Convention of Conservative Rabbis Wants Jewish Chaplaincy Transferred

A resolution proposing that the Commission on Jewish Chaplaincy be removed from the National Jewish Welfare Board and placed “under responsible religious auspices, “such as the Synagoue Council of America, “was adopted here today at the concluding session of the Rabbinical Assembly the organization of Conservative rabbis.

The resolution did not concern itself with the general activities of the JWB but only with the Chaplaincy Service. It instructed the Assembly to enter negotiations with other rabbinical bodies to effect the change in the Chaplaincy Service. The resolution declared that the Assembly should be prepared to endorse chaplains unilaterally and, “together with the United Synagogue of America, support their activities, if a cooperative plan cannot be effected on an intra-denominational basis.” The United Synagogue is the congregational arm of the American Conservative movement.

Sanford Solender, executive vice-president of the National Jewish Welfare Board, commenting on the resolution of the Conservative rabbis, said: “From World War I to the present time, JWB has been responsive to the wishes of the rabbinate in reference to the Jewish military chaplaincy. The three rabbinic bodies (Conservative, Orthodox and Reform) created the Commission on Jewish Chaplaincy and named their own delegates to the Commission. The Commission membership and its staff are constituted of rabbis only, and they make the policy decisions in reference to the Chaplaincy Service. They recruit chaplains, service them, visit with them in the field, both in the United States and overseas, and they determine what religious publications and supplies should be provided to Jewish personnel in the armed forces.

“In the Commission on Jewish Chaplaincy, the three rabbinic groups have worked together in harmony as the authoritative and independent religious spokesman of American Judaism to and in the military establishment. In wartime and in peacetime, JWB has been of service to the Jewish chaplains in helping them perform their duties in the armed forces and in mobilizing on their behalf the full resources of the American Jewish community,” Mr. Solender emphasized.

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