Wizo Bans Conservative Worship Services in Ashkelon Institution

A second recent case of a non-Orthodox congregation being barred from use of an organizational facility for worship services was reported here today.

The newly-formed Conservative congregation in Ashkelon has been informed by WIZO headquarters that it could no longer use a WIZO kindergarten for Sabbath services. The earlier case involved a refusal by the B’nai B’rith to allow use of a building in Tel Aviv by a new Reform congregation, a decision confirmed today by B’nai B’rith here.

The actions incensed non-Orthodox opinion in Israel. A typical reaction was a cartoon in Haarets, showing a medieval knight labeled “B’nai B’rith” and a medieval Lady WIZO, both on a horse, charging with a fixed lance at a couple praying in a Reform pew.

Meanwhile, Prof. Efraim Urbach, a noted talmudic scholar on the faculty of the Hebrew University announced today the establishment of a non-political “Torah Jewry Movement,” aimed at separation of religious affairs from party politics in this country. Prof. Urbach recently resigned from Hapoel Hamizrachi. He stressed that the new movement is not intended to become another political party but that, on the contrary, its aim is the “depolitization” of religious life and institutions.

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