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Drive to Reinstitute Halachic Conversions Termed Power Play

April 28, 1972
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A renewed drive by Israeli religious parties to reinstitute halachic conversions were scored here by a Reform leader as “a political power play” and “an at-tempt to divide Jewish life,” Rabbi Alexander M. Schindler, vice-president of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (UAHC), warned of impending political pressure by those parties for a reversal of the 1970 revision recognizing non-Orthodox conversions. “Let no one be deluded here by pious references to halacha,” Rabbi Schindler told a meeting of the executive board of the UAHC-affiliated National Federation of Temple Brotherhoods.

“Halacha is not at stake here but a franchise, the extension of monopoly, political power.” But he stressed that he was not criticizing Orthodox Jewry–only the Israeli rabbinate. “Orthodox Judaism is not at stake but the extension of Israel’s hierarchy franchise,” he declared, calling the Israeli rabbinate’s aim “a fearsome step to consider and a serious threat to the essential unity of the Jewish people.”

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