Statement of the American Council for Judaism Fellowship at The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the AMERICAN JEWISH ARCHIVES
Stephen L. Naman
The American Council for Judaism Fellowship at The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives was established in 2011 by the American Council for Judaism, Inc. (ACJ). The Council is a national organization that promotes the spiritual, intellectual and societal obligations of the Jewish religion, as well as the civic duties and responsibilities that are incumbent on all citizens of the United States.
The ACJ was formally established in 1943 by a group of Reform rabbis and lay leaders who were committed to the full integration and equality of peoples of all faiths and heritages in all lands; and preserving the ideals of Reform Judaism as articulated in the Pittsburgh Platform of 1885. Since its founding, the ACJ has been dedicated to the advancement of Judaism as a religion of universal and prophetic values, consonant with the ideals of a democratic society. The core belief of the Council is that we are Americans of the Jewish faith; America is our homeland and Judaism our religion. Israel represents the founding geographic location and historical context of our religion, not our homeland or political allegiance. The Council is committed to maintaining a diversity of expression within the Jewish community and that no group, organization or nation can speak for all Jews.
Over the years, the ACJ has consistently advocated on behalf of the ideals of the Classical Reform tradition in Judaism through the development of a religious school curriculum, an alternative Philanthropic Fund, use of the Union Prayer Book, and encouraging congregational worship for Classical Reform constituencies. The Council provided significant funding for the establishment of an independent Society for Classical Reform Judaism.
The American Council for Judaism Fellowship supports scholarly historical research in a wide variety of areas that relate to the organization’s core interests: historical perspectives on the American Council for Judaism; the history of American Reform Judaism; the interrelationships and integration of Jewish ideals and a democratic society; the historical development of the concept of Americans of the Jewish faith and its coequal relationship with all faiths in America; and the historical study of Classical Reform Judaism. Above all, the ACJ Fellowship supports the work of scholars who are pursuing critical and scientific research that promises to deepen our understanding of the history and development of American Judaism and the American Jewish experience.