7 rabbis quit Reconstructionist movement over non-Jewish partners policy

Marcy Oster

(JTA) — Seven rabbis have quit the Reconstructionist movement in the wake of an announced policy that allows rabbis to marry non-Jewish partners.

Several synagogues are also discussing potential responses to the new policy, the Forward reported over the weekend.

The policy was announced in September after the faculty of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College voted that having a non-Jewish partner would no longer bar qualified applicants from admission to the rabbinical college or from graduating as rabbis.

According to the Forward, one of the seven rabbis who has withdrawn from the movement is Rabbi Reba Carmel, who serves at a nondenominational synagogue in Warrington, Pennsylvania. She told the Forward that the policy allowing intermarried rabbis is “detrimental to the Jewish people in America.”


Carmel, a 2009 graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, said she was concerned that “ultimately we will be assimilated out of existence.”

Meanwhile, four rabbis who were ordained by Jewish seminaries of other movements have requested to join the Reconstructionist movement since the policy was announced, Rabbi Elyse Wechterman, executive director of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, told the Forward.

The Kol Haneshama synagogue in Sarasota, Florida, is openly considering leaving the movement, according to the Forward. Other synagogues discussing the new policy, the Forward reported, include the West End Synagogue in Manhattan and Bet Am Shalom in White Plains, New York.