Reform Rabbis Urge Jews to Have Larger Families

In an historic shift in the tradition of the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR), the organization of the Reform rabbinate today adopted a position paper suggesting that Jews have larger families “because there are simply not enough of us to be assured survival in succeeding generations.” The CCAR convention said that “while Reform Judaism approves birth control, we also recognize our obligation to maintain a viable and stable Jewish population. Therefore, couples are encouraged to have at least two or three children.”

There is an increasing awareness of the possibility that in 100 years, “only a few Jews will remain: all the others will have disappeared, victims of assimilation, mixed marriage, indifference, and a low birth rate.” Rabbi Jonathan M. Brown of Temple Israel in Long Beach, Calif., was the author of the paper.

ZIONIST GROUP ESTABLISHED

The CCAR today also voted to join with its congregational counterpart in the Reform movement, the Union of American Hebrew Congregations in creating a mass membership organization for Reform Jews who wish to join the World Zionist Organization. The new group is called the Association of Reform Zionists of America (ARZA).

ARZA chairman Rabbi Roland B. Gittelsohn of Boston, announced that a membership drive will be launched immediately. “We want to bring large numbers of our people to Zionism, particularly now when the unity of the Jewish people is paramount,” he asserted.

The CCAR convention received a telegram of greetings from President Carter in which he reaffirmed “my strong commitment to the integrity and security of the State of Israel and to a lasting peace throughout the Middle East.”

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