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Convention of Orthodox Rabbis Hears Plea Against Ecumenical Dialogues

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Rabbi Pesach Z. Levovitz, president of the Rabbinical Council of America, Orthodox rabbinical body, called upon Jewish leaders and organizations engaged in ecumenical dialogues and interfaith discussion "to reassess and review the value of their participation in these programs.

Addressing the annual convention of the organization attended by some 600 rabbis. Rabbi Levovitz said that "all recent evidence seems to point to the essential inadequacy of interfaith exchanges," He cited the failure of the Christian community "to raise their voices in defense of Israel and its inhabitants when President Nasser issued a proclamation threatening the two-and-a-half million Jews of Israel,"

Asserting that "this silence bespeaks a failure of the ecumenical movement and interfaith and interreligious cooperation," he said "the ecumenical movement did not awaken the ethical conscience and spiritual foundations of the Christian community in arising to the overwhelming peril to Israel’s very survival."

Stressing that interfaith endeavors were "fundamentally one-way streets and do not result in bilateral benefits," Rabbi Levovitz declared: "It is our hope that Jewish agencies and officials will reexamine the significance of interreligious contacts and chart a new course for future relationships between American religious bodies based primarily on the solution of joint social and communal problems rather than generally theological concerns."

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