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World Synagogue Council Told of Need for Rabbis in Latin America

The great need for rabbis in the Jewish communities in Latin American countries was stressed here today at the convention of the World Council of Synagogues by Rabbi Bernard Segal, executive director of the United Synagogue of America, central body of American Conservative Judaism. The World Council embraces Conservative congregations and has affiliates and associates in 22 countries.

Dr. Segal reported on the Rabbinical Seminary which the World Council helped to establish in Buenos Aires. He stressed the fact that the Jewish communities in Latin American countries depend on bringing rabbis over from other countries. The Seminary, he said, will train local students for the rabbinate, and thereby strengthen Jewish religious life not only in Argentina but also in other countries in South America. Rabbi Marshall Meyer, who was born in the United States and is now living in Buenos Aires, reported that the Seminary now has 23 students.

The prediction that the forthcoming Ecumenical Council, which opens at Vatican City in September, will adopt a pro-Jewish document was voiced at today’s convention session by Rabbi Harry Halpern, leading American Conservative rabbi. He warned, however, against being too optimistic about the contents of the document.

(In Rome, Chief Rabbi Elio Toaff today said that he did not intend to deliver any speech on the Ecumenical Council at the convention of the World Council of Synagogues in Mexico City, and that the organizers of the convention listed him on the agenda as speaker on the subject, “The Ecumenical Council and Its Meaning to Judaism,” without his knowledge. He made it clear that he was not participating in the convention.)

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