Synagogue Council Forms Advisory Body on International Affairs

Formation of a National Advisory Council of prominent leaders in the Jewish community to provide a reservoir of “statesmen” for the American Synagogue’s growing role in national and international affairs was announced today by the Synagogue Council of America, the national coordinating agency of the rabbinic and congregational associations of the Conservative, Orthodox, and Reform Jewish communities.

The announcement was made in a joint statement by former Senator Herbert H. Lehman, honorary chairman of the National Advisory Council, and Rabbi Max. Davidson, president of the Synagogue Council of America. Benjamin Lazrus was named national chairman of the new body.

Increasingly, within the past ten years, the Synagogue Council has been called upon by agencies of the United Nations to participate in conferences seeking the aid of religious leaders, both lay and clergy, in such problems as the creation of better understanding of the work of the United Nations, disarmament, the suspension of nuclear bomb testing, radiation fall-out, human rights, religious liberty, and a positive approach to the care and rehabilitation of refugees.

On the national scene, the active participation of religious leaders has been sought in interpreting the moral issues underlying our foreign aid program, in promoting equal job opportunity and seeking to eliminate discrimination in government contracts, the urgent problem of developing a community approach to juvenile delinquency, such social welfare issues as aid to dependent children and old age survivors insurance, the 1960 White House Conferences on Children and Youth, and the 1961 White House Conference on Aging.

The decision to establish the National Advisory Council developed at a briefing session prior to the conference of the President’s Committee on Government Contracts called by Vice President Richard M. Nixon last May. A delegation of leaders from the Jewish community, organized by the Synagogue Council, drew up the initial plans for the Advisory Council in response to the continuing need of the Synagogue Council for qualified lay leadership, both locally and nationally, on a variety of issues.

Former Senator Lehman and Rabbi Davidson stated that “the Synagogue Council today uniquely represents the ideals and viewpoints of the major branches of the religious Jewish community in matters of common interest before United States governmental agencies, Congressional committees, Presidential commissions, United Nations agencies, and in cooperative programs with the national Catholic and Protestant church federations. In the implementation of its program, the Synagogue Council has been motivated to seek advice, counsel and representation from among the informed and experienced leadership of Jewish communities across the nation.”

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