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Sunday, 25 November 2007

Peres seeks improved relations between Beit Hanassi, Reform rabbis

Jerusalem Post
Peres seeks improved relations between Beit Hanassi, Reform rabbis
By MATTHEW WAGNER

In contrast to his predecessor, Moshe Katzav, who refused last year to
address the head of the Reform Movement, Rabbi Eric Yoffie, as "rabbi,"
President Shimon Peres met Friday with a group of five newly ordained
Reform rabbis at the Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem.
"What I appreciate in Reform Judaism is its accommodation of the best of
higher Jewish values with the modern world," Peres said. The previous
week, he met with Rabbi Tony Bayfield, head of the British branch of
Reform Judaism. It was the first meeting between Peres and a member of
the Reform movement since Peres took office in July. Sources said the
meetings were part of Peres's bid to repair damage caused by Katzav to
relations between the presidential office and Reform Judaism. During the
meeting with Bayfield, Peres reportedly said, "Since the rabbis get to
decide who is a Jew, the Jews should decide about who is a rabbi."
Dr. Michael Marmur, dean of the Hebrew Union College, said the change in
presidents marked a new and positive era. "Up until now, Katzav had made
it impossible for us to meet with him," he said. "But today there is a
new breeze blowing." "I have no interest in forcing anyone to call me
rabbi against his or her will," Marmur added. "The rabbi's congregation
is the one that reaffirms the title every single day."

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