Reform Movement in Israel Demands Retraction from Goren

The Movement for Progressive Judaism said yesterday that it will take legal action for slander against Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi Shlomo Goren unless he retracts within 48 hours, a disparaging remark he allegedly made about a wedding ceremony performed by a Reform rabbi. “Legal steps will be taken,” said Rabbi Adi Assabi, director of the Reform movement in Israel, who officiated at the wedding of Karen Dickenstein 21, and Howard Levin, at Kibbutz Yahel last Sunday.

Dickenstein of Michigan, is a new immigrant to Israel. Levin, a recent immigrant to Israeli; is now doing his army service in the Israel Defense Force. The congregation at the wedding included the young members of the kibbutz, Israel’s sale Reform kibbutz and invited guests.

Goren was quoted as saying that the wedding “never happened” and also of asserting that the Reform rabbi “participated only in the folkloristic parts, not in the halachic parts” of the ceremony.

The Reform group demanded the retraction in a letter to Goren. A similar demand was made in a letter to the Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Eilat, Moshe Hedaya, who was a witness at the wedding and signed the formal marriage documents required by the Ministry of Interior. Hedaya was quoted in the press as declaring that he alone had officiated but had allowed Assai to read the “ketuba” (marriage contract).

CLAIMS DISTORTION OF TRUTH

The letter to Goren was signed by Chanan Meltzer, legal advisor to the Movement for Progressive Judaism. He wrote: “The Israel Movement for

“It is regrettable that the commendable willingness of Rabbi Hedaya to recognize the legitimacy of a wedding performed by a non-Orthodox rabbi in accordance with halacha should be distorted under the pressure of the Orthodox religious establishment which fears to admit the halachic fact that the movement to which a rabbi belongs has no bearing on the validity of any wedding that he might perform.”

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