Mar 24, 1997
The Rabbinical Council of America and the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, representing the overwhelming majority of North American Orthodox Jewry, repudiate the statement recently issued by the Agudath HaRabbonim (the Union of Orthodox Rabbis) which calls into question the validity of the Jewish identity of the vast majority of American Jews. It does not reflect the sentiments of mainstream Orthodox Jewish thought, since it implies the disenfranchisement of Jews as Jews. This hurtful public pronouncement flies in the face of Jewish peoplehood, particularly at a time when the holiday of Purim emphasizes the common fate and destiny of all the Jewish people.
We consider the public pronouncement particularly painful in light of the current dangers facing the Jews of Israel and other communities across the world, which cry out for Jewish unity even in diversity. Despite divisions on core theological issues, they are still to be considered disagreements within the family. We must never lose sight of our strong sense of unity as Jews and as one people. To recklessly emphasize the issues that divide, and thus seemingly delegitimatize large numbers of Jews, harms the efforts of all who seek resolution to the difficult issues facing world Jewry.
We call upon all responsible leaders to exercise restraint in statements, so that the issues that divide us may still allow us to remain united as one people.