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June 06, 1986 - Image 10

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1986-06-06

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


10 Friday, June 6, 1986


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New York (JTA) — Leaders
of Reform Judaism in the
United States and Canada said
Sunday they will step up their
demands for religious pluralism
in Israel and voiced "alarm" at
what they called "the increasing
efforts by a rigid and politicized
Orthodox rabbinate to impose
its views on the people of Israel
and on Jews everywhere."
Following a ten-day mission
to Israel composed of 36 mem-
bers of the board of trustees of
the Union of American Hebrew
Congregations, UAHC Senior
Vice President Albert Vorspan
announced that the organization
is planning to establish a Reli-
gious Action Center in
Jerusalem along the lines of a
similar program operated by the
UAHC in Washington, D.C.
That center, he explained,
functions as a lobby and
educational-research arm, "giv-
ing eloquent expression to Re-
form Judaism's abiding com-
mitment to social justice." In Is-
rael, he said, the center would
"serve as a rallying point for co-
alitions of Israeli citizens in the
pursuit of social justice and
peace." It would also be a focus
for legislative and judicial ef-
forts to achieve religious free-
dom, pluralism and civil 'liber-
ties. A feasibility study will
begin soon, he said. •
Rabbi Daniel Syme, UAHC
vice president, said the Reform
movement would expand its
travel program to Israel, reg-
ularize the visits of its officers

and trustees and "intensify our
efforts to press the government,
Jewish Agency and others in Is-
rael to extend full equality of
rights and status to non-
Orthodox rabbis, synagogues
and other institutions."
Rabbi Alexander Schindler,
UAHC president, was to have
led the mission but suffered a
heart-attack on the first day of
the group's- visit. He is improv-
ing steadily under the care of
physicians at the Soroka Medi-
cal Center in Beersheba and ex-
pects to return to the United
States later this month, a
UAHC spokesman said.
The UAHC mission to Israel
was undertaken to "express our
solidarity with the people of Is-
rael and demonstrate by our
presence that Muammar Qad-
dafi is not our travel agent, to
measure the growth of the Re-
form movement in Israel and to
demand equal treatment for Re-
form rabbis, synagogues and
other institutions in Israel,"
Rabbi Syme said.
In a statement, the UAHC
board assailed "recent actions by
the entrenched and intransigent
Orthodox rabbinate, working its
will through political manipula-
tion of coalition governments,"
which the Reform Jewish .lead-
ers charged "jeopardize the
unity of the Jewish people and
imperil those intimate ties be-
tween Israel and the Diaspora
so essential to the security of
the Jewish state and the survi-
val of Judaism itself."

Soviets Block Nazi Hunt


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Montreal (JTA) — The De-
schenes Commission has run
into another snag in its efforts
to gather information behind
the Iron Curtain on suspected
Nazi war criminals living in
Canada. Yves Fortier, a lawyer
for the commission, reported
Saturday that an invitation ex-
tended by the Soviet Union had
to be rejected because the
Soviets failed to agree to allow
Canadian investigators to inter-
rogate witnesses in accordance
with Canadian rules of evidence.
Fortier explained that the
commission's investigators
would not go to the Soviet
Union and other East European
countries unless the ground
rules laid down by former
Quebec Superior Court Chief
Justice Jules Deschenes, who
heads the commission, are
agreed to by the host countries.
These are a promise to pro-
vide commission lawyers with
access to original German
documents; permit the use of in-
dependent interrogators; allow
video-taping of all proceedings;
and allow the examination of
witnesses in accordance with
Canadian rules of evidence. The
conditions were formulated to
allow the evidence to stand up
in Canadian courts.
Alexei Makarov, a consular
official at the Soviet Embassy in
Ottawa, said last week that
Moscow had endorsed De-
schenes' "main" demands and


had invited the commission's
representatives to travel to the
Soviet Union any time after
June 10. "As far as we are con-
cerned, all the major requests
have been complied with," the
Soviet official said, adding, "Al-
though I think the wording is
not the same, the essence is."
Fortier disagreed. "What they
have told us is that interroga-
tion would be done within the
framework of criminal procedure
of the USSR. Canadian lawyers
would be given the opportunity
to clarify from witnesses ques-
tions of relevant interest. In
other words, the examination
would be conducted by the
Office of the Procurator of the
Soviet Union and that is not ac-
ceptable," Fortier said.

L.A. Helping

Homeless Jews

Los Angeles (JTA) — The
Jewish Federation Council of
Los Angeles has started a pro-
gram to help the city's Jewish
homeless — estimated at 1,000
of the approximately 30-50,000
people who live on the streets.
Under the program, homeless
people are provided with food
and medicine, help in finding
transitional and permanent
homes, and job counseling and

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