FALLSBURG, N.Y. (Jun. 21)
Rabbi Walter S. Wurzburger, president of the Rabbinical Council of America, today rejected the charge by Rabbi Ely E. Pilchik, newly elected president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) that proposed legislation on the issue of conversions by Israel’s new Likud-led government amounts to religious discrimination against Conservative and Reform Judaism in Israel.
Wurzburger made his remarks at the 41st annual convention of the Rabbinical Council, the organization of American Orthodox Rabbis. He was responding to a statement by Rabbi Pilchik who heads the CCAR, the Reform rabbinical group, currently holding its 88th annual convention at Grossinger’s Hotel.
Wurzburger said, "Israel is a bastion of democracy which guarantees religious. Freedom to all its citizens. The proposed amendment to the Law of Return has no bearing at all on the issue of religious discrimination. It is solely designed to enable Israel to continue to function as a Jewish State which can serve as a spiritual homeland for all Jews throughout the world. Jewish spirituality has always expressed itself in reverence for religious law. I therefore appeal to the leaders of Conservative and Reform Judaism to desist from agitation for obliteration of the last vestiges of halachic authority in Israel’s public life."
Rabbi Bernard Rosenzweig, first vice-president of the Rabbinical Council, delivered a long and bitter attack on Breira at another session of the convention. He accused it of "undermining the security of Israel" and "jeopardizing the forthcoming peace negotiations in Geneva."
The Orthodox group received a cable of greetings from Israel’s newly installed Premier, Menachem Begin, in Jerusalem. It said: "I send blessings from Zion to this important convention of the Rabbinical Council of America. We will work for a complete Torah, a complete land of Israel and a complete people of Israel. We shall serve Israel with dedication and self-sacrifice.