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December 02, 1994 - Image 31

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1994-12-02

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

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a new one is that the constituent
organizations want new ground
rules. There will not be the same
ability of one organization to veto"
a decision, he said.
One oft he most controversial
elements of the Synagogue Coun-
cil's procedures — and some say,
the element that paralyzed it —
was the right of any one of its con-
stituents to veto a proposal.
In addition, one of the council's
ground rules has been that the
council cannot address anything
theological in nature, an issue of
concern for the Orthodox.
The non-Orthodox members
say that the veto was most often
used by the Orthodox. Schonfeld
says that in his 32 years of par-
ticipating in the Synagogue
Council, it was used mostly by
the Reform and Conservative
members, and "maybe once" by
the Orthodox.
According to Rabbi Mordechai
Liebling, executive vice president
of the Federation of Reconstruc-
tionist Congregations and
Havurot, the movement applied
twice for membership to the Syn-
agogue Council, and was twice
vetoed by its Orthodox members.
"The Synagogue Council was
an artificial organization because
the Orthodox maintained a stran-
glehold over it, not allowing any
substantive discussion and pre-
venting any real interfaith dia-
logue," said Rabbi Liebling.
"The Synagogue Council was
an empty shell functioning as a
symbol of Jewish unity that re-
ally didn't exist," he said. "We
would be happy to be part of any
liberal synagogue coalition." One
Orthodox Synagogue Council rep-
resentative wished the new or-
ganization luck, but did not
indicate an interest in partici-
pating.
"If they succeed, fine," said
Rabbi Schonfeld.
The Synagogue Council has
long been plagued by financial
troubles.
Each of its constituent agen-
cies is supposed to contribute sev-
eral thousands of dollars a year
in dues, with some other funding
coming from Jewish federations
and private contributions.
The Synagogue Council's 1994
budget was about $200,000, said
Rabbi Lookstein, which is con-
siderably lower than its operat-
ing budget of recent years, when
it hovered at about $400,000 per
year.
Rabbi Lookstein said that the
Synagogue Council has debts of
about $100,000, in part owed to
the Jewish fraternal organization
B'nai Zion, which has rented the
SCA space in its brownstone on
Manhattan's East Side.
Other sources, including Rab-
bi Schgnfeld, estimate the debts
to be closer to $200,000, includ-
ing severance pay and "private
obligations to individuals" who
loaned the foundering organiza-
tion money, he said.

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