Admitting that his Reform movement's controversial 20-year-old outreach program has failed to reach its potential, Rabbi Eric Yoffie has called for new efforts to bring Reform Judaism to tens of thousands of unaffiliated North American Jews and intermarried couples.
"We have not accomplished all that we should have," Rabbi Yoffie, president of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (UAHC), told about 75 Reform officials at Stephen Wise Free Synagogue last Sunday, while addressing a 20th anniversary celebration of the denomination's outreach program.
Striding across the opulent lobby of Manhattan’s Waldorf-Astoria Hotel last Sunday morning, Michael Sonnenfeldt, chair of the pro-peace Israel Policy Forum, spotted Malcolm Hoenlein, the top executive of the nation’s leading Jewish umbrella group — the 50-year-old Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.
“It seems like I’m always following you around,” joked Sonnenfeldt, a private investor with a linebacker’s build, extending his hand.
As criticism mounted this week against a top Israeli rabbi for comments which seemed to blame Holocaust victims for their own murders, the ultra-Orthodox Shas Party spiritual leader found support in an unexpected quarter.
American Rabbi Ronald Price, the head of a moderate Jewish group, told The Jewish Week that Rabbi Ovadia Yosef’s volatile words have been badly misunderstood, and unnecessarily prompted a firestorm of negative reaction from Israeli officials, American Jewish organizations and Holocaust memorial representatives.