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Secularism in Israel

January 23, 1994

* Stephen Games is correct in his assessment that the future identity of Israel is at stake (Opinion, Jan. 9). He understands that a fragmented Israeli people will be counterproductive when addressing the complexities and challenges brought by the potential for peace that is now before them.

However, he is wrong in suggesting that this is not being articulated. The Assn. of Reform Zionists of America has been in the forefront in the struggle for pluralism and recognition of non-Orthodox expressions of religious Judaism since 1977. Despite overwhelming obstacles, ARZA, with the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism, has established a spiritual and cultural religious presence in the Jewish state.

The Reform and Conservative movements could stem the tide of secularism in Israel that Games describes as inevitable. What is needed is a constitution and legislation that would guarantee equal funding for their institutions and end the inflexible control over life-cycle events and personal status. When alternatives to Orthodoxy are permitted to flourish, Israel will fulfill its role as a Jewish homeland.

A pluralistic society will enhance, rather than diminish, the character of Israel.

MARCIA LIEBERT CAYNE, President

Assn. of Reform Zionists of America

New York

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