Convention of Reform Rabbis Hears Attack on U.S. Policy on Viet Nam

Reports on the attitudes of Reform rabbis in this country toward officiating at mixed marriages as well as toward seeking converts within the fold of Judaism will be presented to the annual meeting of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, central rabbinical body of the Reform movement, which opened here today.

The five-day meeting, attended by several hundred rabbis from the United States and Canada, will also discuss questions dealing with civil rights , the church-state issue, war on poverty and the Viet Nam war. In his presidential address tonight at the opening session of the meeting, Rabbi Jacob J. Weinstein of Chicago, told the delegates that part of the blame for the growing escalation of the Viet Nam war should be placed on religious groups which have “failed” to move their peace drives to the phase of molding public opinion.

He asserted that if the present policy escalated into a land war in China, “or a nuclear war which is just as likely” or if the United States continued to support the Ky Government, “regardless of the will of the people, ” the religious forces of the United States “will be held accountable for having proved inadequate or unwilling to redeem our country from the guilt of imperialistic arrogance.”

He also told his colleagues they must come to grips with “religion in our time” and make their ministries and synagogues “relevant in the secular city.” He urged” a major transformation” from the “gracious pastoral and village context of the biblical God to the urban context” where the spiritual leaders must confront such issues as the challenge of the “God is Dead” theologians, the probing of modern youth, the revolution of automation, and such specific issues as urban renewal, anti-poverty and civil rights.

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