Conservatives Waffle on Women

While the Conservative movement’s first-ever statement of principles, issued this March, notes the strides made in improving the status of women in the movement, it also acknowledges that many Conservative leaders “believe that women today can find religious fulfillment within the context of traditional practice.”

Women may now become Conservative rabbis and cantors, and also serve as presidents of their congregations and as officers and members of synagogue boards. In fact, the cantorial placement division for the United Synagogues of America, which represents the Conservative movement, began soliciting women cantors for permanent placement this February to “ease the critical shortage of cantors in the Conservative Movement.”

Yet the Cantors Assembly voted at its convention in May to deny membership to women. This group, the professional association for Conservative cantors, will not recruit women for jobs listed with it.