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December 02, 1988 - Image 16

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-12-02

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

(UP FRONT

Law Of Return

Continued from Page 5

Jewish federations in Los
Angeles, Chicago, Metro West
(New Jersey suburbs of New
York), Montreal and ibronto
flew to Israel.
Federation executives from
Detroit, Baltimore, Pitt-
sburgh, Cleveland and Atlan-
ta will meet with CJF ex-
ecutive Carmi Schwartz in
New York on Thursday to
plan additional strategies.
One proposal would send a
mass mission to Israel in
December or January if the
religious parties continue to
press for a change in Israel's
Law of Return.
Berman told the federations
Tuesday that Diaspora
leadership must press for
electoral reform in Israel,
even if they are accused of
meddling in Israel's internal
affairs. The CJF's officers are
reportedly united on this ap-
proach. Israel is being "held
hostage," he said, by a
religious minority that cap-
tured 12 seats in the last
120-seat Knesset, and 18 in
the newly elected Knesset.

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Applying Pressure

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Jewish Welfare Federation
leaders and area rabbis are
continuing their campaign
this week against changing
Israel's Law of Return.
"Federation Shabbat this
weekend gives us an oppor-
tunity to make clear what we
are doing," said JWF Presi-
dent Dr. Conrad Giles.
Federation leaders are
scheduled to speak in a dozen
area synagogues.
"Until now," Giles said,
"Israel's political leaders had
no idea that the Law of
Return is as sacred to the ma-
jority of American Jews as it
is to the Orthodox."
At a meeting of the Federa-
tion board of governors on
Tuesday, Giles emphasized
that the "majority of the Or-
thodox movement was not in-
volved" with the - effort to
change the law. He said the
Lubavitch movement, which
is blamed for the renewed
political effort in Israel,
should be applauded "for say-
ing the bulk of their funds go
for local Jewish educational
efforts, but we remain uncon-
vinced."
Federation funds, he said,
do not go to Lubavitch and
the Jewish Agency has stop-
ped funding Lubavitch pro-
grams in Israel.
Giles said Federation's
leadership is advocating sen-
ding telegrams and letters to
Israeli political leaders. "The
arrival of floods of mail have
an impact," he said. "This is
not an exercise in futility."

The effort to halt the
change gained a strong ally
this week when the Rab-
binical Council of America,
the central organization for
the majority of Orthodox rab-
bis in the United States, sent
a cable to Prime Minister Yit-
zhak Shamir requesting the
removal of the issue "from the

"Your rabbis are
not rabbis. Your
converts are not
Jews. Even your
right to follow a
different type of
faith is not valid."

political agenda" to "help
preserve the unity and sup-
port of the American Jewish
community with and for
Israel."
Detroit's Council of Or-
thodox Rabbis President
Leizer Levin said the law is a
question "that Israel should
decide. We don't want to
discuss the question here.
Our work is for kashrus,
tzedakah and Yiddishkeit."
Rabbis Norman Kahn and
E.B. Freedman of Yeshivath
Beth Yehudah applauded the
split from the ultra-Orthodox
parties by the religious Degel
HaTorah party in Israel.
"This issue should never have
been raised," said Kahn.
Local Reform and Conser-
vative rabbis have been ad-
vocating action in their
synagogues. Temple Shir
Shalom began a letter-
writing campaign. Temple
Beth El's Rabbi Daniel Polish
and President Lee Marks sent
a telegram to Shamir. Temple
Israel's board forwarded a
resolution to Israel.
Some groups have ad-
vocated placing donations to
Israel in escrow or
withholding funds. Rabbi
David Nelson of Beth
Shalom, president of the Con-
servative Rabbis of
Metropolitan Detroit, called
it "irresponsible to hold back
or hurt the work of the Jewish
Welfare Federation. We don't
want to mug the old woman
in Jerusalem, as Mark
Talisman of the Council of
Jewish Federations said."
Nelson said the Israeli
public resents the dispute and
see it, in addition to the
religious issue, as a power
grab by the Orthodox for
more funding for their
yeshivot.
Withholding funds also
disturbs Rabbi M. Robert
Syme of Temple Israel. "I'm
troubled by the threats I am -
hearing." He does not want to
see support diminish for the
mainstream Orthodox, but "I

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