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Conversion of Synagogue into Synagogue-center Urged at Rabbinical Assembly Parley

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A program of action to convert the Conservative Synagogue into a synagogue-center to combat the growing tendency of large sections of the Jewish population to regard the synagogue solely as a house of worship was outlined here today by Rabbi Israel M. Goldman, of Providence, president of the Rabbinical Assembly of America.

In his presidential address to the 47th annual convention of the Assembly, meeting at the Jewish Theological Seminary, Rabbi Goldman said that the rise of the Jewish center has weakened the role of the synagogue in the community and has resulted in a view of Jewish life as ethnic-cultural in character, rather than based on Judaism as a religious faith.

Rabbi Goldman suggested the following program to revitalize the synagogue as a community institution: Appointment of a committee to formulate a pronouncement on the central position of the synagogue in American Jewish life. Conversion of the synagogue into a synagogue-center through the construction of synagogue buildings that provide adequate facilities for meeting the varied needs of the Jewish community. Expansion of the synagogue staff to include an executive director, a director of Jewish education, a director of youth and club activities and a director of social and recreational programs.

Rabbi Goldman reported that plans were under way to convene at an unspecified date a conference of all national rabbinic and synagogal bodies to discuss ways and means of insuring the unimpeded progress of the synagogue. Such a body, he added, could also study means of bringing the Jewish chaplaincy under the aegis of religious agencies, as is the case with the Protestant and Catholic churches.

He also advocated passage of the Stratton Bill, which provides for the entrance of 400,000 DP’s to this country within the next four years and reiterated the Assembly’s support of Jewish statehood for Palestine.

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