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Reform Rabbis Denounce Non-religious Trustees of Their Temples

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Five hundred Reform rabbis attending the annual convention of the Central Conference of American Rabbis heard a sweeping denunciation last night of temple trustees who openly boast of being non-religious.

Rabbi Samuel S. Mayerberg of Kansas City, Mo., recommended that directors of temples be selected on the basis of active religious consciousness and acceptance of the need for Jewish leaders to obtain all the Jewish knowledge possible. “Too frequently,” Dr. Mayerberg asserted, “the only requirement needed for administrative office is to have prestige and economic power.”

He rejected the idea of Israel as the Jewish homeland, asserting that Reform Judaism cannot countenance the attitude that the State of Israel is the inheritance of Jews everywhere, although adherents of Reform for the most part “would extol and happily aid” the state. However, Reform Judaism must, he insisted, “reiterate the religious nature of our status as a Jewish community and the American Jewish insistence that politically we are Americans and religiously we are Jews.”

Dr. Mayerberg also set off an intensive religious debate by proposing that Reform Jews eliminate as a holy day the last day of Passover and the eighth day of Succoth and substitute for the latter a new service around the idea and ideal of Simchas Torah. Considerable opposition was expressed by other rabbis to eliminating the last day of Pass-over but the suggested Succoth change received more favorable consideration.

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