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Schonfeld Urges Orthodox to End Fragmentation

June 3, 1975
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The head of a major Orthodox rabbinic body warned today that organizational duplication, rivalry and fragmentation threaten the future of Orthodox Judaism in the U.S.

Rabbi Fabian Schonfeld, president of the Rabbinical Council of America, told over 500 delegates at the organization’s annual convention that the Council will take immediate steps to establish a permanent National Orthodox Coordinating Commission. “This Commission,” he said, “will hopefully crystalize a united and articulate voice for Orthodox Judaism in the crucial policy-making agencies of American Jewish life.”

The rabbinic leader added that “there is a new receptivity in Jewish life for the traditional and authentic Torah Judaism.” He said, “It would be tragic if Orthodoxy dissipates this historic opportunity through ideological rivalry and wasteful duplication.”

“In the area of synagogue service,” Rabbi Schonfeld illustrated, “three agencies overlap, namely, the National Council of Young Israel, the Community Services Division of Yeshiva University and the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations. On the college campus, several Orthodox efforts compete with one another, through Yavneh, College Youth for Torah and Lubavitch, To stimulate Jewish education, three major agencies service the same schools, namely, Torah Umesorah, the Board of Jewish Education and the National Association for Jewish Education. This pattern of wasteful duplication is destructive,” the rabbi emphasized, “and in many cases proves counter-productive.”

Rabbi Schonfeld was strongly critical of Israeli leadership for its failure to emphasize the Biblical, religious and historic bond which links Jewry and the Holy Land. “The religious claim as revealed in the Bible,” the rabbi emphasized, “is the most Persuasive argument in support of the reconstitution of the Jewish state. In negotiating with the United States and in its public relations, particularly in Christian countries, this religious linkage will more readily evoke a more responsive response.”

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