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Detroit Jewish Center Leaders Take Issue with Conservative Rabbis

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Three Detroit Jewish Center leaders rejected today criticisms of the Jewish center movement by Conservative rabbis, terming the charges as based on “either lack of knowledge” or on a need to distort the facts.”

The criticisms were made at a symposium, the results of which were reported in “Conservative Judaism,” a publication of that movement. The reply was made in a letter to the Jewish News of Detroit by Charles H. Gershenson, president of the Detroit Jewish Community Center, and Samuel Frankel and Jacob L. Keidan, both former presidents.

The three Center leaders said that the repeated reference in the symposium to the fact that Jewish Centers receive Jewish communal funds “suggests the motivation” for the criticisms. To this, the three leaders replied that “the Center is subsidized by central Jewish community funds because it has a Jewish orientation which is much more encompassing than any of the denominational synagogue groups, because it serves many needs of a wide segment of the Jewish community, and because it is both responsible and responsive to that community.'”

They also declared that the focus of the Jewish Center movement is to give special emphasis “to informal educational, cultural and other group activities which have special Jewish group survival values.” They added that the Jewish Center believes that “the general personality development activities and the more specifically Jewish activities “are both integral parts of valid programing.”

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