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Conservative Jews Affiliate with WZO

October 18, 1977
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The establishment of an independent organization of Conservative Jews as an official Zionist organization to affiliate with the World Zionist Organization, to be known as Mercaz (Movement for the Reaffirmation of Conservative Zionism), was announced today by Rabbi Stanley Rabinowitz, president of the Rabbinical Assembly, who is serving as chairman pro-tem of the new organization.

Originated at the 1977 convention to the Rabbinical Assembly, when 50 members of the Assembly signed a statement calling for the creation of an official new Zionist group, it has since been endorsed by the Assembly’s administrative committee. Its present membership, Rabinowitz stated, is composed of several hundred leaders of the Conservative movement, including Arthur Levine, president of the United Synagogue of America, Mrs. Milton Perry, president of the Women’s League for Conservative Judaism, and Dr. Morton Lang, president of the National Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs, as well as Rabbinical Assembly leaders.

“Conservative Jews, both individually and as a movement,” Rabinowitz stated, “have been in the forefront of the Zionist movement since 1906 when Rabbi Solomon Schechter, then president of the Jewish Theological Seminary, courageously espoused the cause of Zionism as a vital force in Judaism essential to world Jewry’s achieving its full potential as an integral part of the religious national nature of the Jewish people and the Jewish tradition.”

An intensive campaign will be launched immediately, Rabinowitz said, “and we expect to enlist five thousand individual members within the next month and over 150,000 before our 1978 Convention in March. The time has come to concretize the historic tie between the Conservative movement and Zionism to work for the realization of Zionist goals, including aliya.”

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