Orthodox Rabbi Urges Creation of a United Orthodox Council
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Orthodox Rabbi Urges Creation of a United Orthodox Council

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The creation of a united Orthodox council embracing the major Orthodox groups in America, was urged at the 76th biennial convention of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America today. The 500 delegates attending the gathering also decided earlier to postpone until March a decision on whether to withdraw from the Synagogue Council of America. The group unanimously adopted a resolution calling on boards of Jewish education in the U.S. to make the study of the holocaust a major part of their curriculum.

Harold M. Jacobs, who was re-elected president of the UOJC, called in his inaugural address for the creation of a "united Torah community on this continent" leading to the eventual merger of the UOJC with the National Council of Young Israel "Let the great yeshivos and the great synagogues on this continent and let the Torah-minded organizations that flourish on these shores speak with one voice on the challenges which affect us all, and upon which we can all agree," Jacobs said.


After a stormy debate Friday, the delegates agreed to the appointment of a commission to report on March 1 on whether the UOJC will remain in the Synagogue Council. The Orthodox group suspended its participation in the Synagogue Council, an umbrella organization encompassing the lay and rabbinical arms of Reform, Conservative and Orthodox Judaism in America, as a con sequence of the bitter Who is a Jew controversy in Israel. The debate here revolved around the question of whether membership in the Council implied UOJC acknowledgement of the legitimacy of Reform and Conservative Judaism.

The Orthodox in the U.S. and Israel refuse to recognize the other two branches. But more moderate elements, whose views were expressed at the convention by Rabbi Norman Lamm professor of Jewish philosophy at Yeshiva University and City University. New York, contended that the UOJC should remain in the Council because "it is no great tribute to our institutional maturity that at every sign of crisis or controversy we threaten to pick up our marbles and go home."

More militant delegates, represented by Rabbi Yitzhak Kerzner of Toronto, demanded that "we refuse to belong to an organization which by its very definition implied recognition of three coequal branches in Judaism."

There was no controversy over the resolution to teach the younger generation about Nazi crimes. against the Jews. The resolution noted: "There is a whole generation which has arisen in the last three decades since the holocaust and they must be made to know what happened, not only as a monument to the dead but, more so. as a dedication to the living."

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