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West Coast Rabbi Will Propose Abolition of Jewish Military Chaplaincy

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A West Coast Reform leader will propose before a major rabbinical organization next month abolition of the practice of sending rabbis into the military service as chaplains. Rabbi Joseph B. Glaser, regional director of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, says he will recommend before the convention of the Central Conference of American Rabbis (Reform) that civilian rabbis be assigned to take care of the needs of servicemen.

He told the press here that he bases his position on the failure of chaplains of any faith to speak out against the mutiny trials held at the Presidio of San Francisco, an Army base here. He spoke after touring the Presidio stockade with a Catholic and Protestant clergyman, all members of the San Francisco Interfaith Conference on Religion and Peace. He said that his decision was based on the fact that 27 soldiers at the stockade were charged with mutiny for staging a sit-in protest Oct. 14 and not one chaplain of any faith protested the severity of the charge nor did they protest at any time the conditions the stockade prisoners said led to the demonstration. Rabbi Glaser noted that the Army had spent $80,000 improving conditions at the stockade since the alleged mutiny.

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