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American Reform Jews Asked to Support Oct. 15 Students’ Vietnam Protest

The major institutions of American Reform Judaism have called upon rabbis and Reform’s 700 synagogues to actively support the proposed Oct. 15 college student nationwide Vietnam protest with congregational teach-in, religious services and youth programs.

In a joint statement addressed to the member temples’ rabbis, presidents and social action chairmen, Rabbi Maurice N. Eisendrath, president of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, and Rabbi Roland B. Gittelsohn, president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, said that by supporting the planned student drive, “we will join hands with those young people who refuse to yield to despair and who, equally, refuse to acquiesce in the endless continuation of a war which appalls their conscience.”

Both organizations have repeatedly called for an end to what the statement referred to as the “cruel” Vietnam war. Rabbis Eisendrath and Gittelsohn said, “We have already paid too high a price as a nation for this misconceived policy” and that “an indefinite investment of American lives and resources to preserve a repressive military clique in Saigon is unconscionable.”

In a separate observation, Rabbi Gittelsohn sharply condemned President Richard M. Nixon’s “prejudgment” of the protest action when he announced last week at a press conference that he would not be influenced by any of the expressions and public sentiments of the Oct. 15 protests. Rabbi Gittelsohn said, “The Administration seems determined to repeat the tragedies of the last Administration.”

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