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Synagogue Council Hails Dumbarton Oaks Proposals but Deplores Lack of Spiritual Content

Hailing and endorsing the spirit in which the Dumbarton Oaks Proposals for International Peace and Security came into being, “as a most significant step forward in human striving, ” the Synagogue Council of America, in a statement released today by Rabbi Ahron Opher, Assistant to the President, nevertheless deplores what it regards as a lack in the Dumbarton Oaks document of the “Prophetic passion to stir and capture the universal spiritual and ethical values inherent in the souls of man.”

The statement was drafted by the Committee on Peace Studies composed of Rabbis Isaac Leudman, editor of the Universal Jewish Encyclopedia, chairman; Louis Finkelstein, president of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America; and David de Sola Pool, Rabbi of the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue, and was adopted by the executive Committee of the Synagogue Council of America, of which Rabbi Herbert S. Goldstein is president.

The pronouncement by the council – which represents Orthodox, Reform and Conservative congregations – says that “the use of force to suppress the persecutor and to vanquish the oppressor is a recognized principle of Judaism. Jewish Rabbinic tradition distinguishes clearly between wars of offense’ and ‘wars of defense.'” It adds, however, that while the Dumbarton Oaks Proposals provide machinery for possible prevention of future wars, they make no provision for the establishment of universal peace.

“All the most perfected, practical machinery in the world for maintaining peace will not avail,” it continues, “until in men and nations there is created the spirit of the will to peace, through adherence to the word of God which calls for Universal disarmament, as the prophets Micah and Isaiah declared: They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore,'”

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