UNION OF ORTHODOX JEWISH CONGREGATIONS ADOPTS RESOLUTIONS ON ISRAEL’S CHALLENGES, PROSPECTS FOR AN ISRAELI CONSTITUTION, THE TRADEGY IN DARFUR, AND OTHER TOPICS AT JERUSALEM CONVENTION
Saturday night, delegates to the 108th Anniversary Biennial Convention (being held in Jerusalem) of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America adopted Resolutions expressing the positions of the largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization on a range of critical issues. The Resolutions included the following:
Israel’s Current Challenges: The UOJCA reaffirmed its commitment to support the people and State of Israel. More than one year after the Gaza Disengagement, the UOJCA noted that “anarchy roils Gaza from within, while Palestinians…launch rockets and terrorist attacks…upon Israeli towns.” In light of past events, the UOJCA further stated it is “skeptical” of any policy “that relinquishes part of Israel without obtaining…security and peace.” In anticipation of possible future proposals for further disengagements, and other matters of concern to the UOJCA community, whether regarding territorial issues or issues relating to the Jewish character of Israel, the adopted Resolution also empowered the senior leadership of the UOJCA to, on a case by case basis, express opposition to Israeli government policies in any appropriate way – including publicly.
The delegates also adopted a separate resolution related to the continuing plight of evacuees from Gaza and Northern Shomron. The resolution called upon the government to finally and fully expedite the resettlement and compensation of the evacuees.
A Constitution for Israel? On the eve of a meeting in the Knesset which will take up anew proposals to enact a written Constitution for the State of Israel, the UOJCA, while neither endorsing nor opposing the ratification of a Constitution, adopted a resolution setting forth the key principles the UOJCA believes must be in any such Constitution. The resolution states that an Israeli Constitution should: “affirm…Israel’s Jewish character…strengthen the bond between Israel and…the Diaspora…affirm the role of…Judaism in the public realm….and set reasonable procedures for the appointment of judges to the Supreme Court…and expressly establish limits to the court’s jurisdiction.”
Confronting Substance Abuse: Acknowledging that the “Orthodox…community is…not immune to the dangers of substance abuse,” the UOJCA adopted a resolution urging the community to resist an attitude of “tolerance” toward such conduct. The UOJCA resolution further calls on the community to be “proactive and responsive” to this challenge through education and public information programs in schools, synagogues and homes.
The Tragedy in Darfur: The UOJCA has previously joined with other communal organizations to call for action to end the genocide in Darfur. The convention was an opportunity for the organization to formally adopt a resolution decrying this humanitarian crisis. The resolution commits the UOJCA to continued efforts to press the American government and the international community to end the genocide in Darfur.
Affordability of Jewish Education: The UOJCA renewed its call to the Jewish community to address the crisis of financing Jewish education in the United States. Noting “we are past the crisis point,” the adopted resolution urges others in the Jewish community “to rethink its long-time, knee-jerk opposition to government funding for…parochial schools and to support….vouchers, tax credits” and other forms of aid.
Anti-Semitism on College Campuses: The UOJCA decried the “accelerating problem of anti-Semitism infecting academic institutions….” An adopted resolution committed the organization to continuing its efforts in partnership with other Jewish organizations, to monitor and combat this scourge. The resolution also committed the UOJCA’s ‘Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus’ to engage in this fight as well by “providing a safe” environment for Jewish students on the many campuses on which JLIC operates.