SOURCE: Central Conference of American Rabbis

Central Conference of American Rabbis

February 25, 2009 09:15 ET

Reform Rabbinate, the World's Largest Group of Jewish Clergy, Opposes Removal of Ancient Muslim Cemetery to Make Way for Jerusalem Museum Of Tolerance

Resolution Opposing the Removal Passed at CCAR's 120th Annual Convention Currently Under Way in Jerusalem

JERUSALEM--(Marketwire - February 25, 2009) - The leaders of the Reform rabbinate, the world's largest group of Jewish clergy, have passed a resolution strongly opposing the removal of the Mamilla Cemetery, an ancient Muslim burial place in Jerusalem, to make way for the Simon Wiesenthal Center's Jerusalem Museum of Tolerance. The Board of the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR), the representative organization of nearly 2,000 Reform rabbis, passed the resolution today at its 120th Annual Convention, which is taking place in Jerusalem through March 1.

According to the Resolution, "Cemeteries are sacred ground in our Jewish tradition... We would protest, in the strongest terms, not only the desecration, but any removal of a Jewish cemetery, no matter what the purpose. Therefore, it is self-evident that we must oppose the removal of another people's sacred burial ground, no matter how worthy the purpose. While the Israeli Supreme Court has permitted the Wiesenthal Center to move ahead, an organization with high-minded goals like those of the Museum of Tolerance cannot be satisfied with mere adherence to the law."

The Resolution also states that "Dr. Rafi Greenberg, a prominent archaeologist at Tel Aviv University, has argued that Mamilla is one of the few surviving Islamic sites in western Jerusalem and, therefore, must be left intact." And it thanks the Municipality of Jerusalem for "... offering alternative locations, and encourages the Municipality, the Israeli government, Wiesenthal Center supporters and all who are able to labor mightily to assure that the Jerusalem Museum of Tolerance be built in an alternative location."

To obtain the full text of this resolution or to speak to a CCAR Rabbi, 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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