Resolutions 2006

Resolution Commending Rabbi Ismar Schorsch on His Leadership as Chancellor of The Jewish Theological Seminary

Whereas Rabbi Ismar Schorsch has served The Jewish Theological Seminary as Chancellor for the past twenty years with distinction;

Whereas Rabbi Schorsch articulated his vision to the community with the publication of Sacred Cluster: The Core Values of Conservative Judaism;

Whereas Rabbi Schorsch implemented that vision by committing JTS to train the next generation of Jewish educators by establishing the William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education;

Resolution in Support of the Conservative/Masorti Movement in Latin America

Whereas the Rabbinical Assembly is holding its first international convention in Latin America and it is an historic occasion;

Whereas the Conservative/Masorti Rabbis in Latin America often work under difficult conditions in order to spread the words of Torah, and Judaism;

Whereas the Seminario Rabinico Latinoamericano is the only Conservative/Masorti institution in Latin America training educators and rabbis who are equipped to confront this shifting world and its challenges; and

Resolution on Global Anti-Semitism

Whereas the Rabbinical Assembly is greatly concerned by the resurgence of anti-Semitism around the globe;

Whereas the President of Iran Mahmoud Ahmadinejad publicly and unabashedly proclaimed his goals of "wiping Israel off the map" and creating a world "without the United States and Zionism," funds terrorist activities in Israel, spearheads his country's development of nuclear weapons and is seeking to deny that the Holocaust ever happened;

Resolution on Jewish Education

Whereas the Torah teaches us, “ve-shinantam l'vanekha – and you shall teach your children” (Deuteronomy 6:7) and this call to literacy has been a hallmark of Jewish civilization for over 3,000 years and has ensured Jewish survival;

Whereas the National Jewish Population Study (NJPS) of 2001 revealed that identification with Judaism, observance, the Jewish people, and the State of Israel is highest among those with the greatest level of Jewish education;

Resolution on Poverty in the United States

Whereas Jewish tradition commands us to “open your hand [to the poor person] and provide sufficient for the need” (Deut. 15:8), and reminds us that “just as God clothed the naked- so too must  you supply clothes for the naked [poor]” (Talmud B. Sotah 14a);

Whereas the Jewish community has long demonstrated a commitment to economic and social justice in the United States as exemplified by the involvement of hundreds of Conservative synagogues, schools and camps in social justice programs such as food banks, homeless shelters, home rebuilding projects and medical clinics;

Resolution on Global Poverty

Whereas the Rabbinical Assembly is comprised of colleagues who care deeply about the state of the world, tikkun olam and mishpetei tzedek, the laws of justice and righteousness as prescribed by the Torah and Prophets of Israel;

Whereas members of the Rabbinical Assembly have the potential for enormous influence throughout the world by standing up for moral principles, as both Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel and Rabbi Marshall T. Meyer exemplified in their time and place in history;

Resolution on Intelligent Design and the Freedom of Scientific Inquiry

Whereas the Rabbinical Assembly, an association of religious leaders with deep faith,  believing in the truth of our Torah and the teachings of traditional rabbinic Judaism,  also believes that a literal reading of Genesis otherwise known as Creationism is not a dogma of Judaism;

Whereas it is a Jewish religious obligation to study and understand God’s creation through intellectual inquiry and scientific research and whereas such study is one of the foundations of piety (Mishneh Torah Yesodei Ha-Torah 2:1);

Resolution in Support of Programs for the Aging

Background:

  1. For many years Interfaith Caregivers provided a loose national network of local groups that trained volunteers to provide support services for seniors to enable them to remain in their homes as long as possible.  This network became subsumed under the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Faith in Action program.\
  2. In the last several years the United Jewish Communities has encouraged local federations around the United States to seek federal grants to give similar social services to seniors living in their own communities to allow them to gracefully “age in place.”  These so-called “Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities” or NORCs present the challenge of a large aging senior population.  They also present the possibility of providing a wide array of supports and programs for these people to make their last years truly “golden years.”

 

 

Resolution:
Whereas the Torah instructs us “mipnei seivah takum, v’hadarta pnei zaken” (“rise before the hoary head and give honor to the face of the elderly”, Lev. 19:32 );

Whereas the Rabbis recognize the elderly as those with the wisdom acquired through life experience by interpreting “zaken (elderly)” as “zeh she-kanah hokhmah” (“one who has acquired wisdom”);

Whereas due to enhanced medical technology and healthcare people live longer today than at any other time in human history;

Whereas the percentage of seniors (those over 65 years of age) in the US has jumped from 4.1% (in 1900) to 8.1% (1950) to 13% (in 1997), with the “oldest old” (those 85 and over) the fastest growing segment increasing 280% from 1960 to 1994;

Whereas, as a result, our senior citizens have more need of support and services to enable their “golden years” to be truly a time of celebration and not increasing infirmity and isolation;

Whereas many Conservative congregations have established Hazak chapters under the umbrella of The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism to serve the needs of its senior members; and

Whereas there are programs and agencies such as Interfaith Caregivers/Faith in Action and the United Jewish Communities-coordinated NORC support organizations –which provide services and offer such supports and create new opportunities to meet the growing needs of seniors with dignity and compassion.

Therefore be it resolved that the Rabbinical Assembly encourage its members to explore forging interfaith coalitions under Faith in Action or similar programs in other countries;

Be it further resolved that the Rabbinical Assembly encourage its members in the United States to work with or seek funding for further NORC support organizations;

Be it further resolved that the members of the Rabbinical Assembly encourage and support the work of their Hazak chapters; and

Be it further resolved that members of the Rabbinical Assembly involve their organizations’ members in performing this mitzvah of g’milut hasadim on a large scale to meet the increasing needs of this growing and important segment of our population so they may reach their last days in dignity.

Passed by the Rabbinical Assembly Plenum, March, 2006

Resolution on Responding to the Ongoing War in Iraq

Rabbi Yose HaGalili says, “How meritorious is peace?  Even in time of war Jewish law requires that one initiate discussions of peace.” (Leviticus Rabbah, Tzav 9);

Whereas the United States, the United Kingdom and other countries remain engaged in armed conflict in Iraq;

Whereas Judaism affirms the justice of war only as a response to life-threatening aggression, current or anticipated;

Whereas Judaism also affirms the supreme value of peace and peacemaking;