Sunday, April 09, 2006

New Chancellor at JTS

According to the NY Times, JTS will announce that the search committee has voted on the new Chancellor for JTS; Dr. Arnold Eisen. It's a very odd choice, a) he's not a Rabbi b) he was picked over a few very qualified people c) I'm not sure he's had any official contact with JTS before.

Dr. Eisen, once he's confirmed, among his many duties is to pick the mara d'atra of JTS; meaning he will have an enormous influence on the upcoming CJLS rulings on allowing homosexual candidates into Rabbinical School. [Which I've blogged about before, here and here.]

Just like to point a few things out:
Dr. Eisen, a professor of Jewish culture and religion, did not return calls to his home and office yesterday, and officials at the seminary, which is in Morningside Heights, declined to say anything about the selection, which would still need to be confirmed by the seminary's board.
Gee, Friday afternoon. Might he be getting ready for Shabbos?
Rabbi Gordon Tucker of Temple Israel Center in White Plains, N.Y., who was widely believed to be another candidate for the position, has been outspoken on lifting prohibitions on homosexuality.
On a side note; Tucker's tshuva allowing Homosexuals into Rabbinical School (again not accepted, just his opinion) has been read by his students at JTS. According to my info, he's very upset that the CJLS has voted to make this upcoming vote a takana and not a tshuva. The practical difference is the number of votes needed to be passed.

The CJLS is a 25 member committee, which means that a tshuva to become the majority opinion needs 13 votes to pass, yet 20 votes to be revoked from majority status (I'm not positive if this has ever happened). A takana, which has never happened before, would need 20 votes to even pass; removing the ability for an opinion to even be awarded minority status. Tucker is upset because he knows his tshuva will never receive the necessary 20 votes; he was counting on it becoming a minority view (which according to CJLS bylaws can be put into practice; see the tshuva on driving on shabbos).

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