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Yeshiva U. President Urges That Two Orthodox Congregational Organizations Be Merged

May 5, 1983
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Dr. Norman Lamm, president of Yeshiva University, called on the Rabbinical Council last night to “take the initiative in bringing about the merger of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America and Young Israel.”

Lamm told the 47th national convention of the Rabbinical Council of America, a national organization of Orthodox rabbis, that “there is enough talent and commitment and goodwill in both groups, and in both the laymen and professionals involved, to make any effort by you worthwhile” to bring the two Orthodox congregational organizations together.

Lamm said he had proposed the idea in talks at conclaves of both congregational groups but that “inertia and entrenchment have prevailed. Centrist Orthodox laymen plod along in two organizations when one well-run organization could be twice as strong and influential.”

He also told the 500 rabbis at the convention that “if you do not feel inspired by the vision of all the good that can come out of a united Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America-Young Israel, consider the damage that can come from disunity.”


Lamm also assailed the resolutions adopted for the Reform movement by the March convention of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, proposing changes for the Reform movement in the transmission of Jewish identity to children of mixed marriages.

He commented that “as usually happens with such anti-halachic ‘innovations’, ploys undertaken for purely practical reasons are paraded for the public as acts of moral piety and ethical heroism. Hence, the halachic principle of recognizing only matrilineal descent in establishing Jewish identity is compromised” by the proposal of the Reform rabbis and “under the guise of equality — and the meretricious synonyms which together constitute the sacred vocabulary of Reform heterodoxy.”

However, Lamm added, “the fig-leaf is too thin to cover the nakedness of a movement which has countenanced intermarriage, even without the benefit of conversion Reform-style, so that there is today in Reform temples a very large number of children of Jewish fathers and non-Jewish mothers. It is no easy matter for a Reform rabbi to tell them that they are not Jewish, according to Jewish law. It is easier to change Jewish law.”

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