“Reproductive rights are a conservative Jewish value” say 100 rabbis gathered in Saint-Louis

By Bill Motchan, Special for Jewish Light

Almost 100 conservative rabbis gathered in the shadows from the St. Louis County Government Center on Wednesday, November 9 in support of women’s reproductive rights. The clergy took time from the last day of the Rabbinical assembly conference, held at the Ritz-Carlton St. Louis. The event was organized to speak on behalf of women in a state where abortion is banned, according to conference chairman Rabbi Noah Arnow of Kol Rinah.

“There are a lot of things that we as a movement debate and disagree on,” Arnow said. “But when it comes to reproductive rights, I think we’re pretty clear that it’s a Jewish value, a conservative Jewish value. Not only do we have something to say, but also the need to be heard, and especially if we are going to be in a place where reproductive rights are severely restricted.

Rabbi Harold Kravitz, president of the Rabbinical Assembly, led the way.

Rabbi Harold Kravitz
Rabbinical Assembly Women’s Reproductive Rights Event

“We would like to express our concern at the severe restrictions on reproductive rights that have been enacted. Our congregation has always advocated for safe and legal abortion,” said Kravitz, chief rabbi of Congregation Adath Jeshurun ​​in Minnetonka, Minnesota.


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Amy Kuo Hammerman, chair of state policy advocacy for the National Council of Jewish Women in St. Louis, also spoke out on behalf of reproductive rights.

“I am a lifelong abortion activist and a proud Jewish woman,” Hammerman said. “Abortion is illegal in Missouri. It is medically, psychologically, and spiritually dangerous. It infringes on our religious freedom – please pray for us.

During the event, Rabbi Pamela Barmash provided background related to abortion rights and Jewish values.

“In the United States, the pendulum has swung toward abortion restriction, toward abortion rights, and toward restrictions,” said Barmash, professor of Hebrew Bible and Biblical Hebrew at the University of Washington. . “We in the Jewish community have remained true to our ethical and religious principles. Jewish tradition values ​​life above almost everything. Rabbis of all denominations have maintained and maintain a lenient attitude towards abortion when the life of the mother is threatened, or if a pregnancy has occurred due to rape or when the child is going to die shortly after birth. .

Jewish law allows both surgical and medical abortion, Barmash said. “In a multicultural society, we are looking for a way to follow our traditions and our nuanced views on abortion. In a multicultural society, the views of multiple religions should be respected and pregnant women should have the right to follow their own conscious and religious traditions without restricting the right of others to follow their conscious and religious traditions.

Rabbi Aaron Brusso, secretary of the Rabbinical Assembly, also spoke at the event, who spoke about the danger of judging others without understanding their situation.

Rabbi Aaron Brusso at the Women’s Reproductive Rights Assembly

“Fetal anomalies, obstetrical emergencies, maternal life and physical health, maternal mental health – despite the impression some of us may have, it is essential to note that these are perilous decisions,” Brusso said. , Senior Rabbi at Bet Torah in Mt. Kisco, NY “It comes with heartache, it comes with lost dreams. We trust women to take responsibility for their own lives. These situations are painful enough on their own without substituting our judgment for theirs. We trust women to take moral responsibility for their own bodies.

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