Jewish Participation in Peace Corps Lauded at Conference in Washington

R. Sargent Shriver, director of the Office of Economic Opportunity and founder of the Peace Corps, today told a national conference on “Judaism in pursuit of economic justice” that Jews have performed an outstanding role in both the war on poverty in the United States and the Peace Corps abroad.

He commended the conference, conducted by the Religious Action Center of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations. He cited the words of Maimonides pertaining to the highest degree of charity–the 8th degree–the anticipation of poverty by creating jobs and opportunity. This, he said, was a Jewish concept and the most meritorious approach to the war on poverty.

According to Mr. Shriver, Jews are now active as peace corps volunteers in four Arab nations despite gloomy predictions in Washington that the corps anti-bias policy would keep it out of Moslem lands. In Somalia, he said, he met an Orthodox Jewish American Peace Corpsmen who wore a yarmalka among the Arabs. He said this man and his wife shared a house with Egyptians and did a valuable job for the Peace Corps while openly practicing his Americanism and Judaism. In another Arab country, said Mr. Shriver, two Jewish volunteers were among the most effective workers although the corps generally had experienced trouble with the Arabs on other issues.

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