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Louisville Congregations Plan to Bar Services for Unaffiliated

Louisville synagogues have taken the virtually unprecedented action of deciding to deny religious services to Jews who do not join a congregation, unless they cannot afford to do so. The move followed a survey of an inter-congregational committee which showed that there were approximately three Jews unaffiliated with congregations for every four affiliated.

A resolution adopted by the committee, and approved in short order by five of Louisville’s six Jewish congregations, would have the effect of denying to the unaffiliated such rabbinical and synagogue services as weddings, “brisses,” “bar mitzvahs,” funerals, religious school education and High Holiday services. The resolution today was awaiting ratification of Congregation Adath Israel before being put into effect.

The resolution states: “Resolved that the services of a religious institution and its rabbi be available to any unaffiliated, well able to be a member, only by the assumption of his proper obligation as a member of said institution.”

The inter-congregational committee reported, after a six-month survey, that 1,200 families were congregation members and approximately 900 were unaffiliated. The committee was headed by Dr. Bernard Schneider of Congregation B’rith Sholom.

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