US rabbis squabble over JFS

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