Reform Rabbis Criticize Community Activities of Non-jewish Nature
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Reform Rabbis Criticize Community Activities of Non-jewish Nature

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Reconsideration of the need for Jewish hospitals and schools which serve no specifically Jewish function was urged here today at the national convention of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, which represents that Reform rabbinate. Rabbi Morris Lieberman, of Baltimore, in a major address, said that “efforts to maintain unnecessarily, or belatedly to initiate, within the Jewish community activities of non-Jewish nature are evidences of a cultural lag which run counter to the emerging patterns of American Jewish life.”

A seven-point statement on the moral level of our day submitted by the Commission on Justice and Peace was adopted today by the 400 rabbis in attendance. The statement contained 10th birthday greetings to the United Nations, gratification that individual congregations are stepping up programs of social action, a plea for revision of the security laws, proposals for Federal funds to combat dread diseases other than polio, and the hope that the Supreme Court will ultimately ban faceless informers.

The formation of a new organization, the National Association of Temple Educators was authorized today at the annual meeting of the Commission on Jewish Education, in which the Conference and the Union of American Hebrew Congregation are joined. The new organization will be open to educators in reform congregations.


Jews often make the best parents but the worst in-laws, observed Dr. Henry Kagan a rabbi-psychologist, in a workshop on pastoral counselling. The trouble is caused by the inability of some parents to know when to “relinquish possessiveness” of their children. Dr. Kaman urged rabbis to devote more of their time to helping congregants solve personal problems.

Meanwhile, vigorous opposition has developed at the convention to a proposal put forward by Rabbi Barnett R. Brickner, president of the Conference, that women be ordained as rabbis. There is a possibility that his proposal that the organization under-take a study of the fitness of women for the rabbinate will be rejected following the debate on the subject scheduled to be held tomorrow.

While a number of Reform rabbinical leaders including three former presidents of the Central Conference have expressed approval of the suggestion, others–such as Rabbi Solomon Freehof, also a former president–feel that this would represent “too great and too needless a break with tradition.” The feeling that such a development would widen the gap between Reform and the other branches of religious Judaism was expressed by Rabbi David J. Seligson, past president of the New York Board of Rabbis.

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