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Rabbi Starts Movement to Eliminate Sectarianism in Jewish Religious Life in U.S.

A movement to eliminate sectarianism in Jewish religious life in America and to establish a “universal synagogue” was launched today by Rabbi Reuben Kaufman, spiritual leader of a new Jewish congregation here known as Congregation Beth-El.

“The time has come for the reorientation of Jewish religious philosophy,” Rabbi Kaufman said. “The time has come to scrap the labels ‘Orthodoxy, Conservation, Reform, Reconstructionism and what-have-you’ in Jewish religious life. With the exception of minor local customs which exist even today among Jews coming from various parts of the world, there are no issues of serious character that warrant the fragmentation of Jewish congregational lives into sects which only create confusion and chance and befog the minds of the people as to what is or is not Jewish practice or Jewish law.”

Rabbi Kaufman, who served as rabbi of Temple Emanu-El here for 20 years until his retirement in 1948, explained that his new congregation plans to follow the “traditional Jewish religion, which goes back before the Reform movement began in Germany in 1800.”