I appreciate Rabbi Grossman’s defense of the practice of taking multiple and potentially contradictory positions. Jewish tradition is based on the principle of eilu v’eilu–that conflicting positions each have standing and integrity in their own right, provided that the argument at hand is made for the sake of heaven. In fact, this is the core principle behind our endeavor here at Virtual Talmud.
So why does the Law Committee’s action leave me cold? Perhaps because I feel it was less a matter of principled disagreement than it was the refusal to take a stance on an important issue–one that has implications for an entire class of people and their legitimacy in a segment of the Jewish community. JTS Chancellor Eisen’s survey to find out the views of rabbis and laypeople across the Conservative movement on the subject of inclusivity simply reinforces the perception–rightly or wrongly–that this decision is about expediency, not principle. And when expediency is the basis of intolerance and exclusion, we all lose.