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Orthodox Leader Urges Adopting ‘guidelines’ for Jewish Behavior

June 23, 1977
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A leader of the American Orthodox rabbinate called today on all national Jewish organizations and agencies “to establish standards and guidelines of Jewish behavior that would reflect a pride in our heritage and respect for our tradition.” Rabbi Simcha Krauss of St. Louis, Mo., co-chairman of the 41st annual convention of the Rabbinical Council of America, the Orthodox rabbinical group, made his remarks in addressing delegates at the convention here.

“It is inconceivable,” he said, “to weep over the rate of intermarriage among Jews and then to appoint into leadership roles Jews who are intermarried or rabbis who officiate at the marriages between Jews and non-Jews. It is the height of hypocrisy to speak about Jewish identity and to decry assimilation and, at the same time, project into the forefront of our community those who are undermining the sanctity and survival of the Jewish community.”

Similarly, Krauss decried “groups that in their organizational activity violate the sanctity of our heritage by arranging non-kosher functions and violating the Sabbath. It is very nice for some of our national groups to promote tourism to Israel but how does it look when on the Sabbath, as Jews of Jerusalem are worshipping in their synagogues, to have a bus of tourists pass by with the name of a national Jewish organization emblazoned across the front of that bus. It marks a lack of respect for our own Jewish values and bespeaks a misreading of the goals of our Jewish activities and flauntingly desecrates the religious practices which have been ours for 3500 years.”


At another session, Prof. Marvin Fox of Brande is University, criticized the secularization of society which prevails in the Western world today. “It has destroyed the foundations of human morality and has rendered life meaningless to the majority of mankind,” he said. “A world without God is bleak and without ethical direction. This very secularization has infected major segments of Israeli society and constitutes the greatest threat and danger to its continuance as a Jewish State. Israel was created to preserve and foster the ancient Jewish heritage which has contributed so profoundly to the foundation of Western civilization. It would be tragic indeed that after 2000 years of prayerful waiting, Israel should be depersonalized of Jewish identity.”


Shmuel Katz, personal representative of Premier Menachem Begin, told the delegates that the “Rabbinical Council of America has proven to be the most loyal and dependable ally of Israel, in mobilizing public opinion and helping the new Israeli government to counteract Arab propaganda and efforts by the United States which try to pressure the Begin government to make concessions which would jeopardize the security and independence of Israel.” He also said “For us, the West Bank is not an occupied territory. For us it is a liberated land, and part and parcel with the rest of the country.”

He said “We see a tendency on the part of the Carter Administration to deviate from the previous government’s policies. The ultimate outcome of our battle will depend on the extent to which American Jewry will mobilize public opinion on behalf of the State of Israel.”

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