Modern U.S. Orthodox rabbis: Openly teach Orthodox principles

In light of 'rapid and uncertain legal and cultural change,' RCA adopts resolution in favor of pro-active freedom of resolution.

Hillel Fendel ,

Illustration. Father and son study
Illustration. Father and son study
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The Rabbinical Council of America (RCA), a 1,000-member organization of modern American Orthodox rabbis, has adopted a resolution to stand up to the increasing denial of religious freedom in the United States.

The RCA announced that the resolution comes on the backdrop of the current "period of rapid and uncertain legal and cultural change."

By direct vote of its full membership, the organization resolved to “vigorously protect and support its members' religious freedom and responsibility to practice, openly teach, and publicly defend Orthodox Jewish principles.” The RCA also asserted that it will expand its efforts to support other religious groups in exercising their freedom of religion.

The rabbis note that in recent years, certain cultural practices “are quickly evolving from advocacy for legal recognition" to the "application of coercive measures that may compel many religious Americans and Canadians to violate their religious principles.”

The resolution also notes that "governmentally imposed measures that force American or Canadian citizens to teach, affirm, or provide material support to religiously prohibited lifestyles—as, for example, new measures in Ontario and British Columbia that force religious high schools to teach their students about such lifestyles in a positive manner dictated by government—constitute a violation of the freedom of religion."

Two other points that the RCA notes are that "Jewish religious law applies to all times and places, and its teachings are not subject to suspension even when they are perceived to conflict with the societal norms or temporal laws in contemporary society" and that "US and Canadian… Orthodox Jewish leaders in particular often find themselves vulnerable to attack for defending their fundamental religious principles."

Therefore, the RCA resolves:
"… to vigorously protect and support its members' religious freedom and responsibility to practice, openly teach and publicly defend Orthodox Jewish principles, including but not limited to: (i) refraining from the celebration or endorsement of intimate relationships that are incompatible with the Torah’s understanding of proper traditional marriage between men and women, (ii) avoiding the implementation of what they see as unacceptable policies that follow from the now-prevalent concept of “gender fluidity,” (iii) supporting the sanctity of human life in the face of movements to legalize euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide, and (iv) opposing those abortions that they believe to be prohibited by Jewish law.

"Commits to educating the public regarding tenets of Orthodox Judaism that its adherents are religiously proscribed from violating, so that American and Canadian government officials can more easily avoid infringing upon the religious liberty of Jewish citizens.

"Resolves to expand its efforts to support other religious groups in exercising their freedom of religion. The RCA will continue to support amicus legal briefs advocating the preservation of religious liberty and the free exercise of religion in the United States and Canada, so that all citizens may enjoy the freedom and security to remain true to the fundamental obligations required by their religious consciences."



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