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Congregation in Nebraska Formed on Basis That Religion is Sole Status of Jews

August 16, 1944
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The formation of a new Jewish congregation “created upon the specific proposition that the status of Jews is solely that of a religion, and not in any part either racial or national,” was announced here today, by Bernard S. Gradwohl its president.

The new group, carrying the name American Reform Congregation made public the text of its basic principles adopted, one of which reads: “We are Jews by virtue of our acceptance of Judaism. We are not a nation. We are solely a religion. We stand for the continuation of Judaism solely as a religion; and not as a national group, either in whole or in part. We stand unequivocally for the separation of Church and State. Our religion is Judaism. Our nation is the United States of America. Our nationality is American. Our flag is the Stars and Stripes. We look upon Palestine not as a Jewish nation, but as one of the places where those who are oppressed may find a haven of refuge. We consider it our sacred privilege to promote the spiritual, cultural and social welfare of our co-religionists there and elsewhere.”

A resolution adopted by the new congregation criticizes the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, and the Hebrew Union College. “We are firmly convinced that the destiny of American Reform Judaism depends upon steadfast adherence to the fundamental principles of our faith,” the resolution reads. “We regretfully record our feeling that the Central Conference of American Rabbis has abandoned them in large part; that the Union of American Hebrew Congregations has neutralized them; and that the Hebrew Union College has failed to adequately teach them.”

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