Roosevelt Upholds Faith in “liberty of Conscience” As Reform Rabbis Open Parley in Capital

President Roosevelt’s message, dated May 19 and addressed to Rabbi Currick, follows:

The Central Conference of American Rabbis, opening its 50th anniversary convention tonight, applauded a message from President Roosevelt re-affirming America’s faith in “complete liberty of conscience” and heard a proposal of its president, Rabbi Max C. Currick, for a Jewish religious front in America. Some 400 Reform rabbis gathered at the Hotel Mayflower for the first of the sessions, which will last five days.

“In a message to the Congress last January I took occasion to declare that: ‘Where freedom of religion has been attacked, the attack has come from sources opposed to democracy. Where democracy has been overthrown, the spirit of free worship has disappeared. And where religion and democracy have vanished, good faith and reason in international affairs have given way to strident ambition and brute force.’ In extending hearty greetings to your Conference I desire also to express the hope that its deliberations will be fruitful of wise counsel and constructive action in the defense of the heritage of democracy on which all of our happiness rests.”

In his presidential message, Rabbi Currick recommended that a special committee be appointed to report to the October meeting of the executive board on the possibility of forming a Jewish religious front. The General Jewish Council, he said, is not completely representative of Jewish life. “The synagogue in its three branches, comprising the largest group of Jews in the land and the characteristic groups because they are united for religious purposes, still is not represented in the Council,” he declared.

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