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Conference of Reform Leaders Plans Relief of Shortage of Rabbis

Leaders of American Reform Judaism from all parts of the country started last night a four-day emergency conference here to formulate a program of action designed to alleviate the serious shortage of rabbis and religious school personnel and to aid communities in organizing and establishing new congregations. More than 300 delegates representing 534 Reform congregations are attending the parley.

In opening the conference, Dr. Maurice N. Eisendrath, president of the Union of American Hebrew Congregation, touched upon the Arab-Israel situation and demanded that there be no “Munich” for Israel in the secret sessions over Suez. “Had the State Department listened to earlier pleas for application of moral values in determining its policies, we might not today be threatened by the ‘trigger-happy’ and ambitious Arab war lords and their new found Soviet allies,” Dr. Eisendrath said.

At the same time, he stated: “We must do all in our power to help the State of Israel to be worthy of the noblest in the democratic tradition, that it likewise be motivated not by expediency or revenge, or by any primitive “five eyes for one eye,” and “ten Arab lives for one Israeli life” which certain extremists chauvinistically advocate. Though understanding the extraordinary provocation and urging U. S. arms for Israel to vouchsafe its security, nevertheless, he emphasized that Israel’s policies must be dictated by the demands of righteousness and freedom for all.

In his report to the executive board, Rabbi Eisendrath also denounced “intolerant elements” in the State of Israel which have opposed the introduction of Reform Jewish practices. “We must cease this conspiracy of silence, this “sha-sha” policy of shunning the blasphemous boycott and battle of our Orthodox brethren against the breadth of freedom of religion–that is to say of the Jewish religion, because, as we all know, most paradoxically, Christian and Moslem enjoy greater religious liberty than do some of our fellow Jews–upon the soil of Israel.”

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