NEW YORK (Sep. 20)
Leaders of American Conservative Judaism today attacked Jerusalem’s two chief rabbis, Bezalel Zolti and Yosef Mashash, for forbidding participation in the High Holy Day services conducted by the Conservative movement. The two rabbis, in a statement Monday, said that any services held in the Conservative style would not be considered valid.
American Conservative leaders, in cables to Israel’s Premier Menachem Begin, President Yitzhak Navon and other Israeli leaders, called the Jerusalem rabbis’ statement a “distortion of Jewish law and tradition.” By their distortion, “they seek to introduce a destructive devisiveness into Jewish life.”
The Conservative leaders called upon the Israeli leaders, including Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Goren and Sephardi Chief Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, to condemn the Jerusalem rabbis “in the strongest possible terms and to call upon Jews to approach the New Year in the spirit of love and harmony and common purpose which benefits all.”
The cables were signed by Dr. Gerson Cohen, chancellor, Jewish Theological Seminary of America; David Zucker, president, World Council of Synagogues; Simon Schwartz, president, United Synagogue of America; Saul Teplitz, president, Rabbinical Assembly; Samuel Berlin, president, National Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs; and Goldie Kweller, president, Women’s League for Conservative Judaism.