Resolution Adopted by the CCAR

RABBI (FREEDOM OF)

Digests of resolutions adopted by the
Central Conference of American Rabbis
between 1889 and 1974

1. See Freedom of Speech, 1928, p. 86; Civil Liberties, 1938, p. 89.

2. We reaffirm the duty of rabbis teaching and preaching Judaism to speak out on all the challenges of contemporary life in which moral principles are involved. We reassert that the principles of our religion offer guidance for the conduct of industry, commerce, politics, government and international relations. (1946, p. 103)

3. See Subversive Groups.

4. See Social Betterment, Sec. 3 and 5.

5. See Freedom of Pulpit, Sec. 2 (1953).

6. The rights of the individual to apply the teachings of his faith to all issues involving moral and ethical implications must be safe-guarded within congregations just as effectively as in the larger arena of public life. This right applies both to the Rabbi and to members of the congregation. Wherever possible, Rabbi and congregation should work unitedly in this regard. Where there are differences of opinion on social, political, or economic matters between pulpit and pew, the Rabbi's right to preach and the layman's right to dissent must both be preserved.

By the demands of prophetic precedent, the Rabbi has the right, duty and obligation to express himself on all matters which he feels involve moral and ethical issues. He is not necessarily the spokesman of his individual congregation, but is a spokesman for Judaism and its principles. His expressed opinions are his own, but must reflect the principles enunciated by Judaism.

The right to dissent is inherent in Judaism. There should exist in every congregation a climate welcoming differences of opinion. The layman, like the Rabbi, has religious duties, obligations and privileges in the spheres of social justice and action. He should be informed about the teachings of Judaism and should endeavor to apply them to specific issues and problems. Every opportunity should be given to laymen to express publicly opinions and beliefs which may not necessarily mirror those of the Rabbi. Both Rabbi and layman have the right to their views, which must be expressed in good faith and consistent with Judaism. (1953, pp. 132-33)

2. See Segregation, Sec. 2 (1956) .