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Rabbinical and Lay Groups Urged to Unite As Tannersville Parley Opens

Predicting a more comprehensive and unified organization of Jewish communities, President Simon Greenberg suggested to the opening session of the Rabbinical Assembly’s thirty-eighth convention today that rabbinical and organized lay groups unite to make the voice of religion heard in the organized Jewish community.

No group can be truly representative of the American Jewish community which does not include representatives of organized religious life, Dr. Greenberg said in his presidential message to some 100 Conservative rabbis gathered at the Fairmount Hotel, as he discussed the Pittsburgh agreement for coordination of Jewish defense activities.

The executive committee, Dr. Greenberg reported, recently pointed out to the groups acting to achieve unity the necessity of religious representation. He said the action was intended “as a check on the dangerous tendency to secularize Jewish life and to remove from the councils guiding Jewish destiny the voice of the only factor which gives meaning and content to the Jewish struggle for survival — the voice of the Jewish religion as expressed in its visible and organized aspect.”

Dr. Greenberg praised the bravery and self-restraint of Jewish pioneers in Palestine, and expressed the hope that “Arab friendship will ultimately be won by a consistent policy of good will.” He pledged the Assembly’s “continuing and untiring support” to Palestine, and said: “Let us spare neither ourselves nor our resources in our efforts physically and spiritually to sustain those who are building Israel’s future in Eretz Yisroel.”

Discussing persecution of Jews in Europe, Dr. Greenberg hailed President Roosevelt’s convoking of the Evian refugee-aid conference and the friendly attitude of the Labor Department in admitting refugees. “These actions, we hope, presage the return of America to her great tradition of the past as defender of the persecuted and the refuge of the oppressed,” he said.

The Committee on Jewish Law has decided not to proceed for the present with the work of implementing the previously-adopted resolution for solving the problem of the “Agudah” (deserted wife) by permitting a dissolution of marriage, reported Dr. Julius Greenstone. The action was taken because of opposition within the committee, he said. Dr. Louis Epstein, proponent of the reform, is now abroad to ascertain the views of rabbinic authorities in Europe and Palestine on the proposed solution.

A proposal that the Zionist Organization of America amend its constitution to permit group membership of synagogues was made by Rabbi A.M. Heller, reporting as chairman of the Committee on Palestine. He said that such affiliation “will greatly enhance the Zionist movement in this country.”

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