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New York (JTA) — Rabbi Shel-
don Zimmerman has been elected
by the Hebrew Union College-
Jewish Institute of Religion's
search committee to be the
Reform seminary's next presi-
In what the search committee's
chairman described as "a very,
very, very close vote," Rabbi
Zimmerman was selected over
Rabbi Peter Knobel on July 26.
The college's full board of gover-
nors is expected to approve the
Dallas rabbi as president when
it meets in October.
When Rabbi Alfred Gottschalk
retires from the college's presi-
dency, at an as-yet undetermined
time, Rabbi Zimmerman will
take the helm of an institution
with campuses in New York,
Cincinnati, Los Angeles and
Rabbi Zimmerman is the last
of the new, young heads of the
Reform movement's three central
institutions to be selected. The
other two are Rabbi Eric Yoffie,
who is president-elect of the
Union of American Hebrew Con-
gregations, and Rabbi Paul
Menitoff, the recently hired
executive vice president of the
Central Conference of American
They will be leading a move-
ment which is in the process of
redefining itself as something
very different than it once
Rabbi Zimmerman, a long-
time Reform pulpit rabbi and the
father of a son who is a Reform
rabbi in Maryland, is an 11th
generation rabbi. He was raised
as an Orthodox Jew.
He describes himself as "very
committed to observance."
In his final interview with the
16-member search committee, he
was asked: What changes would
you make at the college?
Rabbi Zimmerman's answer,
according to Stanley Gold, the
chairman of the search com-
mittee, was: "Torah, Torah,
Rabbi Zimmerman has long
experience as a national leader
in the Reform movement; he was
president of the denomination's
rabbinic arm, the Central Con-
ference of American Rabbis,
for two years beginning in
For the last decade the Toron-
to native has worked as the se-
nior rabbi at Temple Emanu-El
in Dallas, and was formerly the
rabbi of Central Synagogue in
New York City.
His close connection to the
working rabbinate was regarded
as an asset by the selection corn-
mittee, said Stanley Gold, who
also is the chairman of the col-
lege's board of governors.
Buenos Aires (JTA) — In an ap-
parent flip-flop of its nuclear sales
policy, the Argentine government
has decided to resume talks in
August for the sale to Syria of a
five-megawatt nuclear reactor.
The move comes after Argen-
tine Foreign Minister Guido di
Tella, duringa visit to Israel, said
his country would not proceed
with the sale if Israel objected.
Israeli officials have expressed
concern about the possible sale of
technology that could put Syria
"on the road to nuclear develop-
But following the foreign min-
ister's visit, sources at the Ar-
gentine Foreign Ministry said
Buenos Aires would pursue ne-
gotiations "on its own terms."
President Carlos Menem's gov-
ernment believes it is taking "all
steps to ensure the peaceful use
of any technological equipment
sold," one source said.
The officials, maintaining that
the reactor would be used for re-
search purposes only, flatly dis-
missed the possibility of canceling
the negotiations with Syria.
Di Tella, who during his trip
to Israel was questioned about
the negotiations with Damascus,
repeatedly gave the assurance
that his government would not
do "anything that could endan-
ger Israel's security."
But within days of Mr. di Tel-
la's assurances, Argentine offi-
cials said they had secured
American backing for the dis-
cussions with Syria.
Officials at the U.S. Embassy
in Buenos Aires would neither
confirm nor deny this, adding
that the State Department has
issued no official comment re-
garding the Argentine-Syrian ne-
On at least two prior occasions,
the United States effectively ve-
toed Argentine sales of technolo-
gies with potential military uses
to Middle Eastern countries.
In 1991, the United States
asked Argentina to block the sale
of a uranium refinery to Iran. The
contract for the facility had been
awarded by Teheran to INVAP,
the same Argentine state-owned
company now negotiating with
Shortly after, U.S. officials
blocked an Argentine project for
updating Scud missile technolo-
gy that was to be financed by
Egypt, Syria and Libya.
Ruben Beraja, president of
DATA, the umbrella political or-
ganization of Argentine Jewry,
maintained that the blocked sale
of the uranium refinery may have
provided a reason for Iran's al-
leged involvement in the July 18,
1994, terrorist bombing of the
Jewish community headquarters
building in Buenos Aires.