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April 19, 1991 - Image 33

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1991-04-19

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Meirovich, can best be de-
scribed as similar to the tra-
ditionalist Conservative
movement in North
America. He offered as an
example the movement's
decision not to ordain wo-
men rabbis at the semi-
nary's Jerusalem branch,
while recognizing the or-
dination of women rabbis
schooled in the Diaspora.
"We offer the intellectual
approach of left-wing Con-
servative, with its emphasis
on peoplehood, Hebrew and
culture, while maintaining
the ritual aspect of tradi-
tion," he said.
The Conservative move-
ment is hoping to attract
Soviet Jews through its Jew-
ish cultural curriculum
offered as optional studies in
Israel's secular school
system, and by giving Soviet
youngsters scholarships to
summer camp programs.
But the jewel in the crown
of the Conservative effort is
an adult education program
directed by Rabbi Meirovich
designed to create a core of
Jewishly knowledgeable
Soviet Jews who can, in
turn, impart their knowl-
edge to their fellow immi-
The program, which began
in September, attracted 150
applicants, of which 35 — in-
cluding Mr. Begun — were
selected. All 35 men and
women, each with at least
one college undergraduate
degree and demonstrated
teaching ability, meet for
five hours of class study each
Mr. Begun and nine others
of the 35, described by Rabbi
Meirovich as the "cream of
the crop," receive an addi-
tional 10 hours per week of
instruction, which is intend-
ed to lead to a full-time
masters program in Jewish
Rabbi Meirovich said
graduates of the program
will eventually be sent to the
Soviet Union to spread the
Conservative approach there
as well.
Mr. Begun, who also
publishes a Russian lang-
uage magazine in Israel and
works with former refusenik
Natan Sharansky on the
gamut of Soviet immigrant
problems, said Conservative
Judaism will also be attrac-
tive to those Jews who
choose to remain in the
Soviet Union.
"Orthodox is too restric-
tive for most Russian Jews,"
Mr. Begun said. "They need
to be allowed to question, to
doubt, to say there is no one
way. That is the background
they come from." ❑

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