An openly gay rabbi has been elected the leader of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, which represents one of the most progressive denominations in Judaism.
Elected during the RRA’s convention in New Orleans last week, Rabbi Jason Klein is the second out gay leader of the rabbinic organization, after Toba Spitzer, who was elected in 2007.
. Reconstructionist Judaism is egalitarian, with women and members of the LGBT community welcome in all leadership roles.
“Coming out and growing into my adult Jewish identity would not be the same were it not for affirming teachers, rabbis and other mentors along the way,” said Klein (left). “I am honored to be able to give back by supporting colleagues who are creating welcoming communities in hundreds of settings across North America and beyond.”
Formerly the director of Hillel at the University of Maryland in Baltimore and a congregational rabbi on Long Island, Klein ordained in 2002. He is a graduate of Columbia University and grew up in Montclair, New Jersey.
There are an estimated 50,000 Reconstructionist Jews in the United States, where the denomination got its start back in the 1920s.
UPDATE: This story has been updated to indicate the first openly gay head of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association was Rabbi Toba Spitzer.