ATLANTIC CITY (Jun. 25)
The Synagogue Council of America is at work on peace proposals to be issued jointly with proposals of Protestants and Catholics as an “expression of the religious spirit,” Rabbi Edward L. Israel, chairman of the Council, reported at today’s session of the annual meeting of the Central Conference of American Rabbis at the Hotel Chelsea.
The Synagogue Council is also planning a census and survey of Jewish trainees in army camps, Rabbi Israel said. He added that the Council intended to formulate an attitude on the “release time” plan for religious study in public schools.
The afternoon session was adjourned because of the funeral of Dr. Henry Fisher, rabbi of Atlantic City’s Temple Beth Israel, who died suddenly last night. He was 65 years old. Rabbi Fisher was scheduled to welcome the convention. Instead, this was done by his assistant, Rabbi Narot. Dr. Fisher was active in civic affairs and was a member of the Board of Education. A police escort was provided for his funeral, at which Dr. Julian Morgenstern of Cincinnati officiated.
A proposal for a “consultative conference” aimed at “creation of a single united representative Jewish defense organization” was contained in a report of the Committee on Contemporaneous History and Literature, prepared for submission today by Dr. Jacob R. Marcus.
The resolution provides that the Conference’s executive board coopt the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds and the six major Jewish religious organizations, which seven groups would be asked to invite all important groups to the proposed conference.
Stressing the necessity of unity of “the only surviving free large Jewish group in the world,” the report says “nothing has been done to implement the Pittsburgh agreement of June, 1938, which promised ‘immediate coordination of the activities’ of the four major defense organizations ‘through the creation of a central body.”
Shortening of the school day to allow time for independent religious study is urged by the Committee on Church and State, headed by Rabbi Albert G. Minda of Minneapolis, as an alternative to the “released time” which is held to jeopardize the American principle of separation of Church and State. The report also recommends “a maximum of civic and interfaith cooperation compatible with the safeguarding of the democratic principle of the separation of Church and State.”
Supporting efforts to achieve Jewish unity, a report by Rabbi Emil Leipziger, president of the C.C.A.R., asserts that “without forcing the ideology of Reform upon others, we ought at least to let the genius of our career in America…express itself more clearly, nobly and effectively before the dire need of the more inclusive unity which urges our action today.”
Rabbi Leipziger also urges withdrawal of the C.C.A.R. from all international and national organizations in whose policy-making it does not share. He points out that during the controversy on the Lease-Lend Bill, the National Council for Prevention of War wrote a letter, on a letterhead which included the C.C.A.R. as a sponsoring organization, making “passionate and unwise” statements.
Creation of a summer camp institute, to develop youth leadership in Reform synagogues and to help stimulate a sense of the dynamic values of religious Judaism, was approved at a meeting of the Commission on Jewish Education held Monday, prior to the opening of the convention. The Commission is composed of representatives of the C.C.A.R. and of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations.