Reform Leader Charges Housing Bias; Calls on Temples to Act on Issue

Rabbi Richard G. Hirsch, of this city, on behalf of Reform Judaism’s Commission on Social Action, today accused the real estate industry, financial institutions, insurance agencies and Federal Government agencies of “perpetuating housing segregation. ” He called upon the 630 Reform temples affiliated with the Union of American Hebrew Congregations to adopt a program of study and action to deal “with this vital question. “

The Commission on Social Action represents the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the rabbinical organization of the Reform rabbinate, as well as the UAHC and its affiliated bodies.

Rabbi Hirsch expressed his accusations in a pamphlet, issued here today, entitled “Judaism and the Crisis in the Cities. ” The study deals with many moral and social problems which effects the metropolitan city in crisis, including the clog of transportation; need for better urban planning; population changes; higher educational standards; elimination of slums and abuses of slum landlords.

One section includes an historical analysis of the Jewish views towards the city as it evolves from Jewish history. “It would be unjust to place the blame for the perpetuation of segregation on any single group or any single cause, ” stated Rabbi Hirsch. “Nevertheless, some elements in our society are more directly involved than others. ” In his call upon Reform Judaism to act on the problem, he stated:

“Judaism does not ask man to love every other man the way he loves himself. Judaism does not expect all whites to love all Negroes, and all Christians to love all Jews, any more than it expects all whites to love all whites or all Jews to love all Jews. Judaism, however, does expect each person to recognize the sanctity of every man, the individuality of every individual, the right of every human being to be human. “

In his program for study and action on the problem, Rabbi Hirsch emphasized synagogal participation in all community action toward elimination of segregation, creation “of a climate of opinion” on the problem within the synagogue, and “initiating and pioneering the translation of Jewish ethics into action. “

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