ATLANTIC CITY, N. J. (Nov. 13)
A call for tolerance by the various branches of religious Jewry for each other’s denominational differences “without loss of respect for one another,” was voiced here tonight by Philip M. Klutznick, national B’nai B’rth president, at a convention of Orthodox congregational leaders. The current trend toward greater religiosity can be encouraged, he added, “if Jewish life is mature enough in its basic attitudes to accept denominational differences.”
Addressing the first session of the 60th anniversary national biennial convention of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations, Mr. Klutznick also warned against American Jewry’s splintering itself by “sectarian differences” among its Orthodox, Reform and Conservative groups. American Jewish religious leaders “must find the formulas for mutual respect without surrendering their denominational differences,” he said.
Accepting presentation of the Union’s first award for service to world Jewry–made to him and to the 115-year-old B’nai B’rith–Mr. Klutznick told the 1,000 delegates attending the four-day parley of the national association of traditional congregations of the United States and Canada: “This means respect for Orthodoxy and its practices by Reform and Conservative leaders and no less respect by Orthodoxy of the others. Enthusiasm for religious Judaism can be aspired by emphasizing the common beliefs and responsibilities that unite Jews rather than their differences.” He also urged intensification of religious education “so that spiritual Jewish life in America can grow in depth.”
Mr. Klutznick criticized those American Jews “who seek a vicarious fulfillment of their Jewishness through a reborn Jewish State 6,000 miles away. It is a disservice to Israel and to Jewish survival for American Jewry to express its Jewishness solely in terms of Israel’s needs.”
In the presentation of the service award, which was made by Moses I. Feuerstein, president of the UOJCA, the organization cited the 115-year-old B’nai B’rith and its president for “major contributions to the welfare of Jewry, for defense of Jewish rights service to humanity and the upholding of Jewish dignity.”