Openly Gay Rabbi Was Elected President of the Israeli Conservative Rabbinical Assembly

Gay Rabbi Mikie Goldstein was elected Monday as President of the Rabbinical Assembly of the Conservative Movement in Israel. Rabbi Mikie serves as a rabbi in Congregation Adat Shalom Emanuel in Rehovot.

The Masorti Movement in Israel published an official statement and congratulated the new President on its Facebook page on Tuesday.

Mikie Goldstein is considered Israel’s Conservative-Masorti movement’s first openly gay congregational rabbi. The ordination of gay rabbis has long been a divisive issue among Conservative Jews, and it was only in 2012 that the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies, which is affiliated with the movement, began admitting gay and lesbian students.

Born in Liverpool, Goldstein belonged to the national-religious Bnei Akiva youth movement before moving to Israel in 1989. He has been married for over 20 years to Isi Yanouka, a veteran diplomat who today is Israel’s ambassador to the Ivory Coast. When he was asked to comment on his appointment, Goldstein said in 2014 that being gay was simply “not an issue.”