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