In a kind of early April Fool's Day prank, the group Jewish Women Watching sent out a press release earlier this week making it appear that the Conservative movement intended to address gender inequality in the rabbinate:
Since the ordination of Amy Eilberg in 1985, women rabbis have been an integral stronghold of the Conservative movement as it progresses into the future. On the evening of Tuesday, March 29 at 6:30, JTS will present the Gerson D. Cohen Memorial Lecture, "A Movement Transformed: Women's Ordination and Conservative Judaism"....JTS will use this historic event to unveil its plan to achieve gender and sexual equity in all ranks of the Conservative movement, with a commitment to achieving full egalitarianism by the year 2010.
The JWW press release listed the plan's primary points: fully eliminating the salary gap between male and female rabbis, beginning to ordain gay and lesbian rabbis, and requiring all affiliated synagogues to commit to full gender egalitarianism, all by 2010.
Of course, they admitted to the hoax the following day. "'If JTS had wanted to claim the plan and commit to the actions outlined in it, JWW would have been happy to step back and let them take the credit,' said Clara Lemlich, a JWW member. In reality, the panel's moderator dissociated JTS from any proposal to comprehensively embrace egalitarianism and equity..."
I first read about this at Jewshool, and since then I've only seen the story amplified in one blog, Rabbi Jason A. Miller's. (He also noticed the joke names in the JWW's second press release. I'm sure if they were alive, Clara and Sophie would have cheered the prank -- and the intentions behind it.) I'm surprised it hasn't been more widely blogged.
JTS is actually celebrating the 20th anniversary of the ordination of women, and they did actually present an event called "A Movement Transformed," but I haven't been able to find an official response from JTS to the JWW press release or to the issues JWW raised.
Too bad. This is a hoax I can't help wishing were real.