Across the country, gay couples are fighting for the same marriage rights as straight couples. But in the Conservative Jewish movement, heterosexual couples may soon clamor for the kind of partnerships now reserved only for lesbians and gays.
I must admit that the New York Post was not the first place that came to my mind when thinking of where the issue of how the Conservative movement’s new gay wedding ceremonies are more egalitarian than their heterosexual ones, might be covered. (It was covered by the Forward, and Jewschool). But the Merav Gaslin of the Post called to interviewed me so that shows how much I know about that.
Gaslin covers all the background issues and gets to the crux of the matter.
Not only is the current Conservative Kettubah text not egalitarian in terms of Kiddushin (discussed by the New York Post and Forward articles and BZ’s writings), it still refers to the woman as betulah (a virgin) and has only the man’s obligations towards the woman in terms of feeding, clothing and providing for and has non-parallel titles/ uses of bride/groom to refer to the participants.
Another problem with the texts offered by many Kettubah sites and proposed by many Conservative rabbis is that they suffer from the sin of lying through translation ( see Silverman prayer-book) in that they offer a very tradition Aramaic/Hebrew text alongside an egalitarian statement of mutual caring etc. in English. For example, Kettubah.com calls having the Liberman clause ‘egalitarian’ and admits that the English is not a translation.
Given the current state of things, and the historic small ‘c’ conservativeness of the Conservative movement, I think it will be awhile before any standard text they put out is as egalitarian as our imperfect 1996 attempt.