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Secular Jewish Leaders Rapped by Rabbi for Interfaith Dialogues

A top official of the Rabbinical Council of America, national organization of Orthodox rabbis, sharply attacked leaders of Jewish secular organizations today for engaging in religious doctrinal dialogues with the Christian community as a threat to the “unity and loyalties of the Jewish community.”

Rabbi Zev Segal, first vice-president of the Council told more than 500 delegates to the organization’s special religious convocation here that the secular leaders are “incompetent and unqualified to undertake such dialogues which, he charged, are a “disservice and damaging and undermine the religious commitment and the religious individualism which has characterized the Jewish community in its entire existence.”

Secular agencies, he said, “must cease this practice.” He urged them to “seek proper religious guidance in the selection of topics which are permissible and desirable,” and admonished them “at all costs, to avoid involvement in theological doctrinal issues.”

Rabbi Segal denied the contention of the secular agencies that a dialogue on the religious level is either necessary of effective in creating good relations between the religious communities. “On the contrary,” he said, “it tends to divide them still further when sensitive areas of beliefs are touched.” He emphasized that such dialogues would not result in a better understanding and good will between the Jewish and Christian religious communities.

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