The Jewish Theological Seminary (J.T.S.) announced on March 26, 2007 that it will begin accepting openly gay and lesbian candidates into its rabbinical and cantorial schools, and extend application deadlines to allow for prospective students impacted by the decision.
The announcement comes on the heels of the decisions expressed in December by the Conservative movement's Committee on Jewish Law and Standards (C.J.L.S.), ending their movement’s ban on ordaining openly gay and lesbian rabbis and on sanctioning same-sex unions. Those teshuvot (rabbinic opinions) gave individual Conservative congregations and academic institutions the theological latitude to stake out their own positions.
The first Conservative rabbincal school to open its doors to gay and lesbian students following the C.J.L.S. vote was the Zeigler School of Rabbinic Studies at the University of Judaism in Los Angeles, CA.
In a letter to the J.T.S. community announcing the decision, chancellor-elect Arnold M. Eisen said “The decision to ordain gay and lesbian clergy at J.T.S. is in keeping with the longstanding commitment of the Jewish tradition to pluralism. Pluralism means that we recognize more than one way to be a good Conservative Jew, more than one way of walking authentically in the path of our tradition and of carrying that tradition forward.”
In 1984, the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College became the first rabbinical seminary to accept gay and lesbian students and was the first to endorse the ordination of gay and lesbian rabbis. This was six years earlier than the Reform movement.