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ust a few miles from the pers returned to the hall and sat controversial and groundbreak-
Ebenezer Baptist Church, entranced as Rabbi Schindler, ing years.
where Martin Luther King crowning a 22-year term, sermo-
While at first describing aha-
Jr. and his father once nized for an hour and 25 minutes. vat Yisrael (the love for fellow
preached peace and justice, a He offered his farewell in the form Jews) as "the driving power of my
gathering of Reform Jews from of an ethical will, "a kind of love life," he later qualified the re-
across North America rekindled, letter from the past" touching on mark, renouncing what he
recommited and refreshed their the travails and triumphs of his termed "religious triumphalists
The fervent atmosphere
of the 63rd Union of Amer-
ican Hebrew Congregations
convention was not unlike
that of a Southern revival,
as delegates gathered en
masse to celebrate Shabbat
in prayer and song with two
services dedicated to Rabbi
JENNIFER FINER STAFF WRITER
Alexander M. Schindler,
s the 4,000-plus delegates con- has approached an age of matura-
who will step down as pres-
verged in Atlanta for the tion."
ident of the UAHC in June.
The conference marks a new chap-
Union of American Hebrew
Organizers turned the
Congregations' biennial as- ter in the Reform movement because
Atlanta Civic Center audi-
torium stage into a sembly, what gabbed the headlines it was the last for retiring UAHC
makeshift bimah, but it was in the secular press was news of the President Rabbi Alexander
the delegates and guests — movement's newly adopted resolu- Schindler.
"A change in leadership points to
tion regarding children of mixed mar-
some 5,000 strong — who
new direction," Mr. Tushman said,
sanctified the scene, singing riages.
The proclamation, which encour- referring not only to Rabbi
melodies until just before ages temples to exclude from reli- Schindler's departure, but the new
gious school children whose parents leaders in the Central Conference of
midnight Friday evening.
No fewer than eight provide formal religious education American Rabbis and the Hebrew
acoustic guitarists in the gentile parent's religion, nar- Union College-Jewish Institute of
Religion. "This comes at a time
strummed on the stage, ex- rowly passed.
"It's unfortunate this is the only where, as in all other organizations,
tracting memories and
thing in the pa- we're looking toward the 21st cen-
melodies from an audience
pers," said Allan tury."
of Jews who came of age at
Rabbi Harold Loss of Temple Is-
UAHC summer camps in
dent of the Met- rael said, "People come home with
the 1960s and '70s. Jumbo
ropolitan Detroit added enthusiasm to help their own
video screens provided
Federation of Re- institution and the broader commu-
lyrics and close-ups of the
Syna- nity. One of the nice things about
oneg songfest, which could
gogues, who these conventions is you leave rec-
have been dubbed
went to Atlanta. ognizing you may already be doing
"There were so a lot of things right."
On hand to ignite their
As for the resolution on educating
passion were Rabbi
children of mixed marriages, Detroit
Schindler's cousin, Metro-
During the participants differed in their votes
politan Opera star Roberta
five-day convention, participants, in- and opinions on the matter.
Peters, and singer-song-
Mr. Tushinan said he saw the
cluding representatives from each of
writer Peter Yarrow of Pe-
ter, Paul and Mary, who led the Detroit area's eight temples, en- good and bad side of the resolution.
a children's chorus in a ren- gaged in debate over whether to "Conceptually, the idea isn't bad," he
dition of "Light One Can- change the name of the Union of said. "But a procedure for enforcing
dle," his Chanukah-themed American Hebrew Congregations it is not going to work out."
(the measure failed). They partici-
anthem to Jewish justice.
voted for the reso-
He also sang a medley of pated in the numerous workshops.
lution. "If families
civil rights retro-classics, And they met with some of the new
identify as Jewish,
teaming with Ms. Peters for leaders in the Reform movement, in-
they need a firm
a folk-opera rendition of cluding incoming UAHC President
foundation and a
"We Shall Overcome."
The biennial, which sets the tone
solid base," he said.
So exhausting and ful-
of the movement's more than 850
"I can see why fam-
filling was the three-hour-
ilies would want to
plus service, it led many congregations, began on Nov. 28 and
expose their chil-
who trudged back to their ran through Dec. 3.
dren to two reli-
"It was not the most dynamic or
hotels to wonder how any-
gions, but (based
thing could top it on Satur- significant biennial, but it's impor- Rabbi Steinger
on the research)
tant because this is a pivotal time,"
they're not doing themselves or their
But as a warm, clear said Rabbi Lane Steinger of Temple
children any favors." ❑
morning broke, worship- Emanu-El. "The Reform movement
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A gala concert, a forbidden wedding and passionate addresses marked
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