Orthodox Rabbi Deplores Widespread Breakdown of the Jewish Family

Rabbi Walter S. Wurzburger, the newly-elected head of the Rabbinical Council of America, today deplored the widespread breakdown of the Jewish family which he claimed has reached catastrophic proportions. “This is the most formidable threat to Jewish survival facing us today.” he declared. Wurzburger, of Far Rockaway, N.Y., was unanimously elected as president of the Orthodox organization which is holding its 40th annual convention at the Pine View Hotel. He succeeds Rabbi Fabian Schonfeld.

In his acceptance address, Wurzburger cited studies which indicated that alarming numbers of Jewish marriages are being dissolved, in some area of the country approaching the shocking rate of four out of 10 marriages.

“This weakening of marital bonds is also surprisingly manifest among young Orthodox couples, though admittedly in lesser numbers,” Wurzburger stated. “That religiously observant and knowledgeable young people should be similarly affected is a shocking development. We have obviously failed in some vital areas of religious inculcation.

“That marriage as an institution is being rejected by increasingly large numbers who are choosing to remain single is an even graver problem. The very concept of an enduring marital commitment is under attack. Our social agencies have lately developed new programs to service this newly-developed group within the Jewish community, namely, the ‘Jewish singles.’ In the past, singlehood was regarded as a personal tragedy. Today, many choose it freely.”

RAPS ZERO POPULATION PROGRAM

Even many who marry, Wurzburger pointed out, “are failing to have children in appreciable numbers. The zero population program is being disproportionally observed among Jewish couples. The pursuit of personal careers and other indulgences are taking precedence over the traditional joy of family life and the transmission of the Jewish heritage to the next generation. This depletion of our ranks is a form of self-inflicted genocide.”

Wurzburger also called upon all segments of the Jewish community to join forces in an all-out campaign to combat the critical problem of intermarriage. “On many college campuses intermarriages have reached the astronomical proportion of 50 percent,” he said. “This trend must not be allowed to continue, lest the very fabric of Jewish life be uprooted.”

Recently-reported trends about intermarriages being condoned in the hope of retaining the goodwill of the Jewish partner are exceedingly disturbing, Wurzburger said. “It is an abdication of leadership for some liberal rabbis to participate in the consummation of such marriages, and there by, to lend their sanction and encouragement to this betrayal of Jewish identity. There can be no Judaism without Jews and intermarriages are inevitably destructive. To condone such marriages is to issue a license for group suicide.”

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