Reconstructionists accept rabbinical applicants with non-Jewish partrners

Ron Kampeas

(JTA) — The Reconstructionist movement will accept rabbinical applicants who have non-Jewish partners.

A ban on such applicants, last reaffirmed in 2002, has been under review by the Reconstructionist Religious College since 2010, according to a release Wednesday from the college.

“Our deliberations, heavily influenced through consultation with alumni, congregations and students, have simultaneously led us to reaffirm that all rabbinical candidates must model commitment to Judaism in their communal, personal, and family lives,” Rabbi Deborah Wazman, the colege’s president, said in a statement by the college, situated in Wyncote, Pa. “We witness Jews with non-Jewish partners demonstrating these commitments every day in many Jewish communities.”

In a conference call with reporters, Waxman said that part of the impetus came from a number of students at the college, which graduates eight to ten rabbis a year, who partnered with non-Jews during their studies.

It was important for rabbis to model “openness and transparency and consistency in their lives” and also allow students to “bring their full lives to their training as rabbis.”

Additionally, Waxman said, the movement had lost out on superb applicants because of the ban.

“We have had to turn away wonderful students who would have made wonderful rabbis,” she said.

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