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October 20, 1989 - Image 46

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-10-20

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FTOR Attracts 'Centrist' Rabbis
Committed To Jewish Tradition


Features Editor


Beada Beada Inc.
4203 Rochester

Royal Oak, Mi. 48073

313 - 5858340




Local and Nationwide

(313) 626-9050

29594 Orchard Lake Rd.
Farmington Hills, MI


46 • FRIDAY, OCTOBER 20, 1989


hirty-five years ago
Rabbi Sherman Kir-
shner sat across from
a Hebrew Union College pro-
fessor who said that within
his generation Judaism
would comprise only two
Today, Rabbi Kirshner is
making the same prediction.
In the coming years, Reform,
Conservative, Reconstruc-
tionist and Orthodox will be
replaced by Traditional and
Liberal, he says.
Rabbi Kirshner, head of
Congregation B'nai Israel of
West Bloomfield, will stand
in the Traditional camp. He
believes so strongly in the
concept of Traditional
Judaism, which he describes
as centrist and "following
the traditions" of the
religion, that he has become
an active member of the
Fellowship of Traditional
Orthodox Rabbis (FTOR).
Based in Kansas City, the
FTOR was established two
years ago for rabbis com-
mitted to Halacha but who
opposed the right-wing
orientation of some members
of the established Orthodox
community, according to an
FTOR statement. More than
100 rabbis, including Mor-
ton Yolkut of Congregation
B'nai David and Allen Blus-
tein of Sinai Hospital, are
members of the fellowship.
Rabbi Kirshner serves as
membership chairman of the
FTOR and, during the
group's recent conference in
Connecticut, was named co-
chairman of a project to
create a national organiza-
tion of constituent congrega-
Although they come from
diverse backgrounds and
religious practices, all FTOR
rabbis hold Orthodox smicha
(ordination). While divided
on issues such as the use of a
mechitzah, the curtain
separating men and women
during religious ceremonies,
fellowship members are
opposed to counting women
in a minyan and allowing
women to read from the
Torah, Rabbi Kirshner said.
While most FTOR rabbis
serve at Orthodox congrega-
tions, a number come from
Conservative synagogues.
The latter take issue with
recent decisions by the Con-
servative leadership to or-
dain women rabbis and can-
tors, Rabbi Kirshner said.

Yet the rabbi stressed that
the FTOR takes seriously
women's interest in worship.
At its convention, the
fellowship reaffirmed its
support for the right of
women to conduct their own
services at the Kotel, while
board member Rabbi
Avraham Weiss of Brooklyn
spoke of women's prayer
groups at his synagogue.
The FTOR also supports
coeducational instruction in
Jewish schools and opposes
any change in the Law of
Return, which stipulates
that only individuals con-
verted to Judaism according


to Halachah may become
Israelis citizens.
"It's not that we support
Orthodox conversions,"
Rabbi Kirshner said. "But
there's a correct way and an
incorrect way to do a conver-
sion. We support the correct
Among the FTOR's upcom-
ing projects are expanding a
committee to place its rabbis
in synagogues throughout
the United States. The
fellowship already has plac-
ed five rabbis and received
requests from many other
congregations, Rabbi Kir-
shner said. ❑

New Reform Guide
Stresses Faith, Ritual

A new emphasis on tradi-
tional Jewish ritual and sym-
bolism, representing a depar-
ture from former policies and
practices of the Reform move-
ment, is reflected in a new
book published by the Union
of American Hebrew Con-
gregations, the central body
of Reform Judaism.
Every Person's Guide to
Judaism; by Stephen Eins-
tein and Lydia Kukoff, is a

Every Person's
Guide to


the Jewish community. It in-
cludes chapters on the Jewish
calendar, the Sabbath and
festivals, Holocaust Membrial
Day and Israel Independence
Day. It also contains chapters
on the Jewish community,
entering the covenant
through birth or conversion
and establishing a Jewish
Rabbi Einstein is head of
Congregation B'nai Tzedek in
Fountain Valley, Calif. Kukoff
is the director of the Joint
Commission on Outreach of
the UAHC and the Central
Conference of American
For information, contact,
the UAHC Press, 838 Fifth
Avenue, New York, N.Y.
10021; telephone (212)

Temple Slates
Debate On Drugs


The UAHC's 'Guide To Judaism'

195-page primer of Jewish
life, introducing basic Jewish
concepts and practices and
making Judaism accessible to
the general reader.
"This book is not simply
about customs and cere-
monies," the authors point
out in their introduction. "Its
focus is the deep connection
between Jewish theology and
Jewish living. Judaism is not
merely a religion: • It is a
system that suffuses the life
of its adherents."
The guide explains the wide
range of customs and
ceremonies existing within

The Birmingham Temple
will present the third in a
series of three programs for
the Symposium 1990 titled
"A Debate: The Decriminal-
ization of Drugs" 8:30 p.m.
Featured guests will be
Howard Simon, director,
American Civil Liberties
Union — Michigan, PRO; and
Rep. John Conyers, CON.
There is a charge.

Service Is Set

Temple Emanu-El will hold
its Simchat Torah Consecra-
tion Service 7:30 p.m. today.
All first-grade students will
be consecrated. A dinner for
students and their families
will precede the service.

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