SOURCE: Central Conference of American Rabbis

Central Conference of American Rabbis

February 26, 2009 10:37 ET

Reform Rabbinate Calls Upon Israeli Government to Recognize Female Reform Rabbi and End Discrimination Against Non-Orthodox Jews

Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR), World's Largest Group of Jewish Clergy, Issues Resolution Decrying Israel's Treatment of Rabbi Miri Gold; CCAR's 120th Annual Convention Currently Underway in Jerusalem

JERUSALEM--(Marketwire - February 26, 2009) - The leaders of the Reform rabbinate, the world's largest group of Jewish clergy, passed a resolution calling upon the Israeli government to immediately recognize Rabbi Miri Gold, a Reform rabbi who serves Congregation Birkat Shalom in Kibutz Gezer. The Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR), the representative organization of nearly 2,000 Reform rabbis, passed the resolution yesterday at its 120th Annual Convention, which is taking place in Jerusalem through March 1.

The resolution also asks the Israeli government to cease all discrimination against non-Orthodox branches of Judaism and to fund the work of Rabbi Gold and her peers (in all streams of Judaism) as it does with Orthodox rabbis.

According to the Resolution, "The present controversy concerning Rabbi Miri Gold... is an all-too-vivid example of how such discriminatory practices impede the religious lives of many Israelis, prejudice non-Orthodox Jews (and some Orthodox Jews as well) both within and outside of Israel, and are unjustifiable under any principled standard. Rabbi Gold is one of 16 rabbis serving the Gezer region. Fifteen of these rabbis -- all Orthodox men -- are recognized by the government and receive a government salary. Only Rabbi Gold receives neither government recognition nor a government salary."

The Resolution also points out that while Israel's Supreme Court has declared that all branches of Judaism should be accorded equal treatment by the government, the State has managed to delay litigation on behalf of Rabbi Gold for three years.

For a full text of the statement or to arrange a conversation with Rabbi Peter S. Knobel, President of the CCAR, or Rabbi Steven A. Fox, Executive Vice President, please contact Itay Engelman at Sommerfield Communications, Inc. at 212-255-8386 or itay@sommerfield.com.

The Central Conference of American Rabbis (www.ccarnet.org), founded in 1889, is the oldest and largest rabbinic organization in North America. As the professional organization for Reform Rabbis of North America, the CCAR projects a powerful voice in the religious life of the American and international Jewish communities.

Since its establishment, the CCAR has a rich history of giving professional and personal support to Reform rabbis, providing them opportunities for study, professional development and spiritual growth beginning while they are still in seminary, through mid-careers, and into retirement. The CCAR is uniquely positioned to meet the ongoing needs of its 1,850 member rabbis (virtually the entire Reform rabbinate) and the entire Reform Jewish community.

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