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Mrs. Meir Receives Honorary Degree from Hebrew Union College

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Premier Golda Meir accepted an honorary degree here yesterday from Hebrew Union College, the seminary of Reform Judaism, and told an appreciative audience in the college chapel that she was “confident there will be no government crisis about it.” Mrs. Meir was referring indirectly to the bitter opposition toward the Reform movement by the Orthodox National Religious Party, a member of her coalition government. The Orthodox establishment in Israel refuses to recognize Reform rabbis and has tried to block their efforts to set up Reform congregations in Israel. Dr. Nelson Glueck, president of the American-based HUC which recently opened its seminary in Israel, addressed himself to that problem as he conferred an honorary doctorate of humane letters on the 73-year-old Israeli Premier. Dr. Glueck said, “We shall labor quietly but determinedly for complete freedom of religious practice here in Israel in all the phases of life and are confident that such freedom will eventually be established here for all Jews to exercise their religious feelings in accordance with their own traditions and Judgement.” Mrs. Meir’s acceptance of the degree was seen as an enhancement of HUC’s status in Israel in the face of the local rabbinate’s refusal to recognize it. “I am just daring enough to presume to say in the name of the whole government that we are happy you are here,” she declared as the audience burst into applause.

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