Atwood, 27, was informed earlier this year that he would not be ordained after completing his studies at New York’s Yeshivat Chovevei Torah despite the school previously saying it would ordain him. While there has been a significant increase in empathy for LGBT Jews in recent years within the Orthodox community, inclusion has rarely reached the level of communal leadership, and same-sex marriage is universally prohibited.
“He’s who we want out there” working with the gay population, Landes said. “You need somebody on your side sometimes.”
“I wouldn’t have done it unless he took a thorough test and I had heard from others that he knew his stuff,” Landes said. “I think that people really trying to serve the Jewish people should be looked after and that I have a small role in that. And when they are totally outstanding I want to be helpful.”