VOL. II NO. I
ROSH HASHANAH 5748
135 Rabbis x 4 Denominations=
By Elsa Solender
Will Somebody Please
1) Arrange for an ongoing dia-
logue series between lay leaders
from different denominations or
2) Arrange meetings between Men's
Clubs, Sisterhoods and Synagogue
boards of different denominations.
3) Arrange combined youth pro-
grams of various synagogues and
movements—create a youth choir
composed of children of various
Hebrew and day schools.
4) Ask your rabbi to exchange
pulpits with someone from a differ-
5) Start a local chapter of CHEVRA
(dialogue-study group between rabbis ,
of different denominations).
6) Sponsor public symposia be-
tween panels of local or national
rabbis to dramatize the will for unity
7) Develop study and training
programs for community leaders,
dealing with issues of polarization.
8) Establish a community task
force to promote intra-Jewish coop-
eration and to respond to situations
that threaten dialogue and respect-
Shomrim, Guardians of Jewish Unity, receiving serigraphs of the Clal Yisrael
Award from CLAL Chairman Robert Loup and President Irving Greenberg (1 to r)
Richard and Roselyne Swig, Irving Greenberg; Morry and Judy Weiss, Stephen
Peck, Robert Loup, Judy Stern Peck, Aaron and Marjorie Ziegelman.
Nine Point "CLAL YISRAEL"
1) We hereby affirm our support
for the recent "Statement of Jewish
Unity" released by the leaders of three
rabbinic associations. In the future,
such statements should endeavor to
involve more segments of the com-
munity. The pronouncements im-
portantly highlight the concern for
the future of Clal Yisrael—the unity
and totality of the Jewish people—
and we likewise call upon our col-
leagues to take up the challenges of
building bridges among our commu-
nities and seeking creative, common
solutions to common problems.
2) We recommend that all move-
ments vigorously pursue the possibil-
ity of establishing national batei din
that will allow various movements to
cooperate with each other, setting
gram is intended to improve the the foundation for all groups to work
climate of communication and un- together in the future.
3) We hereby recommend that
derstanding in the community and
to foster Jewish learning and knowl- efforts to create Clal Yisrael conver-
edge about the respective movements. sion standards and procedures should
be reviewed and renewed. The philo-
III. AM ECHAD LECTURES
halachic and communal
Individual lectures and talks on sophical,
foundations of joint conversions
Jewish unity featuring a CLAL should be established by intensive
scholar. Topics include: Will There scholarship efforts and past experi-
Be One Jewish People By The Year
in this area.
2000?; Judaism, Pluralism and De- ence We
call for active, sophisticated,
nominationalism; Towards a Prin- in-depth
theological and halachic
cipled Pluralism; The Four Denomi-
to be conducted by repre-
nations; The Post-Modern Age; The dialogue
sentative scholars and specialists of
the four movements.
IV. SYMPOSIUM FOR UNITY
5) We call upon rabbis to invite
A public panel in which leading during the upcoming year n"nwri
Convervative, Orthodox, Recon- a rabbi from a different movement
structionist and Reform rabbis ap- to address their congregation.
pear together and discuss the positions
of their movements and their rela-
tionships with the others.
V. COMMUNITY SERVICES
Am Echad can provide educa-
tional materials for training teach-
ers, administrators, lay leaders and
community organization staff in skills
and knowledge of pluralism and
unity, and can assist in curriculum
development fOr teaching Jewish
unity. CLAL also works with groups
to develop ongoing activities between
synagogues, schools, youth pro-
grams, and community agencies.
The North American Chevra Con-
ference demonstrated how much
more there is to gain from coopera-
tion than there is from conflict.
As a result of their deliberations
and consultations, over 135 Con-
servative, Orthodox, Reconstruc-
tionist and Reform rabbis and aca-
demics from the United States and
Canada arrived at the following
CLAL Programs for
CLAL's Am Echad department
can assist local communities and
organizations in strengthening the
forces committed to Clal Yisrael.
These activities are devoted to pro-
moting intermovement understand-
ing and interaction. The common
objective of all of Am Echad (One
People) programs is to reduce polar-
ization and increase cooperation
between movements by creating the
occasions and the voices which will
spread the message of Jewish unity.
