RCA: “Embrace All Jews, Regardless of Belief or Observance”


rca-emblemThe RCA released the following statement:

The Rabbinical Council of America, the largest association representing Orthodox rabbis, reiterates the well-known position of halachic Judaism, that all Jews, regardless of their observance or belief, are full members of the Jewish people, and are our brothers and sisters. The issue is once more in the news cycle after Israel’s Religious Affairs Minister David Azoulay made an intemperate statement regarding Reform Jews, although from the context it seems clear that he meant to question the validity of their religious expression rather than their essential Jewishness.

Rabbi Leonard Matanky, president of the RCA, said, “The RCA, representing traditional standards of religious practice and definition of Jewishness, has well-known objections to some of the fundamental tenets of Reform Judaism. There is no question, however, that we certainly embrace all members of the Jewish community. This is clearly the undisputed position of Jewish law. In addition, our late teacher Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik spoke of a covenant of peoplehood that is defined by our shared history and common fate that binds together all Jews as one people. The ties that bind us to all other Jews are strong and eternal.”

Rabbi Mark Dratch, Executive Vice President of the RCA, stated, “We fear that Minister Azoulay’s comments will hamper the efforts we all support to bring all Jews closer to their religious legacy, and alienate many with whom we work daily to strengthen both the State of Israel and our own community.”



  1. Observant must mean orthodox.

    With that assumption the FFB or FFH communities have an equally tough time accepting “observant” Baal Tsuvahs never mind expecting them to accept flagrant violators of Halacha although the community fully embraces FFH’s (frum from habit)

    And the following is for this big Rabbi who told us our son wasn’t good enough to marry his daughter…
    איינע פון לעבּענס גרעסטע וואונדער איז, דער בּחור וואָס איז נישט געווען גענוג גוט פאַר דײַן טאָכטער איז דער פאָטער פונעם קלוגסטן אייניקל אין דער וועלט

    Hope all is well

    Zei Gebentch

  2. Yes, Anyone with a Jewish mother has an irrevocable Jewish status. Whether Orthodox, Conservative, Reform or affiliated – they are our Jewish brothers and sisters. What the RCA letter does not clarify – and perhaps this is what Minister David Azoulay meant and he should have been more clear about – is that one who calls himself a Reform Jew cannot be assumed to be Jewish just by his declaration. Some most definitely are, but those of patrilineal Jewish descent whose mother is not Jewish are 100% not Jewish, irrespective of their feelings of personal identity, high level of activity in their Reform temple, deep love of Israel and significant contribution to Jewish society. They may be sincere, but they’re not Jewish. There are many people who call themselves Reform Jews and fit that category. There’s no such thing as a 50% Jew – you either are or you aren’t. The only criteria for being Jewish is being born of a Jewish mother or undergoing a fully halachic conversion.

  3. Yes reform Jews are Jews except those whose mother was not Jewish & she did not convert al pi halacha.
    Unfortunately the reform & conservative Jews make a mockery of giyur kehalacha. Many men marry non jewish women & these movements still recognize the children as jewish even though they are not.

  4. neturei karta are direct descendants of the eruv rav

    at best

    maybe even worse

    their public expressions of chilul hashem are infinitely more disturbing than any reform practices

  5. This is the same Rabbi Matanky whose Chicago Eruv was ruled INVALID by the Rabbanim Soloveichik. Due to the popularity of this “Eruv,” Rabbi Matanky is responsible for a massive Chilul Shabbos (R”L) in Chicago every week!

  6. Excuse you, Mister Concerned Jew, but I live in Chicago and there are MANY, MANY, MANY Jews in Chicago who use the Eruv each week, WHICH IS NOT ONLY ALLOWED BY RABBI MATANKY. The Briskers and others do not use it, but many do BECAUSE THEIR OWN RABBANIM RULED THAT IS WAS 100% VALID! Don’t you dare say that there’s a massive Chilul Shabbos in Chicago every week just because YOU THINK YOU KNOW BETTER THAN ALL OF THE RABBANIM WHO ALLOW OUR ERUV. Oh, and one of Chicago’s prominent Chassidish families use it, too, so don’t say a word.