Menu JTA Search

Black Jew Says Israel Would Be Right in Rejecting Black Jews Planning to Emigrate

SIGN UP FOR THE JTA DAILY BRIEFING

A black Jew converted halachically four years ago said today that Israel would be “justified” in rejecting as Jews a 70-member black Jewish New Jersey community that is planning to emigrate en masse to that country. Avraham Coleman of Brooklyn, who runs a commercial collection agency in Manhattan, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the claims of Jewishness of the black community of Elmwood, N.J., were “invalid.” Mr. Coleman, who addressed the convention here of the Rabbinical Alliance, told the JTA that the community, including Rabbi Abel Respes of Adat Beit Moshe synagogue, “come from Christian backgrounds,” and that “even white Jews would be rejected on this basis.” Black Jews like himself who have “proof of halachic conversion” have been accepted by the white Jewish community “without any incident at all,” he said. He charged that Rabbi Respes’ parents were married in a Christian church. Mr. Coleman said that two of his children, aged 6 and 8, were enrolled in Brooklyn’s United Lubavitcher Yeshiva, and a third, aged 4, in that institution’s Bat Rivka School.

Rabbi Abraham Gross, president of the Rabbinical Alliance, told the 300 Orthodox rabbis attending the convention they must act to make known to all Jews that abortions are banned by Jewish Religious Law, except in cases of health requirements and with approval from “a competent rabbi.” Referring to the fact that New York State’s abortion law, the most liberal in the nation, became effective on July 1, he commended the New York City Health Department for ruling that a death certificate must be issued in connection with each abortion performed in the city. Rabbi Gross warned that the growing liberalization by states of abortion control laws would soon become another factor in the declining Jewish population. He reported that the Rabbinical Alliance had sent letters to the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America and to its rabbinic adjunct, the Rabbinical Council of America this week, urging the two organizations to quit the Synagogue Council of America. Rabbi Gross said that his group also had asked the Rabbinical Council to forbid its members to belong to the New York Board of Rabbis. Both agencies have Orthodox, Conservative and Reform members. He declared that the continued association of a “segment” of Orthodox rabbis and synagogues with such umbrella groups had led to the “false recognition” of non-Orthodox rabbinical and lay leaders. He added it was “unthinkable” not long ago for Reform and Conservative rabbis to ask that their rulings on matters of halacha be recognized. The delegates called on the Nixon Administration to “stop procrastinating” on selling Israel the additional jet planes it has been seeking. The resolution said that until peace came to the Middle East, Israel needed additional planes and other arms to protect itself, particularly in view of the expansion of Soviet military influence in the area.

NEXT STORY