Conservative leader expects end to gay rabbi ban

A key Conservative Jewish leader is traveling the US to prepare synagogues for a potentially divisive change, it was reported on Sunday: The movement will roll back its ban on ordaining openly gay rabbis by year's end, he predicts, with confusion and discomfort to follow. Rabbi Jerome Epstein, executive vice president of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, says a committee of scholars who interpret Jewish law for the movement will likely loosen the prohibition when they vote in December. At the same time, Epstein expects the scholars will endorse a policy aiming to keep more traditional congregations within the fold. The panel will effectively allow synagogues that believe that Jewish law bars same-sex relationships to hire only heterosexual rabbis. Epstein and his colleagues, following presentations in Toronto and New York last month, plan to speak in Atlanta, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C..