The Jewish Federations of North America offered its support this week to Rabbi Eliezer Melamed, the dean of the Har Bracha Hesder Yeshiva, over his efforts to promote dialog between Orthodox and Reform Jews.
The letter by the Federations to Rabbi Melamed reads as follows:
"Dear Rav Melamed,
On behalf of The Jewish Federations of North America, we are writing to express our support for you and your attempts at dialog and unity, especially in the face of considerable criticism from others.
As you may know, The Jewish Federations of North America represents 146 local Jewish Federations and some 300 smaller communities in the United States and Canada, and is the largest grassroots Jewish organization on the continent. We are apolitical and are not affiliated with any particular stream of Judaism; instead we represent and support the full spectrum of Jewish people in North America.
As an organization that brings together so many different perspectives, approaches and Jewish communities, we have always sought to promote dialog and unity within the Jewish people, and to build consensus wherever possible. While we acknowledge that there are significant ideological, theological and political divides among us, we continue to pursue respectful discussion, while shunning division. This is a core value which informs everything we do.
Please accept our best wishes to you as we applaud your efforts towards ahavat hinam [baseless love] and treating all Jews with honor and respect."
Earlier this year, Rabbi Melamed penned an essay rejecting the boycott on dialog with Reform and Conservative Jews. He also joined in a panel discussion with a female Reform rabbi, Delphine Horvilleur, this June, drawing criticism from some Orthodox leaders.