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August 01, 1975 - Image 18

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1975-08-01

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

18 Friday, August 1, 197S

I

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

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s CATERING

Jewish Rel igious Life in U.S.
Depicted in 2-Part Anthology

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"Understanding Ameri-
can Judaism," edited by Ja-
cob Neusner, published by
Ktav Publishing House and
the Anti-Defamation
League of Bnai Brith, is
i an
anthology consisting of two
volumes divided into units
and chapters. Each chapter
comprises an essay depict-
ing an aspect of American
Jewish religious life.
The opening essay, "The
American Jew and His Reli-
gion" by Rabbi Herbert
Hertzberg, traces the his-
tory of the American Jewish
religious movements and
records their beliefs and
practices. But it does not
provide an account of their
leaders.
The essay, "Dimensions
in the Contemporary Jewish
Community" by Prof.
Charles S. Liebman pro-
vides such an account and
analyzes the positions held
by the leaders. Foremost
among them are the rabbis,
scholars and gate-keepers.

The gate-keepers are
"individuals who by virtue
of their position in the gen-

eral community, usually in
government, play a special
role in relating the organ-
ized Jewish community."
In ancient times, the
"Naturei Karta" (gate-
keepers) were the schol-
ars, scribes, and teachers
(see The Jewish News of
July 4, 1975). In pre-world
wars Eastern Europe, the
"shtadlen" was the com-
munity's gate-keeper.

Correlating religious
leadership with the congre-
gation is Rabbi Wolfe Kel-
man's essay "The Syn-
agogue in America." A
major concern of Rabbi Kel-
man is synagogue affilia-
tion. He states: "Many fami-
lies join a synagogue only
for a period during which
their children are required
to attend religious school,
until Bar Mitzva or confir-
mation . . . Thus, 'child-
centeredness' became a fea-
ture of postwar American
Jewish life."

Significant also is Rabbi
Kelman's observation that
some young people of af-
fluent homes prefer the inti-
macy and romanticism of

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the small Hasidic "shtibel"
to the palatial and imper-
sonal synagogue or temple.
Timely is Rabbi Simon
Greenberg's essay "The
Rabbinate and the Jewish
Community Structure." His
proposal to relieve the rab-
bis of administrative and
public relations functions is
of the utmost importance.

Similarly, significant is
his advocacy that the rab-
bi's primary duty be "to
help the individual Jew
and the Jewish community
to relate `Jewishly' to the
awe and mystery of life,
and to live comfortably as
Jews amidst our non-Jew-
ish fellow citizens."

Appropriate also is his
advice to the rabbis to be-
come students and thinkers
— "students, not profes-
sional scholars; thinkers not
academic philosophers."
Of import is Prof. Jacob J.
Petuchowski's essay "The
Limits of Liberal Judaism."
His revelation that the Cen-
tral Conference of Ameri-
can Rabbis includes a con-
siderable number of rabbis
who are agnostics and athe-
ists will be shocking to
many readers.
Interesting is Rabbi Mor-
decai Waxman's study
"Ideology of the Conserva-
tive Movement." It is posi-
tive in approach and
stresses in unequivocal
terms that Conservatism is
Judaism — not a denomina-
tion. It states that Conserv-
atism evolved "not a doc-
trine, but a technique" for
emphasizing certain "as-
pects of the Jewish tradi-
tion."
Critical of ultra-Ortho-
doxy and defending mod-

ernist Orthodox thinking is
Rabbi Emanuel Rackman's
essay "A Challenge to Or-
thodoxy,"

A good example to help
explain some of the oppos-
ing views of the Orthodox
factions was the controv-
ersy which arose over the
acquisition of new terri-
tory by Israel as a result of
the Six-Day War. "Chi:
Rabbi Nissim held that
according to the Halakha,
it would be forbidden to
negotiate for peace as the
`quid pro quo' for the re-
turn of any of these
areas."

Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveit-
chik disagreed with Rabbi
Nissim's opinion. He
claimed that it would be
necessary to relinquish
some of the land to achieve
an enduring peace.
He also maintained that
"Statesmen might be in a
better position to render a
decision, which would be
binding on rabbis precisely
as the opinion of a doctor is
binding on a rabbi in con-
nection with the breaking of
a fast on the Day of Atone-
ment."
Other areas of disagree-
ment between the Orthodox
factions concern such mat-
ters as the nature and mis-
sion of angels, the character
of the world-to-come, the
precise role the Messiah will
play when he comes.
Jacob Neusner, editor of
the anthology and author of
a number of essays, is hope-
ful about the future of Juda-
ism in America and predicts
that it will flourish "in this
land of freedom."

Goren Critic Excommunicated
by Chief Rabbinate Council

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JERUSALEM (JTA) —
The Chief Rabbinate Coun-
cil excommunicated Rabbi
Shlomo Lorincz, an outspo-
ken Knesset member of the
Aguda bloc for insulting
Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi
Shlomo Goren in the course
of a Knesset debate last
week.
Rabbi Lorincz likened
Rabbi Goren, who was chief
chaplain of Israel's armed
forces before he was ele-
vated to the chief rabbinate
three years ago, to Presi-
dent Idi Amin of Uganda, a
onetime friend but now a vi-
triolic foe of Israel.

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The decision rendered
by the Chief Rabbinate
Council — which accord-
ing to some critics of
Goren is completely con-
trolled by the Ashkenazic
chief rabbi — read: "This
is an unprecedented scan-
dal. Knesset member
Shlomo Lorincz publicly
denounced the chief rabbi
of Israel in the Knesset
and compared him to an
enemy of Israel, a shock
for every Jew in Israel and
the Diaspora.

The council, therefore,
relied on the Rambam (the
15th Century Jewish theolo-
gian and philosopher Mai-

monides) saying that
whoever humiliates the
sages has no part in the
olam haba (the next world).
If there were witnesses to
the humiliation, he must be
excommunicated and
charged with a penalty."

UAHC Parley Unit
Names Chairman

NEW YORK — Robert L.
Adler of Chicago has been
named program chairman
of the 53rd biennial general
assembly of the Union or
American Hebrew Congre-
gations. More than 3,000 Re-
form Jewish leaders repre-
senting 715 member
congregations and 1.1 mil-
lion members are expected
to attend.

The five-day meeting,
structured around the
theme, "America's Third
Century: Jewish Reality
and Response," will be held
in Dallas, Nov. 7-11.

Many sessions will be
held jointly with the Na-
tional Federation of Temple
Sisterhoods, a UAHC affi-
liate, which will hold its
30th biennial assembly con
currently.

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