Rabbinical Assembly

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The Rabbinical Assembly (RA) is the international association of Conservative rabbis. The RA was founded in 1901 to shape the ideology, programs, and practices of the Conservative movement. It publishes prayerbooks and books of Jewish interest, and oversees the work of the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards for the Conservative movement. It organizes conferences and coordinates the Joint Placement Commission of the Conservative movement. Members of the RA serve as rabbis, educators, community workers and military and hospital chaplains around the world. [1]

Rabbis ordained by Jewish Theological Seminary of America, the American Jewish University (California), The Seminario Rabínico Latinoamericano (Buenos Aires, Argentina) and The Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies (Jerusalem, Israel) automatically become members of the RA upon their ordination. Rabbis whose ordination is from other seminaries and Yeshivas may also admitted to the RA. As of 2010, there were 1,648 members of the RA.[2]

The majority of RA members serve in the United States and Canada, while more than ten percent of its rabbis serve in Israel and many of its rabbis serve in Latin America, in the countries of Europe, Australia and South Africa.[3] RA members converse online via Ravnet and in person at annual RA conventions.

Contents

History

The Rabbinical Assembly was founded in 1901 as the Alumni Association of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America (JTS). Henry M. Speaker served as the first president. In 1918, the assocation changed its name to the Rabbinical Assembly, opening itself up to rabbis ordained at institutions other than JTS.[4]

The longest-serving president of the Rabbinical Assembly was Wolfe Kelman, who accepted the post in 1951 and continued in the post until 1989.

In 1985, the RA admitted its first female member, Amy Eilberg, the first female ordainee at JTS. It immediately proceeded to admit Rabbis Jan Caryl Kaufman and Beverly Magidson, who had been ordained at Hebrew Union College. By 2010, 273 of the 1648 members of the Rabbinical Assembly were women.[5]

In 1989, upon Wolfe Kelman's retirement, Joel H. Meyers became executive director of the RA. In 1991, Meyers was appointed executive vice president, and he served in this role until his retirement in 2008.

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