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August 25, 1989 - Image 26

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-08-25

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

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26 FRIDAY, AUGUST 25, 1989

Jerry and Jacqui Kaufman are burning their bridges behind them.

- has traditionally represented.
Unlike United Synagogue,
which is composed of con-
gregations, the UTCJ is made
up of individual rabbis and
congregants. The UTCJ op-
poses women reading from
the Torah, being counted in a
minyan and serving as
cantors.
"The formation of the
UTCJ in 1983 was
-precipitated by the issue of
women's ordination, but this
was only a part of a broad
spectrum of issues," says Rab-
bi Bruce Ginsburg, vice presi-
dent of the UTCJ. "We iden-
tify ourselves with classical
Conservative Judaism, an
open approach to halachic in-
terpretation."
UTCJ members feel Conser-
vative Judaism has drifted
from its initial concept of a
consistent, comprehensive ap-
proach to Halachah, and that
halachic problems in the
movement are often overlook-
ed for the sake of politics.
Among the UTCJ's
criticisms is the manner in
which the issue of women's or-
dination was handled. Rather
than follow the majority opi-
nion of the Rabbinical
Assembly's Committee on
Law and Standards, the staff
of the Jewish Theological
Seminary — including non-
halachic experts — made the
decision.
The UTCJ also objects to
the new Siddur Sim Shalom,
described as the "Conser-
vative prayer book." The book
was not submitted to the
Committee on Law and Stan-
dards before publication, and
many rabbis have found

halachic problems with omis-
sions from the book.
According to Rabbi
Ginsburg, the UTCJ was in-
itially a lobby within the Con-
servative movement, "the
loyal opposition determined
to bring Conservatism back
to its roots."
But that role has changed,
and the UTCJ no longer
works to change the
movement.
"We're not trying to 'fix' the
movement any more," he says.
"While we have not divorced
ourselves from the rest of the
movement, we are indepen-
dent in terms of ideology."
Responses to the UTCJ
have been mixed. Jewish
Theological Seminary Vice
Chancellor William Lebeau is
delighted the Union exists.
"Conservative Judaism is
based on pluralism. Affilia-
tion with the Union gives a
voice to those who wish to
make a statement about the
clear positions that they
take," he says.
B'nai Moshe's Rabbi
Meyerowitz is less en-
thusiastic. "While it can play
an important function by
reasserting traditional
values, I am opposed to the
UTCJ because it is breaking
away from the rest of the
movement."
Although the UTCJ's
Ginsburg maintains that the
Union does not want to create
an independent movement,
Beth Achim's Rabbi Arm feels
that may be inevitable.
"We may see a new move-
ment called the Traditional
movement," he says. He
believes an amalgamation

may form between the
Fellowship of Traditional Or-
thodox Rabbis and the Union
for Traditional Conservative
Judaism because both are
responses to extremism
within their respective
movements, he says.
Beth- Shalom's Rabbi
Nelson dismisses the
possibility of a split in the

Most
Conservative
Jews agree that
until recently
the leadership
of the
movement has
had difficulty
conveying
commitment to
Halachah to
the average
member.

movement. "Remember, 60
years ago having men and
women sit together was a
watershed decision that
almost ripped the movement
apart," he says. "This, too,
shall pass."
Dissension within the
movement is not the only
threat to Conservatism.
"If Judaism is to grow,"
Rabbi Nelson says, "there has

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