Religion: Toppling a Jewish Tradition

A Conservative seminary votes to ordain women rabbis

When Susannah Heschel was growing up as a rabbi's daughter in New York City, she once attended a Simhat Torah celebration, during which men traditionally dance for joy while holding scrolls of Scripture. She wanted to join the dance, which is forbidden to women, and under the disapproving eyes of many in the crowd, joined her father in the festivities. When asked who had given her permission, Susannah snapped, "God."

Her father was the legendary philosopher Abraham Joshua Heschel, who for 27 years was a professor...

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