Menu JTA Search

Unity Program Presented to Convention of Rabbinical Assembly

Proposals for the establishment of organic Jewish communities to meet the needs of each Jew which arise “as a result of his being a Jew,” were advanced tonight by Rabbi Ira Eisenstein at the 52rd annual meeting of the Rabbinical Assembly of America. He presented a paper prepared by the Committee on Jewish Unity which recommended establishment of “pilot plants” in a few Jewish communities to test the feasibility of the organic community idea.

The organic community concept, advanced by Rabbi Mordechai M. Kaplan, was endorsed by the committee. The plan for pilot plants provides for their supervision by national lay and religious organizations in cooperation with local communities. The needs to which such an organic community must minister, according to the committee report, are “fellowship, common tradition, education, ethical guidance, religious orientation and security.”

Philip Bernstein, associate director of the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds, told the meeting that “any effective program of Jewish unity must begin with the people themselves in the local communities. Unity must grow from the ground up. It cannot be imposed.”

Dr. Barnett R. Brickner, who agreed in substance with Dr. Kaplan’s approach, warned, however, that “major emphasis should be laid upon the ideological factors of faith in any plan leading toward unification.”

NEXT STORY