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Reform Rabbis Convention Urges Action on Soviet Persecution of Jews

The 73rd annual convention of the Central Conference of American Rabbis concluded here last night with a resolution calling on the 850 Reform rabbis in this country as well as upon the more than 1,000,000 members in the Reform Temples “to arouse public opinion” in the United States to the “persecution of Jews and Judaism in the Soviet Union.”

The convention of the central body of the Reform rabbinate saluted the “courage and persistent loyalty to Judaism” of Jews in the Soviet Union despite “arrests, convictions and executions of lay leaders of synagogues” and other repressions. The rabbis also criticized the U.S. State Department for what was termed “a failure to protest more vigorously” the maltreatment of Jews in the Soviet Union. They expressed their revulsion “over the religious and cultural liquidation of Judaism and the coercive assimilation of Jews in the Soviet Union.”

The rabbis pointed to a whole series of repressions, citing “repeated anti-Semitic attacks in the Soviet press; the restrictions suffered by Jews which make impossible any organizational and communal contact with their co-religionists in other parts of the world: and the denial of religious articles such as Bibles, prayer books, prayer shawls, and matzohs.

The convention also accepted a recommendation by Rabbi Albert G. Minda of Minneapolis, president of the CCAR, calling for maximum support of the fund-raising campaigns for the support of Reform Judaism’s national institutions. These are the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, Reform Judaism’s synagogue service body, and the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Reform Judaism’s rabbinical seminary. The rabbis also pledged their full support to Rabbi Maurice N. Eisendrath, president of the congregational union, and Rabbi Nelson Glueck, president of the seminary.

The convention took stands on a variety of religious and public issues which will serve as guidelines for individual rabbis in their communities. It decided to meet again in Philadelphia next June. Dr. Albert G. Minda, of Minneapolis, was re-elected president by a unanimous vote of the 500 rabbis who attended the convention. Rabbi Sidney L. Regner, the CCAR’s executive vice-president, was cited by the rabbinical body for his many years of service to it and on motion of the convention will be the recipient later this year of “suitable recognition” as he marks his 35th year in the rabbinate.

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