PORT JERVIS, N.Y (Jun. 25)
Affluent, liberal, upper middle-class American Jews were urged today to respond more sympathetically to the needs of both black Americans and lower middle-class ethnic whites who are only “one rung of the ladder” above the blacks. The appeal was voiced by Irving Levine, director of urban planning for the American Jewish Committee, at the annual convention of the Federation of Reconstructionist Congregations and Fellowships here.
He suggested that Jewish groups initiate city planning proposals, support creative programs for police-community relations and police professionalization, advocate increased tax deductions for lower middle class families with children, and universal higher education.
“We must join forces so that the economic pie available will become larger and thus avoid black-Jewish confrontations,” he said. “We must prove as a lie the charge that the small Jewish businessman in the ghetto is an aggressor…He is also the victim of a restrictive social and economic system. On the other hand, we must develop such standards as will deny honor and status to any Jew who profits from bigotry and exploitation.”
College students participating in the gathering called on the Reconstructionist Movement to reassess traditional Jewish teachings on sex so that they could offer a guide to Jewish youth on questions of personal morality. One student claimed that traditional Jewish law was “repressive and frequently irrelevant” and said “young people can take no guidance from it in its present form.”