Conservative Rabbis’ Group Backs Birth Control
Menu JTA Search

Conservative Rabbis’ Group Backs Birth Control

Download PDF for this date

A report endorsing birth control was before 100 Conservative rabbis today, meeting in the thirty-sixth annual convention of the Rabbinical Assembly of America.

The social justice committee, summarizing its year’s activities, reported endorsing the birth control announcement issued by the Protestant clergy in reply to a statement by Cardinal Hayes in which he denounced birth control.

The committee also supported recognition of unions, collective bargaining and peace movements.

The Palestine committee commended the Palestine Jews for self-discipline in the current reign of terror. It welcomed the progress made by Hadassah and endorsed the Histadruth, general labor federation.

The education committee, headed by Dr. Simon Greenberg, submitted papers. Rabbi Leon S. Land held that adolescents needed a course in Jewish orientation including Bible appreciation, current problems of Jewish continuity, religious observance and Jewish ideology.

Rabbi David Aronson declared that adolescent Jewish equipment included formal Jewish knowledge, cultivation of Jewish habits, contact with current events and a knowledge of Jewish institutions. The synagogue offers Jewish memories, activities and hopes essential to the Jewish personality, he said.

Concerted action to unite American Jews for cooperative religious life was announced by Dr. Elias Margolis, president of the Synagogue Council of America.

Plans to encourage survival of the Jewish people as a religious community — a community in which the collective experience of the group functions as a way of salvation for the individual — were urged by Rabbi Eugene Kohn, president of the assembly. He said there was nothing in the organic structure of Jewry to express a unity transcending division along religious denominational lines.” He advocated:

1- A study of the problem of Jewish community organization.

2- Mobilization of the spiritual resources of Jewish institutional life for social justice to all.

3- Creation of a technique of social action.

4- Preparation of a syllabus of social problems to guide adult groups from the religious and ethical angle.

5- Courses in the curriculum training rabbis in social problems.

6- Recognition of the equal spiritual status of men and women.

7- Emphasis by the pulpit on ethical criteria, economic issues and social movements, and the identity of the service of God with the reconstruction of society.

Dr. Cyrus Adler, president of the Jewish Theological Seminary, sent greetings.

Louis J. Moss, president of the United Synagogue of America, said, “No change in the political system or social order, however revolutionary, will prove valuable if the spirit dominating men’s motives does not change.

Dr. A. M. Hershman spoke in memory of Prof. Morris D. Levine and Dr. C. Hillel Kauver in memory of Rev. Joshua A. Joffe.

Dr. Israel Efros said the four main motifs of Hebrew Palestinian poetry are resignation to pain, resolute determination, joy of labor and love of soil.

Rabbi Theodore Friedman directed attention to the discovery of an autobiography of Hyaim Joseph David Azulai, eighteenth century rabbi.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund