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Reform Jews Dedicate 2nd Kibbutz in Israel

The World Union of Progressive Judaism dedicated its second communal settlement in Israel yesterday when Kibbutz Lotan became, officially, the eighth settlement in the Arava valley region of the Negev.

The new kibbutz of the Reform movement has an initial membership of 50, a third of them new immigrants from the United States and the rest native-born Israelis. It has been functioning for several months prior to the dedication.

Lotan will grow dates and such winter crops as onions, tomatoes and garlic. It also expects to raise cactus plants for export to Europe and, eventually to establish a factory to produce reading aids for physically handicapped persons.

Members of the new kibbutz will confront a problem indigenous to Israeli society when they decide to marry. They insist that their marriages be performed by a Reform rabbi. The State recognizes only the Orthodox religious establishment. A test will come later this month when 24-year-old Michael Rosenberg, of Los Angeles, plans to marry his Sabra fiance in a Reform service. A problem may arise when he seeks to have his marriage registered by the Interior Ministry.

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