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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Reform Anti-War Letter

Good article in today's NY Sun about a letter sent by the Union for Reform Judaism to President Bush, and the furor it has ignited among many in the Reform community. The letter expresses clear anti-war sentiment:

The letter, a copy of which was sent to members of Congress last week, alerts the president to a resolution the union passed at its Biennial General Assembly last month in Houston. The resolution calls for a "clear exit strategy" from Iraq that includes specific troop withdrawals after the parliamentary elections on December 15. The statement also condemns the use of torture and abuse of prisoners and detainees, demands more transparency from the Bush administration, and calls for the creation of a bipartisan commission to investigate administration failures before and during the war.

The letter to President Bush, signed by the union's president, Rabbi Eric Yoffie, and its chairman, Robert Heller, claims the Iraq war had to the "discrediting of America in the international community" and contributed "to the growth of terrorism."

Understandably, the position presented in the letter has raised the ire of those members of the Reform community who may not agree with its premise.

Several Jewish leaders, including Reform rabbis, swiftly rebuked the letter yesterday.

A rabbi of a Reform synagogue in Danbury, Conn., Clifford Librach, said the letter "amplifies the extraordinary alienation from Israel and Israel's security on the part of the American Reform elite."

"There may be a majority of American Reform Jews who are currently opposed to this war under any circumstances," Rabbi Librach said, "but the role of leadership is not to rubberstamp misguided popular opinion. The new peace process in Israel has advanced in part because Iraq has been neutralized and removed from the equation."

I certainly agree. I have no problem with Yoffie and some of the other signatories of the letter expressing their sentiments on the topic of the war as individuals. That is their right as Americans. But to present such views as if they were the views of every member of the Reform community is fallacious, and in my opinion, nothing short of outrageous.


Blogger Jason said...

I don't know if you ever read Dennis Prager, but he had a great article the other day on the hypocrisy of the Reform movement making political statements when, at the same time, bashing evangelical Christians for trying to influence politics.

(Sorry for the sameless self-promotion. Relatively new to the Jewish blogosphere, but I've enjoyed your blog so far)

1:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, I forgot. Do Orthodox leaders ever present their own political views as halacha m'sinai ?

2:04 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Um...onionsoupmix, do you READ my blog? I do plenty of criticism of them too. Why should I spare the Reform?

8:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do read your blog, you do criticize orthodox leaders, not my point. My point is that every organization tries to present its opinions as the only valid ones and is very happy to throw the weight of religion behind it, so who cares about the reform doing it ?

11:34 AM  
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