Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

World Convention of Conservative Synagogues Opens in Mexico Today

July 20, 1964
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The nature of the future relationship between the Jewish and Catholic communities, in the light of the proceedings before the Ecumenical Council, which will convene for its third session at the Vatican next September, will come under the scrutiny of Jewish lay and rabbinical leaders from around the world, when the World Council of Synagogues opens its international convention here tomorrow.

Among the discussants on this subject will be a number of leaders from predominantly Catholic countries, in Latin America and Europe. These will include Rabbi Elio Toaff, chief rabbi of Rome; Fausti Pitigliani, president of the Jewish community of Italy; Jules Braunschvig, of Paris, vice-president of Alliance Israelite Universelle; Eugenio Battan, of Venezuela; and Rabbi Marshall Meyer, spiritual leader of Congregation Bet El at Buenos Aires, who is also the director of the Rabbinical Seminary in the Argentine capital.


The session to be devoted to Catholic-Jewish relations will evaluate the proposed Catholic Church pronouncement, presented to but not discussed at the second convocation of the Ecumenical Council last year. The prospects of the Ecumenical Council’s adoption of the proposed schema absolving the Jewish people of decide and condemning anti-Semitism will be examined by the participants.

The convention, fifth of the international conclaves held by the World Council of Synagogues since the body was formed by the Conservative movement in 1957, will consider also, during its three-day session, various problems facing synagogues in many countries, and will focus especially on the situation of Jewry and the synagogue in Latin America.

At the opening session, tomorrow night, Charles Rosengarten, of Waterbury, Conn., president of the World Council, will report on his findings in nine Latin American countries which he toured last year. Another speaker will be Rabbi Theodore Friedman, past president of the Rabbinical Assembly of America.

A number of rabbis, trained in the United States but now engaged in community activities in Latin America, as well as rabbis serving Jewish communities in South America, will participate in the discussions. Because of the many Latin American representatives on the program, speeches will be translated simultaneously in Spanish as well as in English.


Another major session will be devoted to a discussion of the status of the synagogue and religion in general in Israel. Leaders of the world Conservative movement have pointed out that the religious developments in Israel “inevitably touch the innermost sensibilities of all Jews. ” They noted that, “because of this love for Israel, ” the 1962 convention of the World Council of Synagogues was held in Jerusalem.

At this session, delegates will explore the inherent meaning of Israel for Jewish communities elsewhere in the light of 20th century developments, the religious “dilemma now obtaining in Israel, ” and the possibilities of establishing firmer ties between Israel and the Conservative movement.

Recent developments in the Jewish communities in Europe, with special emphasis on France and England, will also be discussed. The controversy which developed in England recently, where a large congregation was separated from the United Synagogue of Britain, will be the subject of a special report by Rabbi Chaim Pearl. He is a British rabbi who recently became the spiritual leader of a Conservative Synagogue in Riverdale, a section of New York City.

Among the prominent delegates to the convention are E. E. Moss, president of the United Synagogue of India; George Maiseln, president of the United Synagogue of America; Rabbi Herman Potok, of Israel; Rabbi Bernard Mandelbaum, provost of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America; Rabbi Harry Halpern, chairman of the joint commission on social action of the United Synagogue of America and the Rabbinical Assembly; Rabbi Bernard Segal, executive director of the United Synagogue of America; Mrs. Helen Fried, president of the National Women’s League of the United Synagogue of America; and Morris Laub, director of the World Council of Synagogues.

Recommended from JTA