In a landmark decision, the Israeli branch of Conservative Judaism announced that its rabbinical school will begin to accept gay and lesbian candidates for ordination.

Board members of the Schecter Rabbinical Seminary in Jerusalem voted Thursday (April 19) to enroll gay and lesbian students starting in September.

The decision follows years of disagreement between leaders of the Conservative movement in the U.S., which permits openly gay and lesbian rabbis, and Masorti leaders in Israel, who have long resisted demands to be more inclusive.

The disagreement came to a head about two years ago, when some gay and straight rabbinical students from two U.S.-based seminaries began to refuse to study at Schecter during their mandatory year of study in Israel.

While more liberal than the Orthodox stream of Judaism, the Masorti movement typically has been more traditionalist than its U.S. counterpart.

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