- The Washington Times - Friday, March 23, 2007

Reform Judaism seeks more clout in Israel

JERUSALEM — World leaders of Reform Judaism began a new push Monday for greater support from Israelis despite what they called continuing discrimination at the hands of the Orthodox religious establishment in Israel.

Reform Judaism, a liberal, egalitarian movement, is the largest branch of American Judaism. But the movement has never caught on in large numbers in Israel, where the majority of religious Jews are Orthodox, and only a small minority Conservative or Reform.

In Israel, the Orthodox rabbinate has strenuously resisted inroads by the other streams, refusing to recognize their rulings or conversions as religiously valid.

Rabbi Uri Regev, head of the World Union for Progressive Judaism, the international umbrella group of the Reform movement, said its membership in Israel numbers in the thousands out of a population of 7 million.

Cardinal says update on bioethics in works

VATICAN CITY — Cardinal William Levada, the first U.S. head of the Vatican’s doctrinal watchdog office, said his office is researching new developments in bioethics as they consider updating the landmark 1987 instruction “Donum Vitae” or “Gift of Life.”

Cardinal Levada made the comments in a wide-ranging interview this month with Catholic News Service.

Cardinal Levada’s office, called the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, also oversees disciplinary reviews for the entire Roman Catholic Church of priests accused of sexually abusing children. While many cases are pending, the number of new claims is dwindling, he said.

“I think you could say the crisis dimensions [of the caseload], caused by the situation in the United States, are behind us,” Cardinal Levada told CNS.

On March 14, the congregation condemned as “erroneous or dangerous” some of the writings of a well-known champion of liberation theology, the Rev. Jon Sobrino, a Spanish Jesuit.

Cooper named provost at Jewish seminary

NEW YORK — Alan Cooper, a Bible professor at the Jewish Theological Seminary, has been appointed provost of the school — the flagship institution for Conservative Judaism.

Mr. Cooper will succeed Jack Wertheimer, who served as provost for the past 10 years.

In 1998, Mr. Cooper was appointed professor of Bible at Union Theological Seminary, becoming the first person to hold professorships at both schools.

Conservative Judaism occupies a middle ground between the liberal Reform and traditional Orthodox branches. The Conservative movement follows Jewish law, while allowing some innovation to adapt to modern-day circumstances.

Mr. Cooper earned his bachelor’s degree from Columbia University and his doctoral degree from Yale University.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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