Presidents Conference Declares It Will Not Endorse Any Presidential Candidate

The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations declared this weekend that the conference “does not and will not” endorse any candidate for President or other public office.

Rabbi Herschel Schacter, chairman of the group, issued the statement following news reports that an aide of Republican Presidential nominee Ribbard M. Nixon had sent a letter to rabbis throughout the United States, urging support for Mr. Nixon and enclosing a report of Mr. Nixon’s meeting with representatives of the Presidents conference on Oct. 21.

The mailing from the Nixon aide evoked a sharp response from two Reform leaders — Rabbi Maurice N. Eisendrath, president of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, and Rabbi Levi Olan, president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis. In a joint statement, the Reform leaders assailed the mailing as “a crude attempt to manipulate the synagogue and the rabbinate for partisan political advantage.” The letter asked the rabbis to share with their congregations information contained in a report on the Oct. 21 meeting.

The Eisendrath-Olan statement said that the Reform leaders had received protests from a number of rabbis and laymer, who received the letter, which included a full report by Rabbi Schacter on the meeting. Rabbi Schacter praised Mr. Nixon’s grasp of problems of “concern to the American Jewish community.”

Along with the new statement, Rabbi Shacter also released a report on the meeting between the President’s Conference and Vice-President Hubert Humphrey on Oct. 30. That report said that members of the President’s Conference had been “heartened” by the Vice President’s “assurances of concern and pledges of action on the issue of peace in the Middle East, the security of Israel, the status of Jews in the Soviet bloc and the urban crisis.”

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