US rabbis squabble over JFS

By Simon Rocker, January 21, 2010

Arguments among United Synagogue rabbis over the JFS court case escalated this week as senior ministers dug in their heels against concessions to the non-Orthodox.

Writing to US lay leaders, the rabbis said they were “troubled” by the position advocated in last week’s JC by the joint vice-chairmen of the US Rabbinical Council (RCUS), Rabbis Michael Harris and Naftali Brawer.

They had called for co-operation with non-Orthodox bodies over any move to change the law in order to reverse the recent Supreme Court judgment on Jewish school admissions.

The two rabbis also rejected as “misguided” a previous statement issued by the RCUS accusing the non-Orthodox of holding the US to ransom.

But 14 other rabbis have hit back, telling US leaders in a letter that the original statement reflected the “overwhelming majority of the US rabbinate”.

The letter was signed by RCUS chairman Rabbi Yitzchak Schochet, four past chairmen of the council — Rabbis Yisroel Fine, Mordechai Ginsbury, Ephraim Mirvis and Meir Salasnik — and nine other current executive members of RCUS.

Non-Orthodox movements have made it clear that they would only support a change in the law in return for the admission of their converts to mainstream Orthodox schools.

Last updated: 3:54pm, January 21 2010