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Unique Chance to Win Jews to Orthodoxy Seen at Conclave

June 25, 1981
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A leading Orthodox rabbi, asserting that Orthodox Judaism is the fastest growing Jewish religious movement, declared here today that it was “high time” that Orthodoxy abandon a “state of siege” mentality which he said “may have been appropriate for an era when Orthodoxy had to adopt a defensive stance because it was widely dismissed as an obsolete religion — allegedly incompatible with the spirit of modernity.”

Rabbi Walter Wurzburger, past president of the Rabbinical Council of America, made that statement in an address to the 45th annual convention of the association of Orthodox rabbis. He added that “Under the impact of the Holocaust, the rise of the Sate of Israel and the growing isolation of Israel in the United Nations, as well as the general malaise afflicting modern society, we witness an unprecedented openness and responsiveness to the message of Orthodox Judaism.”

Rabbi Wurzburger warned that the “resurgence of Orthodoxy at a time when assimilation and intermarriage exact such a heavy toll, must not give rise to a sense of triumphalism. Instead Orthodoxy must rise above all partisanship, institutionalism or sectarian concerns, and embark on an all-out effort to expose even so-called marginal Jews to the value system and way of life of its heritage.”

Rabbi Wurzburger also said “it would be a horrendous catastrophy were we to squander our unique opportunity to create at this juncture of history a mass Teshuvah (return to religious values) movement.”

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