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23 Tammuz 5760 - July 26, 2000 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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World Aguda Conference Opens in U.K.

by Yated Ne'eman Staff

More that 100 Agudath Israel rabbinic and lay leaders from around the world have arrived in Bournemouth, England for a conference of the international board of the Agudath Israel World Organization (the Vaad Hapoel Ha'olami) that began Monday afternoon. The gathering will focus on a host of issues of deep concern to the world Jewish community, including many pressing concerns regarding Jews and Judaism in Eretz Yisroel. It is the first such gathering since the petirah of Agudah leader Rabbi Moshe Sherer, zt"l.

At the opening session, Agudath Israel World Organization chairman Rabbi Yehuda Meir Abramowitz read the letters given to him by the gedolei hador as he visited them just before leaving for the conference. Rabbi Abramowitz read letters from HaRav Yosef Sholom Eliashiv, HaRav Aharon Yehuda Leib Steinman, the Admor of Gur, the Admor of Vishnitz and the Admor of Belz. R' Yitzchok Meir Zimmerman, deputy chairman of Agudath Israel of England greeted the conference. Also speaking were HaRav Yosef Tzvi Dunner, the ravad of the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations, HaRav Shlomo Klagsbald of Belgium, Rabbi Menachem Porush of Israel, Rabbi Yechezkel Besser of the U.S., and Rabbi Yehoshua Bloch of Switzerland.

According Rabbi Abramowitz, a number of issues concerning Eretz Yisroel will be addressed at the gathering, including security and political concerns, the effort to counter the import of "Jewish religious pluralism" to the Jewish State, the campaign for shemiras Shabbos, controversial recent Israeli High Court rulings and the Tal Commission bill concerning military service for bnei yeshiva.

All of United Torah Judaism's Knesset members are among the delegates from Israel scheduled to address the gathering.

The situation of Jews in the lands of the former Soviet Union will also occupy a prominent place on the conference agenda. A session on the topic will feature Rabbi Yaakov Bleich, Rabbi Pinchos Goldschmidt and Rabbi Moshe Kishon, the Chief Rabbis of Ukraine, Moscow and Azerbaijan, respectively.

A major highlight of the conference will be Tuesday evening's special session on "The Vision and Responsibility of the World Agudah" featuring Rabbi Chaim Dov Keller, rosh hayeshiva, Yeshivas Telshe, Chicago; Rabbi Betzalel Rakov, av beis din (Gateshead); Rabbi Yaakov Meir Rosenbaum, rosh hayeshiva, Lev Simcha (London); and Rabbi Shmuel Akiva Schlesinger, rav of Strassbourg.

A session will be dedicated as well to the media and their attitude toward Orthodox Jews and Judaism. Addressing the issue will be Rabbi Yisroel Eichler, editor of Hamachane Hacharedi, and Yonason Rosenblum, Am Echad's Israeli director and columnist for the Jerusalem Post.

Among other topics that will be discussed at the conference are the preservation of Jewish cemeteries in Eastern Europe, the fair distribution of Holocaust restitution funds, the role of Agudath Israel World Organization in the United Nations and international affairs, Keren Hashevi'is and Daf Yomi.

American Agudath Israel leaders making presentations at the conference include Rabbi Chaskel Besser, Rabbi Shmuel Bloom, Rabbi Reuven Dessler, Rabbi Shmuel Dishon, Reb Yechiel Ben Zion Fishoff, Reb Yosef Friedenson, Rabbi Shlomo Gertzulin, Reb Avrohom (George) Klein, Professor Moishe Zvi Reicher, Reb Gedalyah Weinberger and Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel.

Agudath Israel of America executive director Rabbi Boruch B. Borchardt, who helped organize the conference and will be in attendance, noted, "We haven't had a full meeting of the entire World Agudah board in a number of years, and it is deeply gratifying to see such a meeting take place.

"The addresses and discussions taking place this week in Bournemouth," the veteran Agudath Israel leader continued, "will surely do much to clarify the responsibilities faced today by the World Agudah."

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