Convention of Conservative Jewry Adopts Code on Synagogue Practice
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Convention of Conservative Jewry Adopts Code on Synagogue Practice

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A set of standards for synagogue practice was unanimously adopted here today by the biennial convention of the United Synagogue of America, the first such code ever to be adopted by a national synagogues organization. The standards were formulated by the committee on congregational standards for the United Synagogue.

The first article of the standards instructs each congregation to look to its rabbi for authority on all matters of Jewish law and recognizes the committee on Jewish law and standards of the Rabbinical Assembly as the authority of the United Synagogue in such matters.

Other articles deal with the standards for Sabbath observance deemed appropriate for member congregations, with responsibility of the congregation to insure proper observance of kashrut at all functions under synagogue auspices, with the proper decorum to be observed at such essentially religious ceremonies as weddings which, according to the standards, are to be regarded as a means of furthering the teachings and values of Judaism.

Other problems of synagogue management and conduct dealt with in the code include the proper means of fund-raising, the code stating that congregations are not to engage in fund-raising activities which are not in keeping with the spirit of the synagogue; and the steps necessary to maintain the moral dignity of the congregation in regard to program planning.

The code also sets down the proper relationship to be maintained when two or more congregations exist in the same community, stating specifically that it is improper for one of the congregations to solicit either membership or staff from another congregation. Finally, provision is made for taking proper disciplinary action should any congregation fail to live up to the recommended standards as adopted by the convention.


Last night the convention announced the formation of a World Council of Synagogues and a pilgrimage to Israel in 1958 to break ground for a seminary center in Jerusalem. The World Council was approved in plenary session after a series of talks by Dr. Kurt Wilhelm, Chief Rabbi of Sweden, Rabbi Guillermo Schlesinger of Buenos Aires, David Freeman of Israel, Professor Mordecai Kaplan of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, and Dr. Bernard Segal, executor director of the United Synagogue.

Participating in the discussion were the other visitors from abroad– Rabbi Alfred A. Philipp of Jerusalem, Rabbi Lionel Singer of South Africa, Rabbi Everett Fondler of Mexico City, Dr. Charles Luehrmann, Grand Rabbi of Luxembourg, and Sefton Temkin of London. The resolution stated the purpose of establishing the World Council was to "stimulate religious life" and for the advancement of Torah in all parts of the world " It called for the establishment of a provisional committee for the purpose of implementing the resolution.

The Seminary Center which is sponsored jointly by the United Synagogue, the Jewish Theological Seminary and the Rabbinical Assembly will be a resident center for American students who wish to spend a year studying in schools and universities of Israel. The convention presented an award to Governor Theodore McClain of Maryland in recognition of his championship of human rights and human opportunities.

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