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Religion | IN BRIEF

Rabbis Group Decries Conversion Guidelines

July 14, 2001|Religion News Service

DEERFIELD, Ill. — The Assn. of Humanistic Rabbis said recent conversion guidelines adopted by the Reform movement are unnecessary and contrary to Jewish history.

On June 27, the Central Conference of American Rabbis--the rabbinic arm of Reform Judaism--endorsed a set of sweeping guidelines for converts. The guidelines re-embraced rituals abandoned by the Reform movement a century ago, such as ritual circumcision for men, immersion in a ritual bath, examination by a panel of rabbis and adoption of "some element" of Jewish dietary laws.

Rabbi David Oler, vice president of the Assn. of Humanistic Rabbis and rabbi at Congregation Beth Or in Deerfield, said the Reform movement has betrayed its own reformist tradition.

Humanistic Judaism accepts any Jew "who declares himself or herself to be a Jew and who identifies with the history, ethical values, culture, civilization, community and fate of the Jewish people," he said.

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