Pluralistic Voices Needed
Thu, 04/24/2014

I applaud the efforts of the Ruderman Foundation in bringing greater
awareness of American Jewish life to Israeli leaders (“Schooling The
Knesset,” Between The Lines, April 9). Especially valuable was the discussion of the various
denominations and the limitations of a denominational system in serving Klal
Yisrael. I am concerned, however, that those very limitations were reflected
in the makeup of the discussants. It would have been valuable to all
concerned, and particularly enlightening to the Israeli leaders in
attendance, to have included representatives of post-denominational and
pluralistic institutions in the gathering.

The Academy for Jewish Religion has been working outside the denominational
framework in training creative and passionate rabbis, cantors, and Jewish
communal leaders for almost 60 years. Our alumni and students serve in
pulpits, schools, hospitals, and Jewish organizations throughout North
America, in Great Britain and in Israel. As at the Academy, much of the
dynamism and promise in American Jewish life today is happening outside
denominational institutions.

While this conference represents an unfortunate missed opportunity to include
voices from outside the confines of the three major movements in American
Jewish life, it is an oversight that can easily be redressed. The community
of The Academy for Jewish Religion would be delighted to welcome Israeli
leaders truly interested in understanding the current direction of the
American Jewish community. We are honored to invite you to the Academy to
engage in dialogue, in study and together to reflect on American Jewish life
and its cherished relationship with the Jewish state.

Executive Vice President and Academic Dean The Academy for Jewish Religion Riverdale, Bronx
 

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