Queer rabbis Becca Walker (left) and Ariella Rosen (right).(YouTube/ Women’s League for Conservative Judaism)
Two queer, female Conservative rabbis have tied the knot, in a historic first for the Conservative Judaism movement.
Conservative Judaism is the second-largest denomination of Jewish people in North America, and over the last two decades it has become increasingly inclusive of LGBT+ folk.
Rabbis Becca Walker, 33, and Ariella Rosen, 35, met at a Rabbinical Assembly retreat in Connecticut in May 2018 for female rabbis starting out in their careers, according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, and instantly realised they had a connection.
Walker moved to Toronto, Canada, and they began dating long-distance, but when the pandemic hit, they moved in with Rosen’s family.
Realising they didn’t want to be apart again, they decided to get legally married so that Walker could join Rosen in Toronto, and to hold their wedding at a later date. More than a year later, they were finally able to do just that.
On 24 October, at a Jewish summer camp, Walker and Rosen got married in front of family and friends, including 19 other rabbis.
They were married by another queer female rabbi, Megan GoldMarche, with some blessings adjusted to say “bride and bride”, and with both women breaking a glass. During their ring exchange, they swapped the tradition language for a “brit ahuvot,” or covenant of love.
Rosen said: “It was a privilege that we carry, that others before us had already done the important work of creating a framework that felt meaningful for us, and viable for who we are.”
— Rabbinical Assembly (@RabbiAssembly) November 5, 2021
Rabbi Ashira Konigsburg, the chief operating officer of the Conservative Judaism movement’s Rabbinical Assembly, said the assembly did not know of any other case of two Conservative rabbis marrying in a same-sex wedding.
While Walker said that their wedding “shouldn’t be groundbreaking”, she added: “I’m happy to have more people see this, as it makes people feel there’s a place for them, too.”
Conservative Judaism approved same-sex weddings before they were legal across America
According to Human Rights Campaign, in 2006, the the Rabbinical Assembly’s Committee on Jewish Law and Standards (CJLS) endorsed the ordination of openly LGBT+ rabbis.
The movement approved same-sex marriage ceremonies in 2012, when same-sex marriage was legalised across the US in 2013, the Rabbinical Assembly declared in a statement: “Judaism views marriage as a sacred responsibility, not only between the partners, but also between the couple and the larger community.
“Our movement recognises and celebrates marriages, whether between partners of the same sex or the opposite sex. We therefore celebrate today’s decisions on gay marriage by the Supreme Court.”
In 2016, the Rabbinical Assembly passed a resolution, “Affirming the Rights of Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming People”, affirms its “commitment to the full welcome, acceptance, and inclusion of people of all gender identities in Jewish life and general society”.