NEW YORK (Aug. 30)
Israel’s recapture of Old Jerusalem and the consequent unification of Israel’s capital have indicated that Jewish theology will have to be “drastically rewritten,” Rabbi Richard L. Rubenstein, director of the B’nai B’rith Hillel Foundation at the University of Pitts-burgh, advised here yesterday. Along with Rabbi Balfour Brickner, director of interfaith activities for Reform Judaism in this country, and U.S. Senator Abraham A. Ribicoff of Connecticut, he was one of the featured speakers at the International Congress on Religion, Architecture and the Visual Arts, now in session in New York.
Until June 5, 1967, when the war in which Israel regained Jerusalem broke out, the dominant theme of Jewish theology was the same as it had been for the last 1,897 years — wandering and exile.” Rabbi Rubenstein declared. “Since June 5, 1967, the dominant theme has become homecoming. Diaspora Judaism since 70 C.E. must now be interpreted as the religious culture which kept alive the love of place and the hope of homecoming in the Jewish people while giving them the psychological strength to live as an endangered minority without inner deterioration.”
Rabbi Rubenstein said the recent developments in the Middle East indicate that a sacred home need no longer be viewed as one built for “a society largely dominated by wandering, nomadic professionals.” “I have chosen,” he said, “to live and create in my native land where I can only partly be at home. It is possible that in Israel I could be more at home and less able to create.” Rabbi Brickner advised that houses of worship should be situated in the centers of cities, dispensing various services to the surrounding communities. Sen. Ribicoff deplored trends that he viewed as diminishing the services of houses of worship “to the people who need them.”