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Adas Israel Rabbi Gil Steinlauf, Who Made Headlines for Coming Out, Had Already Transformed the DC Shul.

Adas Israel, a 146-year-old high-profile Conservative synagogue perched visibly on Connecticut Avenue in Washington, D.C., is in the news this week after Rabbi Gil Steinlauf announced Monday in a letter to congregants that he and his wife of 20 years were getting divorced, and that he was gay. I was bat mitzvahed at Adas Israel, and later confirmed, and this year I reluctantly returned with my parents for Yom Kippur only to find a completely differentand in many ways improvedversion of the Jewish institution I had rebelled against for so many years.

I moved to Oakland, CA, after 10 years of searching, of flinging myself as far as possible from the Conservative Judaism of my childhood in order to find space for the actual Jew inside me, one who eventually did learn the prayers but had to do it her own way. So when I decided to return to Rabbi Gil Steinlauf's Adas Israel for Kol Nidre services this year I worried I was going backwards, deep down into the staunch, rule-based Judaism of my childhood.

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Author:Gerson, Merissa Nathan
Publication:Tablet Magazine
Geographic Code:7ISRA
Date:Oct 8, 2014
Words:197
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