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Reform and Conservative Jewish Leaders Respond to Efforts to Discredit Ambassador Daniel Kurtzer

Letter to Bush notes that criticism of Ambassador Kurtzer:
"not shared by the mainstream Jewish community"

Contact: Alexis Rice (202) 387-2800
Esther Lederman (212) 650-4162

WASHINGTON, APRIL 26, 2001 -- The Union of American Hebrew Congregations, United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, Central Conference of American Rabbis, and the Rabbinical Assembly on Wednesday issued the following letter to President George W. Bush in reaction to recent attempts in the Jewish community to discredit Ambassador Daniel Kurtzer. Recently, a series of ads ran in Jewish newspapers criticizing his candidacy for Ambassador to Israel.

The complete letter follows:

    Dear Mr. President:

    As religious movements, we rarely support or oppose Presidential appointments. Recently, however, attempts have been made by some in our community to discredit Ambassador Daniel Kurtzer from consideration as U.S. Ambassador to Israel by claiming that he holds "anti-Israel views." On behalf of the Reform and Conservative Movements, which together comprise more than 85% of affiliated American Jews, we write to indicate that such criticism is not shared by the mainstream Jewish community.

    Although we would not formally support Ambassador Kurtzer's appointment, we do not believe the claim that Daniel Kurtzer is unfit to serve as Ambassador to Israel. Our Movements have worked with Ambassador Daniel Kurtzer over the years and greatly respect him. He has been a committed servant of the U.S. government over the years and has been a great friend to Israel. Ambassador Kurtzer has earned broad respect in the diplomatic field among Arabs, Israelis and American officials.

    We would, of course, be pleased to discuss this with you or your staff in any greater detail.

    Rabbi Charles A. Kroloff , President, Central Conference of American Rabbis
    Rabbi Paul J. Menitoff, Executive Vice-President, Central Conference of American Rabbis
    Rabbi Vernon H. Kurtz, President, Rabbinical Assembly
    Rabbi Joel Meyers, Executive Vice-President, Rabbinical Assembly
    Rabbi Eric. H. Yoffie, President, Union of American Hebrew Congregations
    Russell P. Silverman, Chair, Union of American Hebrew Congregations
    Stephen S. Wolnek, President, United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism
    Rabbi Jerome M. Epstein , Executive Vice-President, United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism

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The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (UAHC), whose 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) whose membership includes over 1700 Reform rabbis.



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