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May 29, 1987 - Image 18

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-05-29

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Hardliners

Continued from preceding page

lost ground over the past 20
years. Conservative and Reform
must help restore the center
and tell the extremes not to use
your money in certain ways."
In Israel, he said in response
to a question, the Orthodox
movement has also been hurt
by its political monopoly. He
suggested that true pluralism
in Israel must mean giving the
Conservative and Reform
movements in Israel fair treat-
ment, but not more.
Rabbi David Nelson of Cong.
Beth Shalom told Greenberg
and his audience that the ma-
jor branches of Judaism in
Detroit do not get along well.
"The Orthodox in Detroit do
not reach out to others except
on their own terms," he said,
"and it has gotten worse, not
better."
Greenberg responded that
regular meetings should be con-
ducted with young Orthodox
scholars who will be the Or-
thodox community's leaders in
the future; problems should be
pointed out so that there will be
leverage to address them;
alliances between denomina-
tions must be rebuilt.
He also said that Orthodox
spokesmen must recognize the

Yitz Greenberg:
Rewards and punishment.

problems Conservative and
Reform rabbis face. "You can't
tell a rabbi to stick his neck out
and tell the chairman of his
board that his granddaughter
isn't Jewish unless you are also
willing to take risks!'
Rabbi Greenberg believes
that "the challenge of unity is
not just splitting apart. It is the
challenge of freedom, to build
a pluralistic community and
adjust for each other's positions.
Do we use our freedom to split
apart, or do we use it to create
a new richness and variety in
Jewish life?"

Rabbi Supports
`Creative Engagement'

4 Reasons to Remember

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20

Friday, May 29, 1987"

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

VISA

Spring Glen, N.Y. — Declar-
ing that Orthodox Judaism has
been, forced into a "confronta-
tion and conflict" by the Reform
and Conservative movements of
Judaism, the president of the
Rabbinical Council of America
said last week that "Never-
theless, Orthdoxy should follow
a policy of 'creative engage-
ment' — sometimes cooperating
with Reform and Conservative
movements, sometimes ignor-
ing them and sometimes
fighting with them."
Rabbi Milton H. Polin told
several hundred rabbis of the
RCA, "We are in a war, not one
that we started, but one from
which we shall not withdraw,
over such issues as patrilineal
descent, the American military
chaplaincy, funding for Israeli
institutions by the Jewish
Agency, and over the establish-
ment and recognition of Reform
and Conservative Judaism in
Israel!'
Rabbi Polin asserted that
"the Reform movement believes
that they can officially pro-
mulgate new definitions of
Jewishness, such as patrilineal
descent, that the child of a
Jewish father and non-Jewish
mother is Jewish, without suf-
fering the consequences!" He
said, "They did the same thing
with the chaplaincy, endorsing
a woman for the chaplaincy out-
side the regular channels of the
Jewish Welfare Board.

"Reform pressured UJA-
Federation to fund their pro-
jects in Israel, claiming
discrimination and they
withheld funds from UJA
because they thought they
could get away with it.
"They think they are going to
get away with destroying the
chief rabbinate of Israel, the
rabbinical court system and the
rule of halachah on matters of
personal status.
"They know the rules. They
break them all, and then they
blame the Orthodox for destroy-
ing the unity of Jewish life,"
said Rabbi Polin.
Despite all this, he said that
Orthodoxy will meet with Con-
servative and Reform
movements "because in the
case of the chaplaincy, for in-
stance, we now have several in-
formal agreements that may
lead to the establishment of a
new Jewish Chaplaincy Coun-
cil; in the case of the funding of
the UJA and Jewish Agency, we
have an informal agreement
that Reform, too, will oppose
the signing of a loyalty oath as
a precondition to receiving
Jewish Agency funds."
Rabbi Polin said that "the
policy of 'creative engagement'
leaves us open to criticism from
the Orthodox right and the non-
Orthodox left. Therefore," he
told his colleagues, "the RCA
must expand its efforts to ex-
plain to the community where
we stand on each issue."

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