AUSTRALIA’S PROGRESSIVE movement has adopted British guidelines for same-sex ceremonies, paving the way for the first gay Jewish “marriage”.
The Council of Progressive Rabbis of Australia, New Zealand and Asia agreed on the format at its biennial conference, held earlier this week in Tasmania.
Council chair Rabbi Jeffrey Kamins said the English model makes an important distinction between a commitment and a marriage ceremony.
“The distinction is also necessary for legal reasons, as it conforms with Australian law,” Rabbi Kamins said.
The guidelines were offered to the Progressive rabbis by Australian -born Rabbi Mark Solomon, who is part of Britain’s Liberal Judaism movement.
The Australian council agreed earlier this year to allow — but not en- force — its rabbis to conduct same-sex ceremonies.
Delegates from Hong Kong, Singapore and New Zealand attended the conference in Hobart, the capital of the island, which has a tiny Jewish population of about 100 and the oldest Australian synagogue in use.
Orthodox and Progressive Jews share facilities at Hobart Hebrew Congregation— a rare cooperation that also exists in the tiny Canberra community.