Menu JTA Search

Reform Rabbis Rap John Birch Society; Urge Medical Care for Aged

America’s Reform rabbis today denounced the John Birch Society for repeating “some of the worst evils of McCarthyism, ” called for mediation of United States-Cuban relations, named Federal aid to public education America’s greatest need, and asked the abolition of the House Committee on Un-American Activities.

The rabbis are attending the 72nd annual convention of the Central Conference of American Rabbis. They took stands on these and a host of other national and international issues in a section-by-section adoption of a report by the CCAR’s commission on Justice and peace. The report was presented for discussion and action by Rabbi Leon I. Feuer, of Toledo, Ohio, commission chairman.

The convention also heard Israel’s first Ambassador to the United States, Eliahu Elath, explain why his economically underprivileged country has been extending aid to the newly created states of Africa and Asia. “For the first time in 2,000 years,” Ambassador Elath declared, “we are again a free and independent nation with the chance of contributing as much as our limited means and opportunities allow, to the well-being of other peoples. ” He said that this cooperation with the new African and Asian states “gives expression to one of the basic tenets of the Jewish concept of universal brotherhood and peace.”

In expressing their views on the national and international issues, the rabbis did so in the light of the effect of these issues upon America’s moral standing. In their consideration of the cold war, the rabbis urged all parties “to exercise the utmost of patience and diplomatic skill” on nuclear testing, disarmament, Berlin, Laos and other questions in dispute.

They also gave their strong endorsement to the United Nations and especially to Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold, and stressed the need for a “permanent international police force and a U. N. strong enough to replace the threat of war with enforceable world law.”

The rabbis also called for an end to “delay” in the matter of medical care for the aged; asked for stronger efforts to insure civil rights; and scored the efforts of “organized groups” to suppress freedom of speech through exercise of the powers of censorship.

The convention, in session here since Tuesday, is being attended by 500 of the CCAR’s 800 Reform rabbinical members in the United States and Canada. The annual meeting is scheduled to close after Sabbath services at Temple Israel here Saturday.

NEXT STORY