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World Union of Progressive Judaism Meets in London; Reviews Growth

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The recent growth and development of Reform Judaism in many areas around the globe, outside the United States and Canada, was reviewed as the governing council of the World Union for Progressive Judaism opened its semi-annual meeting here today. Twelve countries, including the U.S.A., are represented at the parley, among the delegates being Reform leaders from Israel, France, Panama, South Africa, West Germany and Sweden.

The report on Israel showed that there are now six Progressive congregations in the Jewish State, a new synagogue is in the process of formation, and the Reform youth movement is growing. But more Reform rabbis and larger funds for the growth of the Reform trend in Israel were reported as a necessity.

The Latin American report showed that the long-established Reform congregations are continuing their activities in Argentina, Panama and Curacao; a second congregation was established last January in Argentina; and new congregations have been formed recently in Brazil and Guatemala. For the first time, the World Union has assigned a Reform rabbi to Mexico.

In Great Britain and Ireland, another report showed, there are more than 40 congregations affiliated with the World Union. In France, three congregations are functioning. Among the Reform institutions in France is the Institute International d’Etudes Hebraiques. Founded in 1955, the Institute graduates French-speaking rabbis and teachers. Holland boasts three Reform congregations, and other Reform congregations were reported functioning in Italy, Sweden, Switzerland and West Berlin.

Nine World Union congregations were reported continuing their growth in Australia and New Zealand. Fifteen “vigorous” World Union congregations were reported as located in South Africa and in Rhodesia. Among American rabbis playing a vital role in the World Union’s deliberations here are Rabbi Jacob K. Shankman, of New Rocheile, N.Y., president of the World Union; Rabbi Solomon Freehof of Pittsburgh; and Rabbi Maurice N. Eisendrath, president of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations.

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