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Reform Jews Criticized for Joint Jewish-christian Services

Leaders of Reform Judaism were denounced for sponsoring combined synagogue-church services by Rabbi Nisson Shulman, chairman of the annual convention of the Rabbinical Council of America; in on address at the closing session of the gathering of Orthodox rabbis here last week. Rabbi Shulman was referring to recent reports of Reform rabbis officiating with Christian clergymen in joint religious services amidst the display of religious symbols of bath faiths.

“It is a mockery to both religions,” Sbulman told the 300 delegates, “to combine the display of the Torah and the cross and thereby to confuse the symbolism of each. Interfaith harmony is not furthered by diluting the singularity and unique identity of two separate religious traditions Judaism is not Judaism if it allows for Christianity as its successor which the cross represents: Christianity is not Christianity if its predecessor faith still retains its binding validity. The distinctiveness of both faiths need not be compromised for the sake of illusory goals.”

Shulman said “great religious traditions are deserving of respect in their own right and they need not be homogenized with other faiths for the sake of intergroup amity.” He also criticized Reform rabbis for announcing a program of seeking converts to Judaism from Christian ranks.

Delegates adopted a resolution calling on the United States government to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The delegates also hailed the promise of the Canadian government to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

In another resolution, they urged Premier Menachem Begin and Jerusalem Mayor Teddy Kollek to cease work on a major sports stadium in Jerusalem in order to assure the “sanctity of Jerusalem, the Sabbath and all other sacred values that might be threatened by the stadium or any other similar endeavors in the Holy City. ” Rabbi Bernard Rosenzweig of Kew Gardens, N. Y., was, re-elected president of the Rabbinical Council.

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