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Rabbinical Convention Decides to Promote Judaism Among Students

July 14, 1958
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With a decision to inaugurate a comprehensive program for promotion of Orthodox Judaism among college youth in this country, the Rabbinical Assembly of America, Orthodox group, concluded its 22nd annual, four-day convention here last night.

The convention adopted a number of resolutions, among them one calling on the United States Government to guarantee Israel’s security as a bastion of democracy in the Middle East, another appealing to the government of the Soviet Union to extend “full religious freedom and unfettered rights of emigration” to the 3,000,000 Jews in the USSR. Rabbi Emanuel E. Rackman, Far Rockaway, N.Y., was elected president, succeeding Rabbi Solomon J. Sharfman.

In a joint statement, the outgoing and incoming presidents announced plans for establishing a “Beth Din,” or central rabbinical court, in this country. The court will deal with domestic relations problems, such as marriage and divorce. It will serve as a “clearing house” in such affairs, the joint statement declared, and will concern itself, among other matters, with family status and mixed marriages.

Rabbi Theodore L. Adams, president of the Synagogue Council of America, coordinating body of the Orthodox, Reform and Conservative religious movements, told the closing session that “Sunday closing laws have become a major bone of contention” between Catholics and Jews. He warned that unless some formula was devised “for safeguarding the religious liberty of Sabbath-observing Jews, this issue will become increasingly volatile in communities all across the nation.”

Dwelling on Israel and Middle East issues, Rabbi Adams declared that the “Protestant community approaches this area with an institutional and theological set of concepts which conflict at almost every point with the Jewish approach.” He added that the “Catholic community, in addition to its special theological and geopolitical orientation, focuses on such issues as the internationalization of Jerusalem, thus leading to an added dimension of misunderstanding between Catholics and Jews.”

In calling for a meeting of leaders of the three faiths to deal with these issues, Rabbi Adams pleaded for a “moratorium on dissension among religions in the United States in order to meet holy obligations in the nuclear age.”

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