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August 03, 1990 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-08-03

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


RCA Practicing '111cCarthyism,'
Liberal Orthodox Rabbis Claim


Special to The Jewish News


n assault on liberal
Orthodox rabbis has
been mounting
within the Rabbinical Coun-
cil of America, according to
prominent rabbis who have
compared the tactics being
used to the McCarthyism of
the 1950s.
Those tactics, the rabbis
say, include blacklists, a
committee investigating
"un-Orthodox" activities
and personal attacks on the
exponents of the liberal
theology known. as "modern
Two recent targets of
repressive activities who
confirmed the charges are
Rabbi Irving "Yitz" Green-
berg, president of CLAL, the
National Jewish Center for
Learning and Leadership,
and Rabbi Avi Weiss, spiri-
tual leader of the Hebrew
Institute of Riverdale and a
well-known political and re-
ligious activist.
Rabbi Shlomo Riskin,
founding rabbi of Lincoln
Square Synagogue and chief
rabbi of Efrat, a west bank
community, when asked if

Jonathan Mark writes for the
New York Jewish Week.

he agreed that there was
McCarthyism within the Or-
thodox world, said: "Yes, I
do. I think there's a right-
wing extremist mood
wherever you go now."
Rabbi Marc Angel, newly
elected president of the Rab-
binical Council of America,
the largest Orthodox rab-
binical group in the world,
confirmed that the RCA has
an un-Orthodox activities
committee known as the

"What sort of
hatred leads one
to misrepresent
and use
methods . . . to
destroy the
credibility of
someone else?"
Rabbi Greenberg

Va'ad HaKavod (the Com-
mittee of Respectability)
that investigates those who
are "considered not Or-
Rabbi Angel told the Jew-
ish Week that he par-
ticipated in secret hearings
held by this committee to
decide whether to expel
Rabbi Greenberg from the

organized Orthodox rab-
binate. Rabbi David
Hollander, a former presi-
dent of the RCA who says he
is "outraged" by Rabbi
Greenberg's positions, is an-
other who admits to being on
the committee.
Rabbi Greenberg, one of
the pre-eminent modern Or-
thodox philosophers, is
under attack for his efforts
to find common ground bet-
ween the Jewish denomina-
tions and his theological
essays on the Jewish-
Christian ecumenical pro-
cess. The rabbi is also under
fire for the activities of his
wife, Blu, a leader in the
movement to expand the
spiritual and ritual
possibilities for Orthodox
Though Rabbi Angel
claimed the Greenberg hear-
ings were not hostile or "a
witch hunt," Rabbi Green-
berg's friends in the RCA
advised him to protect
himself by seeking legal
Rabbi Angel's committee
also targeted the Fellowship
of Traditional Orthodox
Rabbis, a group founded in
1988 by rabbis who felt the
RCA was stifling dissent.
The FTOR says it seeks to
provide an Orthodox forum

Rabbi Weiss:
Told to resign.

Rabbi Greenberg:
Attacked for efforts.

"without fear or recrimina-
tion," and has supported
Rabbi Greenberg.
Rabbi Angel said he issued
an "ultimatum" to members
of the FTOR stating that
membership in the group is
incompatible with member-
ship in the RCA. The
ultimatum suggests a
blacklist aimed at the re-
quirements of Orthodox con-
gregations that a rabbi
cannot be employed if he "is
ineligible" for RCA mem-
bership. Loss of RCA mem-
bership would also affect the
halachic status of anyone
who then used the services of
these rabbis.

The blacklist would extend
to Israel, for example, since
Jews who convert under the
supervision of non-RCA
rabbis are considered not
Jewish according to those
who suggest a change in the
"Who is a Jew" law. The
Israeli government recog-
nizes only the authority of
RCA rabbis or those af-
filiated with more rigidly
Orthodox organizations.
Young modern Orthodox
rabbis who do not have
pulpits or security in the
rabbinic community told the
Jewish Week that they have
been warned by RCA in-
Continued on Page 10

program coordinator for
therapeutic recreation, just
completed training pro-
grams for three groups of
ticket agents and gate at-
tendants in how to properly
transport passengers on and
off aircraft, transfer them to
connecting flights and pro-
vide general assistance in
their travels.
Northwest officials say
several hundred disabled
passengers depart daily from
Detroit's Metropolitan Air-

written by graduates of the
Hebrew Union College-
Jewish Institute of Religion
The journal is the product
of a seminar, taught by Dr.
Eugene Borowitz, which
aims to evaluate what
Halachah, Jewish law,
teaches today's liberal Jews
about Jewish ethical duty.
Recently ordained rabbis
Judy Brazen, Susan
Freeman, Nancy Wiener and
Edward Elkin contributed
articles to the journal, the
second in an ongoing series
of publications. The inau-
gural volume, published last
year, focused on "Employee
Rights in a Situation of
Dismissal," "A Soldier's
Right to Refuse Orders" and
"Child Custody."
For information, contact
the director of ad-
ministrative services, HUC-
JIR, Room 406, 1 W. 4th St.,
New York, N.Y. 10012.


Pamphlet Focus
Is Soviet Jews
New York — Jews are
leaving the Soviet Union in
record numbers not because
they are afraid of state-
sponsored anti-Semitism,
but because they fear the
state is too weak to protect
them from anti-Semitic acts,
according to a new publica-
tion by University of Mich-
igan Professor Zvi Gitelman.
Anti-Semitism in the Age
of Perestroika, commissioned
by BIAS, the Hebrew Immi-
grant Aid Society, notes that
while Soviet Jews now enjoy
more cultural and religious
freedom than at any time
since 1948, they also
perceive themselves as more
vulnerable to anti-Semitism
since the openly anti-Semitic
campaigns launched that
same year.
"While some inside the
Soviet Union are exhil-
arated by the new freedoms
and opportunities they have
found, others are deeply

Soviet Jews protest in Moscow: A
fear of anarchy.

troubled by what they view
as a tendency toward anar-
chy, a loss of collective pur-
pose and social order,"
Gitelman writes. "The
former seek to expand the
opportunities, while the
latter are frightened by the
state's seeming abdication of
responsibilities, thrusting
them upon the people in-
The encouragement given
to individual initiative has
led to the creation of some
60,000 grass-roots organiza-
tions, among the the
virulently anti-Semitic
"Pamyat," Gitelman says.

Mikvah Directory
Is Available
The fifth edition of the In-
ternational Mikvah Directory
listing 450 mikvaot around
the world, is set to be printed
this fall.
The directory which names
more than 40 new mikvaot in
the United States and abroad,
includes the addresses and
phone numbers of mikvaot
worldwide. •
For inforamation, contact
Directory editor Arlene Eis,
140 Norma Rd., Thaneck, N.J.

Sinai Program
Aids Disabled
Northwest Airlines pas-
senger services represent-
atives are better trained to
service disabled passengers -
thanks to free instruction
from Sinai Hospital's
department of rehabilitation
Carol Mushett, Sinai's

Journal Explores
Ethical Issues
Should a synagogue accept
a donation from an in-
dividual of ill-repute in the
community? What is the
Jewish ethical obligation to
intervene in the life of an
These and other questions
are examined in the new
Reform Jewish Ethics and
the Halachah, an experi-
mental journal of papers

Compiled by
Elizabeth Applebaum



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