbinical Assembly in Article X, Section 3(e) states that “an opinion of the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards that obtains six votes in committee shall be considered an official position of the committee;” and
    Whereas the Executive Council of the Rabbinical Assembly has instituted a new category of opinion, a takanah, which calls for an 80% supermajority, which is a move away from the pluralistic approach which is a fundamental principle of the Conservative Movement; and
    Whereas the Executive Council, has further instituted a new procedure for the CJLS whereby a simple majority can decide that any individual opinion is a takanah, a procedure which can prevent a minority opinion from reaching a six-vote validation; and
    Whereas such changes appear to depart from both the letter and spirit of the Constitution of the Rabbinical Assembly, and should, therefore, be brought for the approval of the membership at large before being given effect;
    Therefore be it resolved that should the Executive Council or the CJLS itself wish to implement these policy changes, or any other changes to the voting procedures of the CJLS as stated in Article X section 3(e) of the Constitution, that the changes be brought to the membership at large to be voted on as an amendment to the Constitution, as outlined in Article XII of the Constitution;
    And be it further resolved that until such an amendment be enacted, the CJLS employ only the six vote threshold voting procedure stated in Article X section 3(e) of the Constitution of the Rabbinical Assembly,
    (written and submitted by Rabbi Barry Leff, 19 March 2006 with 40 signatures of support)

  4. # Stop the Gashmius Says:
    March 21st, 2006 at 7:37 pm
    “Anyone ever have success getting into Ravnet?”
    ————————————————————
    Don’t try it.

  5. FYI — The Rabbinical Assembly just passed a resolution at their Mexico City convention that CJLS decisions involving a “change in Takana” (I don’t have the exact language) will need thirteen votes from CJLS members.
    This is more than the six required for non-Takana(itic?) issues and less than the 80% requirement that had been passed by the RA Executive Committee.
    In other words, this is an overruling, by the RA membership, of the Executive Committee’s decision. The discussion in Mexico – just concluded – was quite passionate, I understand.

  6. I just got this RA Update.
    Notice some inconsistances with yesterday’s..
    ————————-
    There were two matters concerning the Law Committee which were discussed during the course of the convention. On Wednesday, as previously requested, the convention voted that to establish a takkanah, the CJLS would require thirteen positive votes instead of the 80% previously required. (The Committee has twenty-five voting members.)
    Today, at an early morning Executive Council meeting, a second Law Committee matter, left over from yesterday’s Convention business session, was also discussed. A motion was raised at the meeting to increase the number of votes within the Committee to declare a paper a takkanah (a legislative like decision) instead of a teshuvah. The Executive Council decided to maintain the current policy of a majority vote of those present at a CJLS meeting. The chairman of the CJLS was asked to review this policy with the Law Committee at its next meeting in June and report its deliberations and recommendations back to the Executive Council.
    As mandated in the RA Constitution, six votes remain the required number of votes necessary for a teshuvah to be considered a valid halakhic opinion of the CJLS.
    Kass Abelson, our CJLS chairman, reported to the convention that the CJLS was following its standard and usual procedures regarding the papers before it considering the subject of homosexuality. The papers are currently being revised and will go through a second committee reading with a vote anticipated in December.

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