Menu JTA Search

Religious American Jewry Acts in Support of Civil Rights Legislation

Religious American Jewry of all three denominations–Orthodox, Conservative and Reform–will be called upon to participate actively in a massive, national demonstration of “prayer and politics,” aimed at passage by Congress of the currently pending civil rights legislation, leaders of the Synagogue Council of America announced here today.

The announcement was made by Rabbi Uri Miller, president of the Synagogue Council, which embraces lay and rabbinical organizations of the Orthodox, Reform and Conservative persuasions; and Rabbi Irwin M. Blank, chairman of the Council’s Social Actions Commission.

The two Council leaders, along with about 1, 000 other Jewish leaders from all over the country, including laymen and rabbis, will participate here tomorrow night in a national interreligious convocation designed to spur passage of the federal civil rights legislation.

Co-sponsoring the convocation, with the Synagogue Council’s Commission, are the Commission on Religion and Race of the National Council of Churches, whose affiliates are the Protestant and Orthodox Christian churches; and the Social Action Department of the National Catholic Welfare Conference. Rabbi Miller will be one of the principal speakers at tomorrow night’s session, to be held here at Georgetown University.

The action program to be proposed for the American Jewish community, said Rabbi Blank, will lead off with a request that, at every Sabbath service in every synagogue and temple in the country, until the pending legislation is passed, there be held special prayers, sermons be delivered on the subject, and discussion of the civil rights issue be emphasized.

At the same time, Rabbi Blank said, Jews across the nation will be asked to intensify a mail campaign to members of the U.S. Senate, where the civil rights bill is being hobbled currently through a filibuster. “We have made far-reaching pronouncements against racial discrimination over the years,” said Rabbi Blank. “Now is the time, by personal involvement, for members of religious institutions, inspired by their ministers, priests and rabbis, to take forthright stands for a new pattern of justice, freedom and equality for all citizens.”

NEXT STORY