Thursday, July 22, 2010

A Call for State-Sanctioned Religious Tolerance

A Call for State-Sanctioned Religious Tolerance
More on the Conversion Bill and the arrest of Anat Hoffman at the Western Wall by Rabbi David Ellenson, president of the Reform seminary, Hebrew Union College. He concludes:
For Jews in both the Diaspora and in Israel who are committed to Israel as both a democratic and a Jewish state, these episodes call into question whether the state itself actually possesses those commitments. The impediments and restrictions placed before non-Orthodox expressions of Judaism by the Israeli government are matters of serious concern because they reveal that the State employs coercion and imposes a limited range of acceptable practices on Jews who have diverse conceptions of Jewish religious authenticity.
This struggle for Jewish religious freedom is a principled fight for justice that expects the state to be impartial in defining authentic religious Judaism. It is high time that the legitimacy and authority of different branches of religious Judaism be affirmed in Israel. This will surely enhance and strengthen the commitment significant numbers of American Jews feel towards the Jewish state.

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