Rabbinical Manual Adds Postabortion Ritual

Article excerpt

A revised manual for Judaism's Conservative rabbis was released October 20, including the movement's first-ever postabortion grieving ritual and other contemporary touches. The updated Rabbi's Manual, the movement's first in 33 years, is designed to help rabbis meet congregants' needs.

"Today the world looks very different," said Rabbi Perry Rank of Springfield, New Jersey, who coedited the manual. "We have new approaches to life-cycle events, a new vocabulary and a broader understanding of religious ritual." The manual was published by the New York-based Rabbinical Assembly, the umbrella organization for some 1,400 Conservative rabbis in the U.S., Canada, Israel and elsewhere.

Conservative Judaism, which claims the allegiance of about 1.5-million American Jews, is the faith's middle-of-the-road denomination, poised between Orthodox Judaism to its fight and Reform and Reconstructionist Judaism to its left. Rabbis within the latter two movements have also created postabortion rituals--as well as others for miscarriages and stillbirths--that have been widely circulated, although as yet unpublished in official denomination literature. …