Florida Synagogue Leaves Reconstructionism in Protest of Intermarried Rabbis

After the decision to allow intermarried rabbis was announced in September, seven rabbis have quit the movement, while four from other streams have joined.

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A Florida synagogue is ending its affiliation with the Reconstructionist movement in protest of the movement’s recent decision to allow intermarried rabbis, the Forward reported Wednesday.

The members of Kol Haneshamah synagogue in Sarasota, Florida, voted 63-to-35 to leave the movement and become an independent congregation.

“Our hope is that the KH community is able to return to the wonderful place that it was at six or seven months ago,” a synagogue member who supports the move told the Forward.

An unnamed synagogue member told the Forward that in addition to disagreeing on intermarried rabbis, some members of the congregation were also upset that a number of Reconstructionist rabbis are involved in Jewish Voice for Peace, a group that supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel. One such rabbi, Brant Rosen, quit his pulpit position at the Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation in Evanston, Illinois, in 2014, saying his criticism of Israel had made the congregation “more divisive.”

Earlier this month, seven rabbis quit the Reconstructionist movement because of the intermarriage policy. Reconstructionist leaders say that at least four rabbis from other streams of Judaism joined the movement as a result of the new policy.

The decision to allow intermarried rabbis was announced in September. Neither the Reform movement nor the Conservative movement will ordain Jews who are dating or married to gentiles.