«Jewish Observer»
March 2002
5762 Adar

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To the editor-in-chief of Jewish Observer
Mr. Vitaliy Nakhmanovich.

Dear Vitaliy Rafailovich,

Religious Union of progressive Judaism communities of Ukraine (RUPJCU) respects your periodical and values professionalism of its staff.

At the same time we find it necessary to draw your attention to the fact that discourteous publications in your newspaper are inadmissible, in particular, about the progressive Judaism movement. The title of your newspaper "Jewish Observer", informational-analytical periodical of the Jewish Confederation at Ukraine - presupposes the survey based on analytical analysis of all trends in Judaism and objective attitude to all Jewish organizations. At the same time, simple analysis of publications in your periodical shows that progressive and conservative trends in Judaism are paid very little attention. It puts into doubt the analyzability of "Observer", which should observe and objectively analyze the whole range of questions and problems of Jewish life. Of particular concern is the republication by "Jewish Observer" of the articles, which include ungrounded attacks directed at the progressive Judaism movement. Without system analysis of the activities of our movement, which embraces approximately 2 million followers in 43 countries at all continents, such publication discredits one of the most widespread trends in Judaism. In particular, "Jewish Observer" # 1/20, 2002, published Jessica Stainberg's article "Israel again debates about who should be considered a Jew", republished from Moscow "Inostranets". As a resume, this article cites Johnatan Rosenblume writer-conformist, who rejects the results of the sociological survey held in Israel, and affirms that representatives of reformist and conservative Judaism allegedly contract mixed marriages under hupah in the presence of Christian priest, use ktuba with crucifix and sanctify homosexual marriages.

Due to what was said above, the Religious Union of progressive Judaism communities in Ukraine considers it necessary to declare the following. The progressive Judaism movement promotes marriages only between Galakhah Jews, or between Jews and those who adopted Judaism after giyur.

However, understanding the situation in the former USSR, when the majority of Jews got assimilated, we tolerantly support those who want to go back to their Jewish roots. That is why we never reject a mixed family, members of which want to learn more and joint their traditions. Both Jews and their non-Jewish partners also children from mixed families participate in the our community programs. The religious wedding ceremony is conducted by a rabbi and for Jews only and their partners on condition that they got through giyur. Representatives of other confessions, in particular, Christian priests, do not take part in the ceremony, and crucifix is never printed on marriage certificates. We also want to say that the reformist movement is a modern tolerant trend in Judaism, which doesn't condemn sexual minorities, however, wedding ceremonies between representatives of sexual minorities are not conducted. There is such a ceremony in the USA and Western Europe.

The Religious Union of progressive Judaism communities in Ukraine is ready to give all available materials about ideology, history, modern development of the progressive Judaism movement in Ukraine. The main ones are represented in the periodical of the RUPJCU "Open Door" ("Otkrytaya Dver").

We express our hope that publications in "Observer" will promote the highlighting of Jewish life, different trends in Judaism, joining, but not separating Jews.

Yours sincerely,
Vladimir Matveyev
Press attache of RUPJCU
Editor-in-chief of "Open Door" ("Otkrytaya Dver").

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© 2002 Jewish Confederation of Ukraine - www.jewukr.org