Reform Rabbis Hear Proposal for Jewish Synod

The annual conference of the Central Conference of American Rabbis closed last night after electing officers and hearing a proposal for creation of a synod council to “reintegrate liberal Judaism in this country and help to increase the number of adherents of reform.”

The proposal was made by Rabbi William F. Rosenblum of New York in the annual sermon to the conference. He suggested a synod council including delegates of the conference and the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, declaring, “The time has come to discard the policy of having each congregation autonomous and each rabbi his own authority.”

He declared that the conference’s re-statement of the principles of Reform Judaism must be “terse and cryptic as the Ten Commandments or the Thirteen Principles of Maimonides.” He stressed the necessity for the rabbi to follow “the voice of God and to be the interpreter of history and the prophet of the Lord.”

Dr. Felix A. Levy of Chicago was re-elected as president. Other officers re-elected are: Max C, Currick of Erie, Pa., vice president; Harry S. Margolis of St. Paul, Minn., treasurer; Rabbi Isaac E. Marcuson of Macon, Ga., recording secretary, and Rabbi Samuel M. Gup of Columbus, Ohio, corresponding secretary.

The following were added to the executive board: Rabbi Morton Berman and Rabbi Philip S. Bernstein of New York; Rabbi Abram Brill of Shreveport, La.; Rabbi Alvin Luchs of New Rochelle, N.Y; Rabbi Albert Minda of Minneapolis and Rabbi Samuel Wohl of Cincinnati.

New officers of the Hebrew Union College Alumni Association are: Dr. Abba Hillel Silver of Cleveland, president; Dr. Joseph L. Rauch of Louisville, Ky., vice-president; Rabbi Sidney Regner of Reading, Pa., secretary, and Rabbi Leo Feuer of Toledo, treasurer.

Deploring the strained relations between the United Palestine Appeal and the American Joint Distribution Committee, the conference voted to appoint a special conference committee to confer with leaders of these bodies to compose their differences. This action was take on the recommendation of the committee on the presidential message of Dr. Felix A. Levy, Chicago, which was delivered at the convention’s opening session, June 23.

The conference accepted, upon the recommendation of the committee, the following recommendations made by Dr. Levy in his address:

To appoint a special committee to study the implications concerned in making the Synagogue Council of America the representative body of American Israel and to report to the next conference;

To encourage the study and use of the Hebrew language in all congregation and religious schools;

To emphasize religion as opposed to secularism as central to the soul of Israel;

To endorse the resolution passed by the National Federation of Temple Brotherhoods opposing gambling in any form at events conducted under auspices of the Federation or any synagogal organizations.

Upon recommendation by the committee on resolutions, the conference accepted the following:

“To express its heartfelt sympathy through the Jewish Agency to the bereaved families now in sorrow in the ancient homeland through the outbreak against them in recent months and to express pride at the fine spirit of restraint and calm which has characterized the great mass of Palestinian Jewry during the crisis.”

“In regard to the Mexican situation with reference to oppressed religionists, we wish to voice our religious objection to the policy of any state which strikes at the very practice of religion. This stricture applies specifically to the treatment of Catholics in our sister republic of Mexico.”

Papers were read by Dr. Abraham Franzblau of the Hebrew Union College on “Re-orientation of Reform Religious Education,” and Dr. Emanuel Gamoran, Cincinnati, educational director Commission of Jewish Education, on “New Methods in Teaching Hebrew.”

The committee report on the re-statement of principles of Reform was voted to become the basis for future study and a report to be made at the next meeting of the conference.

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