I. UNITY SEMINARS
A five session seminar on pluralism
and denominationalism studies the
dawn of modernity and the resulting
religious diversity. The series in-
cludes sessions on the four major
movements and concludes with a
discussion of the post-modern age.
Another five session seminar ex-
plores the issue of religious plural-
ism and diversity through- a histori-
cal study of Jewish communities in
conflict. The goal is to study how
other communities dealt with power-
ful ideological conflicts and to locate
within diversity threads of Jewish
II. ALL DAY UNITY INSTITUTE
A full day program devoted to the
issues of Jewish pluralism. The pro-
One - hundred - thirty - five rabbis
from the four major American Jew-
ish denominations gathered recently
for three days at the fourth National
Chevra (Rabbinic Fellowship) Con-
ference at the Homowack Lodge in
Spring Glen, N.Y. Their agenda: to
talk, to study, to listen and to learn.
By all accounts, they excelled in each.
Entitled "Brit, Mitzvah and Hal-
acha: in Search of a Vocabulary for
Clal Yisrael:' the conference was de-
signed to involve rabbis and scholars
of every stripe in the second stage of
Jewish-Jewish dialogue; that is, the
identification and articulation of a
common unifying vocabulary.
Exploration of a common vocab-
ulary occurred in the plenaries which
examined such topics as personal
autonomy and divine authority; reli-
gious leadership by women; patri-
lineality; and a comparison of the
halachic processes within the various
denominations; as well as in smaller,
engaging discussion and study groups.
Conference participants, some-
times to their own surprise, discov-
ered they could talk fruitfully and
substantively with each other, with-
out sacrificing either civility or integ-
rity. They found they could learn
from each other even as they acknowl-
edged significant differences between
them both in principles and prac-
tices. One Orthodox rabbi observed,
"I never thought I'd find myself
agreeing with a Reconstructionist!"
And a Reform rabbi came to recog-
nize that an Orthodox rabbi "who
comes to dialogue with me" does
not thereby lose his Orthodox au-
thenticity. As Rabbi Joseph Radin-
sky of Houston noted, "The most
important insight I gained here at
the conference was the seriousness
of those in the other movements!'
About 34% of the conference par-
ticipants affiliate with the Conserva-
tive movement, 27% with the Ortho-
dox, 22% with Reform and 12%
with Reconstructionism, an impres-
sive turnout from each segment. Five
percent declined denominational
One of the many encouraging fea-
tures of the conference was that a
sizable number of young rabbis and
scholars attended, along with promi-
nent rabbis and academicians, in-
cluding such plenary speakers as
Eugene Borowitz, Reuven Bulka,
Elliot Dorff, Arthur Green, Eugene
Lipman, Haskel Lookstein, Law-
rence Schiffman, Sidney Schwarz,
Moshe Sokol, Walter Wurzburger
and Mark Washofsky.
While an atmosphere of civility
reigned over the proceedings, speak-
ers did not "pull punches!' Speakers
thoroughly explicated the differences
of the Conservative, Orthodox, Re-
constructionist and Reform expres-
sions of Judaism on some of the
prickliest issues of Jewish life. But
they consistently underscored areas
of communication as well.
. The Conference was co-chaired
by Rabbis Peter Knobel and Haskel
Lookstein, coordinated by Eric Levine,
AsSociate Director of Am Echad,
and was underwritten by the Dorot
Foundation and Mrs. Joy Unger-
Dr. Alfred Gottschalk, president of the Hebrew Union College, presents 1987 Clal
Yisrael Award to Klara and Larry Silverstein.
6) We call upon rabbis to pledge
not to defame or deprecate other
Jewish movements and their leaders
or adherents from the pulpit.
7) We call upon rabbis to address
their congregations on the topic of
Ahavat Yisrael to show how it applies
to other-minded Jews.
8) We call upon rabbis to chal-
lenge, in the name of Ahavat Yisrael,
derogatory references to other ex-
pressions of Judaism.
9) We call upon rabbis to be in-
volved in Torah study with others of
different movements in the spirit of
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THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS 3#