- Union of Orthodox Rabbis
:"The "Agudas HaRabonim" should not be confused with the
Agudath Israel of America("Agudas Yisroel") organization", or with the Union of Orthodox Congregations.
The Union of Orthodox Rabbis of the United States and Canada also known as the Agudath Harabonim ("union of rabbis"), and sometimes as the UOR, was established in 1901 in the
United Statesand is among the oldest organizations of Orthodox rabbis which could be described as having a Haredi worldview. It had been for many years the principal group for such rabbis, though in recent years it has lost much of its membership and influence.
It was originally aligned with the
Orthodox Union; in later years, the Orthodox Union drifted apart from the Agudas HaRabbanim, and closer to the relatively Modern Orthodox Rabbinical Council of America(RCA).
The Union of Orthodox Rabbis is perhaps best known for the excommunication of
Mordecai M. Kaplanin 1945. Kaplan had co-edited a new Reconstructionist prayer book it deemed heretical.
Among the well-known leaders from the organization's past are Rabbis
Eliezer Silverand Moshe Feinstein. In recent years, the organization has been under the direction of Rabbi Hersh M. Ginsberg.
Agudath Harabonim Today
The organization has not shied away from controversy in the recent past. The group has regularly placed advertisements in Jewish newspapers shortly before the
High Holy Days, prohibiting worship at non-Orthodox synagogues. Similarly, the Friday April 4, 1997edition of " The Jewish Press", quoted from "A Historic Declaration", issued by the Union of Orthodox Rabbis on March 31, 1997:
:Reform and Conservative are not
Judaismat all. Their adherents are Jews, according to the Jewish Law, but their religion is not Judaism...we appeal to our fellow Jew, members of the Reform and Conservative movements: Having been falsely led by heretical leaders that Reform and Conservative are legitimate branches and denominations of Judaism, we urge you to be guided by this declaration, and withdraw from your affiliation with Reform and Conservative temples and their clergy. Do not hesitate to attend an Orthodox synagoguedue to your inadequate observance of Judaism. On the contrary, it is because of that inadequacy that you need to attend an Orthodox synagogue where you will be warmly welcomed... [ [http://www.acjna.org/acjna/articles_detail.aspx?id=85 Article Details ] ]
The organization also condemned the
National Jewish Outreach Program's (NJOP) " ShabbatAcross America/Canada" (SAA) program because it co-ordinated and helped Reform and Conservative organizations. In an advertisement placed in the Friday March 7 2003, edition of " The Jewish Press" it declared:
:...Agudas Horabonim cannot approve of a call to attend a Reform or Conservative temple on Friday night, or any time. As important as "Kiruv" - bringing Jews closer to the
synagogue- is, it must be carried out in accordance with the Halacha. Since the " ShabbatAcross America/Canada" does not state that the synagogue must be Orthodox, clearly implying that it can also be a Reform and Conservative temple, the Agudas Harabonim strongly disapproves, and warns all Jews not to take part in the "Shabbat Across Across America/Canada" program.
One of the leading organizers of the above public protests was Rabbi David Hollander, a well-known Orthodox rabbi and writer in New York.
In 2005, French politician
Simone Veil, an Auschwitzsurvivor, was invited to speak at the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the camp's liberation. Yehuda Levin, on behalf of the Union, wrote to the President of Poland that it was inappropriate for Veil to speak at the event, since by "having brought about the legalization of abortion in France" she was "responsible for an ongoing destruction of human life far exceeding that of the Nazis". [http://www.trdd.org/CP050127E.HTM]
Critics of Agudath Harabonim's efforts claim that the group's leadership does not deserve a media
bully pulpitto denounce the practices of other American Jewishmovements, because its rabbinical membership represents a statistically small portion of the total number of rabbis ordained by all movements in the United States, and even by the Orthodox movement itself. [E.g., "The Agudas Horabbonim still exists, but is little more than a paper organization." [http://www.ajc.org/site/apps/nl/content3.asp?c=ijITI2PHKoG&b=843137&ct=1044883 Jerome Chanes, "A Primer on the American Jewish Community", American Jewish Committee] ] [E.g., "The Union of Orthodox Rabbis of the U.S. and Canada comprises a fraction of the Orthodox rabbinate in North America, and in Israel, the ultra-Orthodox, despite massive support from the government, still reach only a fraction of the population." [http://urj.org/yoffie/archive/dayton/ Remarks of Eric H. Yoffie, President of the Union for Reform Judaism (then the Union of American Hebrew Congregations), April 12, 1997] .]
In addition, they maintain that the group's controversial activities are not vocally supported by the American
Orthodox Jewishcommunity as whole, because its centrist and Modern Orthodox rabbinical members generally do not appear with the group during such announcements. [http://www.jewishsf.com/content/2-0-/module/displaystory/story_id/5883/edition_id/109/format/html/displaystory.html Debra Nussbaum Cohen, "How a small Orthodox group wrote a national story", Jewish Telegraphic Agency ["j. the Jewish News Weekly of Northern California" ], April 4, 1997] ] In addition, rabbis maintaining membership in both the UOR and Rabbinical Council of America frequently tend to place greater importance in, and watch more carefully, the activities of the RCA, thus making their support of UOR activities marginal at best.
"At present, the Union of Orthodox Rabbis of the United States and Canada does not maintain an official website."
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