World's Largest Group of Jewish Clergy Applauds Israel's Decision to Provide Equal Funding for Reform and Conservative Conversion Classes

Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) Calls Upon the Israeli Government to Act Speedily to Redress All Israeli Laws and Official Practices That Favor Only One Jewish Stream

ADELPHI, Md., July 8, 2009 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The leaders of the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR), which represents nearly 2,000 Reform rabbis, the world's largest group of Jewish clergy, passed a resolution applauding the Israeli High Court of Justice's recent decision acknowledging "the duty of the State to pluralism" and requiring the State to provide equal funding for Reform and Conservative conversion classes. The resolution also renews the CCAR's call for an end to government-enabled discrimination against non-Orthodox streams of Judaism in Israel.

The Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC) was victorious in a ruling issued by Israel's High Court of Justice on May 19, 2009, requiring the State to provide equal funding for Reform and Conservative conversion classes; and the CCAR celebrates IRAC's outstanding work. While this advance may appear modest, Anat Hoffman, IRAC Executive Director, wrote, "This is the first time that the Court has declared that government funding must be provided to non-Orthodox Jewish religious services in Israel." She added, "The three judge panel, including Chief Justice Dorit Beinisch, found the State's practice of favoring only one Jewish stream discriminatory and contradictory to the their responsibility to ensure freedom of religion, ruling 'The duty of the State to pluralism is not only a passive duty, but an active one as well.'"

The resolution also joins a recent call by the Conservative Movement's Rabbinical Assembly for the end of the Orthodox's Chief Rabbinate as a governmental institution and to equalize the status of all streams of Judaism in Israel.

For a full text of the resolution, please visit:

To arrange a conversation with Rabbi Ellen Weinberg Dreyfus, CCAR President or Rabbi Steven Fox, Executive Vice-President, please contact Itay Engelman of Sommerfield Communications, Inc. at 212-255-8386 or

The Central Conference of American Rabbis, 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 nearly 2,000 member rabbis (virtually the entire Reform rabbinate) and the entire Reform Jewish community.


Contact Data