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Rabbis Urged to Become More Involved in Issues Affecting Jewish Community

July 7, 1978
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Orthodox rabbis and Torah scholars attending the national convention here of the Rabbinical Alliance of America (Igud Horabonim) were told that rabbis must become more involved in political issues affecting the Jewish community in this country.

This view was emphasized by Rabbi Abraham B. Hecht, who was reelected president of the Alliance. Addressing the 225 delegates at the parley, which had as its theme “The Effectiveness of the Orthodox Rabbi in Modern Society,” Hecht claimed that “a great many rabbis have failed to exert sufficient political pressure in order to support appropriate legislation.”

He cited the defeat of New York State’s capital punishment bill and renewed efforts to push through pro-gay legislation as examples of rabbinic inaction. “We of the RAA have been tireless in our effort to reinstitute capital punishment and fight the gay rights on both the national and local levels,” Hecht said. “Unfortunately, many of our colleagues have been less supportive.”

In a similar vein, New York City Controller Harrison J. Goldin warned that “the forms of rabbinic leadership must shift from organizational emphasis to community involvement. The establishment institutions which claim to speak in the name of the Jewish community are out of touch with the deep-seated problems affecting Jews.” It is only the community rabbis “who are in the best position to deal energetically with solving community problems,” Goldin added.

The RAA presented two Yiddish Media Awards. Noted radio personality Rabbi Jacob J. Hecht, a brother of the RAA president, presented an award to Radio Station WEVD. The award was received by veteran Yiddish announcer Zvee Schooler. Convention chairman Rabbi Philip Harris, presented a second Yiddish Media Award to Gershon Jacobson of the Allegemeiner Journal.

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