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Woman’s Demand for Lenient Halacha Splits Association

A split has developed within the 102-year-old Anglo-Jewish Association over whether it should support a petition recently sent to rabbinical authorities all over the world by the International Council of Jewish Women appealing for measures to relieve Jewish women from certain personal hardships caused by rigid interpretations of halacha. A meeting of the AJA’s Council where the petition was to be discussed was cancelled without explanation last week. It was disclosed later that both the Chief Rabbi and the Haham, head of the Sephardic community, and other Orthodox members of the Council, objected to a discussion.

But a large body of members insists that the AJA must not dodge the issue and should come out in support of the petitioners. The women have asked for the convening of a rabbinical assembly to study the problem with a view to alleviating the position of women who want to observe religious law but suffer because of its many archaic provisions. The AJA is a non-sectarian association of British Jews established to promote good citizenship and Jewish education. Originally anti-Zionist, it is now non-Zionist but supports Israel.

The tiny Jewish community of Brasilia has begun the construction of a Jewish center building and synagogue in the residential quarter of Brazil’s capital.

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