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December 05, 1986 - Image 10

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1986-12-05

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

Wile° 546-6200

Specialists in
Housing
Pest Control

G eUr

ERADICO PEST CONTROL

r
iaS
in fu

Conservative Rabbis
Reflect Split In Ranks

FERNDALE, MICH. 48220

1030 WOODWARD HGTS.

• PROFESSIONAL, QUALITY SERVICE FOR HOME,
APARTMENT AND INDUSTRY
• SERVICING SOUTHEAST MICHIGAN FOR 50 YEARS
IN ALL PHASES OF PEST CONTROL

31065 Orchard Lake Rd.

Hunters Square at Loehmanns
Farmington Hills, Mi. 48018

• WILLOW
TREE .
CRUISE
SHOP

REASONABLE RATES

FREE ESTIMATES

JEWELRY & WATCH DEPARTMENT

- 2---) 1 FE lin r 111I 1 1.161 III 11.11411
.1
.
`1
— > — i
.
Ill ffill 3111111.111 1 3 l' ' - -arimair"----
--- --ill LILIIIIER1111111Ri at nisi at

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Contributing Editor

AT

138 SOUTH WOODWARD
AT MAPLE

ALL ITEMS

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CHOOSE FROM:

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iii.-- - A----

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CI(

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.,

a, D

THE WIND BLOCKER SALE

ERNEST F. LUSH, INC.

28801 SOUTHFIELD RD., just south of 12 Mile

PHONE: 559-2150

../111

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SUNDAYS
12-5 P.M.

FOR YOUR
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NOW UNTIL DECEMBER 31, 1986

COMPLAISANT - THE STADIUM

WITH THE BEST SELECTION OF

CRUISEWEAR

FEATURING ALL NEW

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(SIZES 7-14 GIRLS
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OTHER COLORS AVAILABLE







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ENERGY
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Installation
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I
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SAVE $2.00

I

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per piece

L

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HUNTERS SQUARE

10

Friday, December 5, 1986

THE STADIUM

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THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

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Locks • Rekeying • Patio Locks
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COMPLAISANT

Matrilineal or patrilineal: Should
Conservative rabbis mediate between
the Orthodox and Reform?

ELSA A. SOLENDER

NOW OPEN

NOTHING HELD BACK!
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Choice of any watch
from our huge stock.

it

NEWS

rri
onte e a t 11 all

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(Estimates)
Sales • Service • Installation

NI ew York — Three
prominent Conser-
vative Jewish rabbis
sharply disagreed over
aspects of the Rabbinic
Assembly's recent vote to af-
firm the concept of matri-
lineal descent of Jews, a key
issue in the "Who Is A Jew"
controversy.
The Assembly, official
organization of Conservative
rabbis, rejected acceptance of
children of a Jewish father
and a non-Jewish mother as
Jews without prior conver-
sion according to Halacha
(Jewish law), and stipulated
harsh penalties for Conser-
vative rabbis who recognize
such children. The Reform
Movement recently voted to
accept the child of a Jewish
father if the non-Jewish
mother elected to retain her
Christian faith, but agreed to
have the child raised as a Jew.
Dr. David M. Feldman of
the Jewish Center of Thaneck,
NJ; Dr. Robert Gordis, editor
of Judaism and professor-
emeritus in Bible at the
Jewish Theological Seminary
of America, and Dr. Harold
Schulweis of Valley Beth
Shalom Congregation of En-
cino, California (and con-
tributing editor of the
BALTIMORE JEWISH TIMES) ad-
dressed a recent forum here
on "The Limits of Pluralism:
Who Determines Them and
How," an event of the
yearlong centennial celebra-
tion of The Jewish Theologi-
cal Seminary of America.
Rabbi Schulweis criticized
the vote by the Rabbinic
Assembly as a purely
legalistic measure, without
debate of the actual merits of
the case for and against
recognition of Jews through
patrilineal descent. He
characterized exclusionary
sanctions prescribed for
dissenting rabbis who might
be lax in enforcement as "in-
timidations." •
Urging the Conservative
Movement to serve as a
"mediating energy" between
Reform and Orthodox posi-
tions, Schulweis recom-
mended respect for the
motives, if not the decision, of
the Reform Movement to ac-
cept such children under the
specified circumstances. He
proposed a hearing for
Reform representatives if a
serious Conservative discus-
sion of the patrilineal descent
issue ever occurs. Schulweis
also pleaded for compassion
for the predicament of

devoted Jews and their con-
gregational rabbis who are
faced with the prospect of ex-
cluding the children of inter-
marriage from the Jewish
community. He advocated
"an expanded notion of
Halacha" which would be
more responsive to human
needs, rather than a rigid, ob-
jective legal code in which "all
else is extraneous." He said
his own vote on patrilineal
descent is "still up for grabs"
because the Rabbinic
Assembly had never really ex-
amined the issue itself.
Rabbi Feldman condemned
any move to accept children
of non-Jewish mothers
without conversion as "ren-
ding the fabric of klai
Yisrael." He called loyalty to
the Halachic provision for
matrilineal descent a "litmus
test of loyalty to the larger
Jewish community." He
criticized the decision of the
Reform movement to accept
some children of non-Jewish
mothers as "rank irrespon-
sibility" which, he said, would
be "worse on the part of the
Conservative Movement."
Rabbi Feldman dismissed
what he called the "romantic
ideas" of Rabbi Schulweis
about Halacha. Jewish law is
"not supposed to be con-
cerned" with "counseling" or
"holistic" applications, he
contended. He insisted that
the Reform rabbis "differ so
radically from us that we
could not learn from them."
Dr. Gordis hypothesized
that the concept of
matrilineal descent —
unknown in the Bible — arose
in the time of Amos. He
believes the Jews who re-
turned to Jerusalem after the
Babylonian exile found
themselves besieged by the
gentile majority and
established the exclusionary
matrilineal descent concept
as a "draconian measure" to
protect themselves from
assimilation. While he agreed
with Schulweis that debate
before the vote at the Rab-
binic Assembly had been in-
adequate, Gordis — who has
published a plea to the
Reform Movement to rescind
their decision — believes that
very few individuals will ac-
tually be affected under the
conditions the Reform rabbis
have established for recogni-
tion of patrilineal descent. He
conceded that the Reform
motivation was probably to
guarantee, according to their
lights, the future of the
Jewish community, but he
stated his conviction that
Halacha should only be

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