Several Thousand Jewish Youths and Elders Participate in Anti-war Rally

Several thousand Jewish students and many of their elders took part yesterday in a massive non-violent anti-war demonstration near the White House which observers said drew some 100,000 participants in a peaceful protest. A coordinating council made up of the Jewish Community Council, the religious action center of the (Reform) Union of American Hebrew Congregations, the local chapters of the American Jewish Committee and the American Jewish Congress and Sim Shalom, an ad hoc Jewish peace group provided a variety of forms of help to the Jewish youngsters. The UHF action center and the B’nai B’rith building provided overnight housing and food service Friday night for some 1,800 demonstrators. About 100 demonstrators slept in the Hillel Foundation buildings at George Washington and the American Universities. The B’nai B’rith building, which was near the protest site, making for easy access on foot, was chosen by observant Jewish protesters. Contingents were present from Yeshiva University and Stern College for Women in New York and from the Jewish Theological Seminary, as well as from scores of colleges as far out as the Midwest. A Sabbath service was held Friday night and Saturday morning inside the B’nai B’rith building for observant Jewish students, who arranged to have the traditional mestiza, or separation device, for the services. Outside in front of the building a liberal service was led for about 150 youthful worshippers. Emergency medical arrangements were set up in the religious action center and the B’nai B’rith building.

The Jewish Community Council of Greater Washington joined with the Council of Churches in a letter to President Dixon asking him to welcome the anti-war demonstrators and to listen to their protests. The signers called “upon you, Mr. President, to listen and to declare yourself, that you are listening with understanding.” Rabbi Irving Greenberg, associate professor of history at Yeshiva University, joined with a Protestant and Catholic church leader in an appearance Thursday before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Their statement that the Vietnam war was a “moral disaster” was lauded by Sen. JAW Fulbright, the Arkansas Democrat who is chairman of the committee. He said he had never before heard “statements of such depth and perception” as that of the three religious leaders and indicated he might call on them again during committee hearings on the war’s moral impact. Rabbi Elias Charry, president of the Board of Rabbis of Greater Philadelphia, reported that many member rabbis had provided forums Friday during and after services at which members of the Philadelphia Union of Jewish Students discussed the escalation of the war in Vietnam. The board asked 50 member rabbis attending the organization’s 11th annual convocation to provide such forums after the unexpected appearance at the convocation of Arnold Rachis, a representative of the student group. The youth described the sense of horror of students over the war escalation and asked the rabbis to allow student representatives to speak at services. Most of the rabbis approved the request. Rabbi Charry, who was installed for a second term, said in a statement that the Jewish community, like other communities, was divided on the Indochina war, the escalation into Cambodia and the resumption of bombing of North Vietnam. He declared that many rabbis, including himself, were “horrified” by the development which he felt, despite administration claims, would expand the war, rather than bring peace.

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