Agudah Rallies Orthodox Activism

Once a bastion of isolationism and staunch religious anti-Zionism, the leadership of the frummer-than-frum Agudath Israel (one of the most influential of all Orthodox Jewish institutions) have declared a firm new activist stance:

In a fundamental call to abandon the traditional haredi isolationist mentality, the leader of a major US haredi group is urging the community to play a more active role in matters beyond its parochial needs.

Rabbi Shmuel Bloom, executive vice president of Agudath Israel of America, argued in a landmark address last weekend that with demographic trends showing Orthodox Jews growing as a proportion of a shrinking American Jewish population, haredim no longer can afford to rely on secular Jewish institutions to bear the burden of Jewish communal responsibilities. Haredim, who have been concerned with their own parochial interests, will have to take over for secular American Jews, he said, by fighting anti-Semitism, bolstering the Israeli economy and lobbying Congress.

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