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June 09, 1989 - Image 28

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-06-09

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

INSIDE WASHINGTON

FUNDAMENTALS OF

Warfare Over Legal Abortion
Leaves OU's Stand Unclear

FUNDAMENTALS OF DATABASE SYSTEMS

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Software
Engineering

THIRD EDITION

SOFTWARE ENGINEERING, 3/E

Ian Sommerville, University of Lancaster

The third edition of this best-selling introduction to software
engineering contains coverage of software life-cycle models
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JAMES D. BESSER

Washington Correspondent

he recent warfare be-
Orthodox
tween
groups over legal abor-
tion has led to what one Or-
thodox leader has called "a
very depressing, unbelievably
tangled situation."
The current round of con-
troversy stems from April
reports suggesting that the
Union of Orthodox Hebrew
Congregations had broken
with the rest of the Orthodox
establishment by offering
conditional support for
legalized abortion.
The Orthodox Union signed
on to a "friend of the Court"
brief prepared by a coalition
of religious groups, under the
leadership of the National
Jewish Community Relations
Advisory Council (NJCRAC).
The brief was filed in the
landmark Webster v.
Reproductive Services case
now before the Supreme
Court.
"The Orthodox Union„" ac-
cording to one source close to
the group. "felt it was impor-
tant to go along with the
overall Jewish community on
the statement, which we had
every reason to think was
sensitive to the theological
qualms we still had about
abortion."
But the Orthodox Union is
far from united on the ques-
tion of legal abortion. Some
leading members remain
staunchly anti-abortion from
a theological perspective, but
equally reluctant to allow
secular laws to guide matters
of reproductive rights. The
controversy over participation
in the brief fanned the fires of
conflict between the factions
— and encouraged Orthodox
Union representatives with a
more tolerant view of abor-
tion to come out into the
open.
Stories about the alleged
break in the Orthodox com-
munity over abortion provok-
ed an instant uproar, which
only intensified when it was
learned that the original
NJCRAC brief was changed
after the Orthodox group had
approved it. Although the
changes were relatively
minor, NJCRAC represen-
tatives conceded in a letter of
apology that they could have
been misconstrued to imply a
more progressive policy on
abortion on the part of the Or-
thodox group.
Also, according to several
sources, the Orthodox Union's

primary rival — Agudath
Israel of America — played a
role in publicizing the con-
troversy. Agudath Israel has
taken a hard-line against the
pro-choice position, and
recently filed its own brief in
the Webster case.
Several weeks ago, the Or-
thodox Union issued a state-
ment denying that its par-
ticipation in the brief
represented a change in their
Halachic position on
abortion.
"The bottom line," said a
Jewish activist close to the
Orthodox Union, "is that this
group's position on the legal
and political aspects of abor-
tion has never been clear.
We've gone along for years
evading the question. But the
controversy that all this stir-
red up — and the changes in
the NJCRAC brief — painted
us into a corner."

B'Nai B'rith
Tackles Latin
American Debt

Dan Mariaschin, B'nai
B'rith's director of public af-
fairs, is moving ahead with
plans for a major Washington
conference on the explosive
problem of Latin American
debt.
The event, scheduled for
sometime next January, will
bring together leaders of in-
ternational monetary agen-
cies, officials of the U.S.
foreign policy establishment
and representatives of a
number of Latin American
communities.
"This is just in the initial
stages," Mariaschin said,
"and already we are getting a
really surprising response.
This is an issue that the
governments in these coun-
tries feel very strongly
about."
Why is Latin American
debt a "Jewish issue?"
Mariaschin pointed to the
fragile existence of Jewish
communities throughout the
region. "The debt crisis is af-
fecting most of the hemi-
sphere," he said. "A deteriora-
tion in the situation suggests
a path toward instability —
and instability always
threatens Jewish com-
munities."
And a solution to the pro-
blem of the region's crushing
debt, he suggested, is a mat-
ter of simple justice.
"Encouraging democracy
and pluralism have always
been Jewish concerns,"he
said. "This is part of the

Jewish value system. And on
a more practical level, we
can't forget that these coun-
tries are right next door. We
simply felt it was important
for a Jewish organization to
get involved."

Jews Mourn
`Wonderful Friend'
Claude Pepper

Jewish activists on Capitol
Hill are mourning the loss of
Rep. Claude Pepper, (D-Fla.),
who died recently at the age
of 88.
Pepper, whose district con-
tained a high concentration of
elderly Jews, was known as
the "last of the New Deal
Democrats." In a congres-
sional career that began in
the 1930, Pepper worked
closely with Jewish groups on
a wide range of domestic
issues.
"He's been a wonderful
friend on a number of our
issues," said Sammie
Moshenberg, Washington
representative for the Na-
tional Council of Jewish
Women. "I can't help think-
ing that the best tribute to
him would be to pass the long-
term health care bill; that's
an issue he felt very strongly
about, and an issue that par-
ticularly affects the Jewish
community."
Pepper was also an early
supporter of civil rights
legislation, and he developed
a reputation of working effec-
tively with women's groups —
issues that continue to occupy
a prominent place on the
agendas of many Jewish
groups.

AJCongress
Leaders Meet
New Speaker

With the House of
Representatives in turmoil,
the American Jewish Con-
gress recently did some fancy
footwork to cement ties with
the new leadership.
On Tuesday, members of the
group's National Board of Ad-
visers was scheduled to meet
with Rep. Thomas Foley, (D-
Wash.), just minutes before
his election as speaker of the
house.
The meeting was arranged
by Steve Silbiger, the group's
Washington representative.
Silbiger, who worked closely
with Foley during his years as
a lobbyist for the labor move-
ment, moved quickly to line
up the new speaker.
The AJ Congress group was

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