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Jewish Congregations More Liberal on Action of Rabbis in Civil Rights

Rabbis, by and large, have not had to face as many difficulties as many of their Christian colleagues with their congregations over the question of active participation in the civil rights movement, according to a survey by the Wall Street Journal.

The paper said that the question of whether a clergyman’s duty was to his immediate spiritual flock or whether it included “support for mans rights–particularly civil rights–everywhere” was plaguing an increasing number of churchmen and their congregations. It quoted an official of the National Conference on Race and Religion as saying that clergymen were “growing more liberal while churchgoers are becoming more conservative.”

Discussing the situation of the rabbis active in civil rights, the paper reported that “Nelson Glueck, president of Hebrew Union Colleges in Cincinnati, New York, Los Angeles, and Jerusalem, asserts that most Jewish congregations are extremely liberal and, if anything, have a ‘disproportionately’ large involvement in civil rights demonstrations. Some synagogue-goers, however, concede that older members of their congregations, with businesses in Negro neighborhoods, frown on civil rights agitation because they say it spurs Negro vandalism and resentment against white store owners.”

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