FALLSBURG, N. Y. (Jun. 22)
Criticism against those who predict a decline in American Jewish life was voiced at the annual convention of the Rabbinical Council of America here today by Rabbi Abraham AvRutick, president of the Orthodox rabbinical organization.
“The recent prophets of gloom regarding the survival of Judaism have committed great blunders and errors in failing to assess the inner resources of the Jewish community in the United States,” Rabbi AvRutick said in his presidential address at the convention. “If anything, American Judaism is undergoing a most spectacular renaissance in revitalizing fundamental institutions of education, social welfare and scholarly research of all types and descriptions.”
“American orthodoxy,” he continued, “is making tremendous strides in becoming a faith for the modern intellectual and business leader instead of relying on the senile, uneducated and poor elements for its sustenance. Over 300 all-day schools have been created by Orthodox Jews in recent years in every major city in the United States, and their current budgetary outlays for the total Jewish education is approximately at the $50,000,000 mark annually. There is no justification to fear the contraction or decline of current Jewish collective living in the United States in the near or distant future.”
The Rabbinical Council president also urged that interreligious cooperation between Christians and Jews in the United States the conducted on the basis of sound sociological doctrine rather than the complicated arena of theology. “The Ecumenical Council,” he said, “is proceeding along intelligible lines in attempting to formulate an interfaith platform and philosophy which reflects a mutual concern for the problems which confront all religious bodies in this world. The Rabbinical Council has always been concerned with the sundry representations which have been made to the Ecumenical Council by secular organizations who were completely unaware of the principles and implications of their body of suggestions. We made our views fully clear to the public and have had favorable effects.”
“This emphasis on sociological phenomena is salutary and constructive in paving the way for the strengthening of more desirable non-theological exchanges between historically different religious viewpoints. It is a healthy approach by recognizing the concept that Judaism is a vibrant faith in the contemporary state, and is determined to serve the Almighty in its distinctive fashion in the future,” the president of the Rabbinical Council stated.
The Rabbinical Council of America adopted a resolution last February which spelled out the principles of interreligious cooperation in terms of sociological accord and agreement rather than theological adjustment and merger of differences.
Rabbi Meir Felman, chairman of the convention, appealed to the convention platform committees and nominees of the Democratic and Republican parties to “commit themselves unequivocally and irrevocably to the preservation of the territorial integrity and sovereign inviolability of the state of Israel against all the Arab nations who are pledged to Israel’s destruction. It is essential for the world peace that American political leaders guarantee the progress of Israel as a viable state, both territorially, politically and economically,” he said.