New Attitude Toward Jewish Religious Law Urged at Reform Conference

Reform Judaism must develop a new attitude toward Jewish Religious Law based on the premise that the objective is not to defend a legal system but to help Jews live a significant Jewish life under modern conditions, Rabbi Solomon Freehof of Pittsburgh, president-designate of the World Union for Progressive Judaism, declared here today.

“Jewish law even traditionally is case law rather than counsel, ” Dr. Freehof told the 400 delegates and accredited visitors from 20 countries attending the Union’s week-long conference. “We must carry on this process in the light of present needs and in the form of guidance rather than direction. “

“Large parts of Jewish Law have ceased to be observed by the great majority of Jews, ” he stressed. “This breakdown has gone much too far for it to be possible, even if it were desirable, to restore the Halacha in its entirety as Orthodox or Conservative Judaism would wish. ” Several other speakers called for the formation of an International Rabbinic Council under the auspices of the World Union which would give guidance in matters of religious practice.

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