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July 05, 1985 - Image 12

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1985-07-05

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

12

Friday, July 5, 1985

THINK

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

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Conservative Stance

Conti n ued from Page 4

two additional words is to de-
legitimate the rabbinic
status of non-Orthodox rab-
bis in the eyes of the Ameri-
can Jewish community by
having the State of Israel de-
clare those converted by
non-Orthodox rabbis to be
non-Jews. American Conser-
vative rabbis, their congre-
gations, and hundreds of
thousands of Conservative
families have a vital concern
in this matter. The rabbis
feel the responsibility to pro-
tect and defend the Jewish
status of converts who have
accepted the faith of
Judaism, are living meaning-
ful Jewish lives, and have re-
lied upon their rabbis for in-
struction and growth.
The fourth provision of the
resolution is an expression of
pained protest against those
in the Knesset who have
sought to legislate the ques-
tion of Jewish conversion for
the American Jewish com-
munity. In doing so, the
Knesset would be legislating
for the Jewish people and not
just for the State of Israel.
Representatives of the Con-
servative Movement met
with individual members of
the Knesset when the bill
came up for examination in
January. During this lobby-
ing process, Knesset mem-
bers challenged spokesmen of
non-Orthodox movements.
They asked, "Whom do you
represent in America? Why
don't we hear from them?"
Since the Conservative
rabbis have adopted this
resolution, some American
Jewish lay leadership has
expressed concern for what is
viewed as a divisive act on
the part of the Conservative
Movement. While disas-
sociating themselves now
from the intended change in
the Law of Return, it is in-
teresting that no such ex-
pression was forthcoming
from that leadership at the
time of the vote. And, in-
deed, the disdain of the
aforementioned Knesset
members seemed well-placed.
If the Conservative resolu-
tion has done nothing else, it
has raised the consciousness
of the American Jewish
community to what ought to
be a matter of grave concern.
The issue will not go away.
Assuredly, the bill will be
reintroduced at a future ses-
sion of the Knesset. On Jan
16, it was narrowly defeated
by a vote of 62 to 51. Had
the five or six Arab members
voted with those in favor of
the change, an alteration in
the definition of a Jew could

have been decided by non-
Jews!
As a reading of the com-
plete resolution testifies, the
Conservative rabbinate is
not seeking to bar fellow
Jews or members of the Is-
raeli government from the
synagogue. Any member of
Knesset, upon visiting our
shores, is welcome to come
and pray! We are merely
asking those agencies who
provide speakers to our syn-
agogues to be sensitive to the
insult and deep pain some of
these proposed speakers have
inflicted upon us.
Freedom of speech does not
negate judicious selectivity
in determining a speaker.
There are many prominent
Israelis among those who
have fought directly and in-
directly for the defeat in the
change of the Law of Return
whose words can effectively
strengthen our ties with Is-
rael. Those who have shown
support for pluralism in
Jewish life should be invited
to address our people. As the
only movement which
endorsed Zionism from its
inception and has remained
firm in that conviction, the
Conservative Movement
.wishes to create the most
positive atmosphere for re-
ceiving an Israeli message.
As always, we remain firm
and committed to our sup-
port of Israel.
It should be obvious, that
we seek a rapprochement
with those who have sought
to demean us. In private
dialogue, in frank exchange,
we hope to repair what has
been an attempted rent in
the fabric of Jewish unity.
The resolution states clearly
and emphatically our firm
determination to resist all
attempts to challenge the
legitimacy of the largest
American Jewish religious
movement. It is our belief
that the interests of the
Jewish people in Israel and
around the world will be ad-
vanced by our commitment
to Klal Yisrael — the unity
of the Jewish people.

Law Of Return
Moves Opposed

Jerusalem (JTA) — The
Jewish Agency Assembly has
overwhelmingly approved a
resolution urging the govern-
ment not to introduce amend-
ments to the Law of Return in
the Knesset.
The resolution was adopted by
vote of 119-38 after a bitter ex-
change between the delegates.

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