View of Leading Jewish Scholarson ‘who is a Jew’ Published in U.S.

A book containing a compilation of responses by 45 leading Jewish scholars throughout the world to a question posed several years ago by then Premier David Ben-Gurion about Jewish identity has been assembled, financed and published by Baruch Litvin, an Orthodox Jewish resident of Mount Clemens.

Mr. Ben-Gurion posed the question as “Who is a Jew?” and in so doing touched off a world-wide Jewish debate. Mr. Ben-Gurion disclosed he had posed the question to the scholars. The compilation of “Jewish identity–Modern Response and Opinions,” was edited by Prof. Sidney Hoenig of Yeshiva University. A number of scholars assisted in translations of replies in Hebrew, French and other languages. The only Hebrew material in the book is a letter to Mr. Ben-Gurion from the late Chief Rabbi Isaac Halevy Herzog and another letter from Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik of Boston.

One of the scholars protested against the book’s publication and the former Premier Ben-Gurion withdrew his permission to allow the book to be published. After intercession with the former Premier by another Israeli leader, permission was restored. Shaul Litvin, son of the Orthodox Jewish lay leader, presented the first copy of the book to Mr. Ben-Gurion recently.

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