NEW YORK (Jan. 9, 2001) - The leader of North America's Reform Jewish Movement today expressed disbelief at Jerusalem Mayor Ehud Olmert's statements that the largest branch of American Jewry is "an insignificant minority that is meaningless when it comes to Jerusalem."
Olmert made his comments during a radio interview Tuesday morning with the Israel Broadcast Authority.
"I am astounded at the Mayor of Jerusalem's ignorance about the fabric of American Jewry," said Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie, president of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations. "In this interview he said, and I quote: 'I know American Jewry,' and then went on to say, 'there are much larger movements among American Jewry. B'nai B'rith movement, for example."
"I am astonished that a politician of Mr. Olmert's stature doesn't know the basic facts about North American Jewish life," said Yoffie. "For the record: the Reform Movement represents some 1.5 million Jews in North America, the largest group by far of any organized body of Jews on this continent."
"North American Reform Jews are deeply concerned about the future and security of Israel and its citizens," Yoffie said. "I urge Mr. Olmert to learn more about our commitment to support the people and the government of Israel in finding a way to resolve the current tensions in the Middle East."
The Union of American Hebrew Congregations is the central body of Reform Judaism in North America, representing 1.5 million Reform Jews in over 900 synagogues. UAHC services include camps, music and book publishing, outreach to unaffiliated and intermarried Jews, educational programming, and the Religious Action Center in Washington, DC.