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Convention of Reform Rabbis Hears Pros and Cons of Ecumenical Trends

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Dr. Jacob R. Marcus, noted Jewish historian, addressing the 76th annual meeting of the Central Conference of American Rabbis here, said he hoped that the success of the current ecumenical processes in both Roman Catholicism and Protestantism would for the first time in history bring Jews and Christians together in an almost Messianic sense.

On the other hand, he observed that by uniting all of Christendom in America, it could well result in a de factor establishment of Christianity in this country. He expressed the fear that this could endanger the current religious balance in the United States and force the Jew into a minority status which would present renewed dangers to his religious liberty.

We ought not to forget that the first time Christianity became the monopolistic faith of a great empire that was in the Fourth Century Roman citizens who happened to be Jews found themselves after two centuries second class subjects of a medieval state.

The Jewish historian said he thought that the dangers to Jews under a Christian majority would manifest themselves through direct federal aid to church-sponsored schools and a return of prayers into the public schools. He urged the members of the CCAR, at this meeting, to continue to press for the strict separation of church and state in this country and not to give in on the slightest deviation of this doctrine. He said he felt that the current federal aid bills before the House and the Congress present a greater to our liberties than we think.

Dr. Marcus said the Christianization of the these United States will only immure us Jews more firmly–though comfortably enough behind unwalled ghettoes with their automated bowling alleys and kosher snack bars. He added, however, that the need for group identification would see a number of positive aspects for the Jew. “Jewishly, the intelligent child in the religious school will know more about the development of Jewish history and Judaism than even the medieval Rashi or Maimonides could have known,” he declared.

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