NEW YORK (Jul. 17)
The Synagogue Council of America denounced today “calls to violence and vigilantism emanating from various quarters, including a small unpresentative segment of the Jewish community.” The SCA is the coordinating agency for Reform, Conservative and Orthodox rabbinical and congregational organizations.
The statement by Rabbi Solomon J. Sharfman, SCA president, did not name any vigilante groups but it apparently was aimed at the Jewish Defense League, a militant group headed by a Brooklyn Orthodox rabbi. Rabbi Sharfman said that “the lawlessness of vigilantes no more makes for a defense of Jewish or other interests than the riot makes for the rectification of social injustices.” The statement recalled that the SCA recently rejected demands of the Black Economic Development Conference for a half billion dollars from churches and synagogues as “reparation” for suffering of the Negroes.
Rabbi Sharfman said the antidote to vigilantism and violence was “a re-ordering of priorities and reconstruction of our society” and added that the SCA urged all Americans “whatever their race or faith, not to permit an irresponsible few to divert” them from “the real challenge” of ending poverty, degradation and hopelessness “suffered by so many of our fellow citizens.”