HUC-JIR Hit Denial of Seat to Reform Rabbi on Jerusalem Religious Council

The Board of Governors of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion has denounced the denial of a seat on the Jerusalem Religious Council to Rabbi Moses C. Weller as “a travesty as well as an affront to the Reform and Progressive Movements in Judaism.” Rabbi Weller, a member of the Movement of Progressive Judaism, had been selected by Israel’s Independent Liberal Party to represent it on the Jerusalem religious body. But his appointment was summarily cancelled last month by Religious Affairs Minister Yitzhak Rafael who overrode the previous approval of his Ministry’s director general.

“The sole reason given was Dr. Weller’s membership in the Movement of Progressive Judaism,” the HUC-JIR Board of Governors said in a resolution adopted at a recent meeting. The resolution cited “Rabbi Weiler’s respect for other expressions of faith among all our brothers in the House of Israel” and noted that “He has concretized his love of Israel by aliya and by personal sacrifice and the loss of his two beloved sons in the struggle for Israel’s survival. Rejecting him on the grounds given is a travesty as well as an affront to the Reform and Progressive Movements in Judaism which number 1,250,000 souls in Israel. America and throughout the world,” the resolution said.

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