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April 18, 1986 - Image 37

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1986-04-18

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

37

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New York Board of Rabbis, re-
presented th Orthodox view-
point. Lookstein said that the
Orthodox rabbis themselves are
causing the split, not only for
today but for the future as well.
He said that some of his peers
in the rabbinate refuse to recog-
nize • Conservative and Reform
rabbis as legitimate. Oftentimes,
he said, they (Orthodox rabbis)
will ,refer to their counterparts
as rabbi in quotes, spiritual
leader or doctor, and never as
"colleague."
But, he said, other major
causes of what he called the dis-
integration of American Jewry
can be tied to three events: "the
explosion of intermarriage," the
Reform recognition of a child as
Jewish no matter which parent
is Jewish and the Reform prac-
tice of officiating at a marriage
of a woman who has not re-
ceived a "get" (Jewish divorce)
from her first husband, despite
having a civil divorce. (Accord-
ing to Jewish law, a woman
may not remarry unless she has
gotten a Jewish divorce. If not,
she is considered an adulteress
and her children from the sec-
ond marriage are regarded as il-
legitmate.)
Ultimately, he said, the con-
tinuation of these practices will
produce thousands of "illegit-
mate children" who will not be
able, according to Jewish law, to
marry thousands of Jews.
To stem this problem, he pro-
posed the following:
• That the Orthodox rabbis
behave civilly to the rest of the
Jewish community. "We can't
afford to be standoffish any-
more."
• That Orthodox, Reform and
Conservative rabbis work to-
gether to find a common ground
for conversion.
• That the Reform movement
reconsider its decision on the
requirement for religious di-
vorce. He recommended a na-
tional body be formed on the
issue of gittin (Jewish divorce).
Lookstein said such moves
will "require significant com-
promises on the part of every-
body."
In response to Lookstein,
Syme, vice president of the
Union of American Hebrew
Congregations, listed what he
thought were factors with which
Orthodoxy "disenfranchised Re-
form altogether":
• The Who Is A Jew question.
• Conversion.
• Patrilineal descent.
On the issue of patrilineal de-
scent, Syme said the Reform ac
tion is a "reaffirmation of Torah
practice," citing the way one is
called to read from the Torah, in
the name of his father.
Syme called on the Orthodox
rabbinate to "fulfill the office of
rabbi and teacher." In addition,
he saw the creation of a com-
munal Bet Din (Rabbinic Court)
as a 'means of solving the con-
version issue. (He alluded to a
model in Denver, Colo., which
included three Orthodox, three
Reform and three Conservative
rabbis on the court. He said the
model worked until the Or-
Continued on next page

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