Ismar Schorsch, the Chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary has announced that he will retire next year. The search for a new chancellor will now begin. It's an important post. This person will set many of the interpretations of Jewish practice and rituals in the Conservative Movement.
I affiliate myself with Conservative Judaism, and am lucky to be part of a community that, I believe, embraces the best that the movement has to offer. But there are aspects of the movement's official stands--against gay & lesbians in the clergy, the second-class treatment of inter-married jews--that I find hurtful and unecessary. And it is amazing to me that the movement still condones congregations who do not allow women equal participation with men.
The choice of the next Chancellor will say alot about where the Conservative movement is going. I can only hope that in the months ahead, those who are choosing listen and see what it going on around them. One voice that needs to be listened to is Rabbi Judith Hauptman, Professor of Talmud and Rabbinic Culture at the Jewish Theological Seminary. Read her article, "The Challenge Facing Conservative Movement" in today's Jewish Week.