Boston, N.Y. Rabbis Score Escalation of War and Harassment of Political Dissidents

The Massachusetts Board of Rabbis deplored “the growing divisiveness in our country,” which has been “cruelly exacerbated by the war in Vietnam and its further extension into Cambodia.” The board called for “an end to the harassment of political dissidents” and “the brutal treatment of suspects.” It endorsed Senate proposals for immediate United States withdrawal from Southeast Asia and Richard Cardinal Cushing’s call for amnesty for draft evaders. The board issued its statement “in consonance with the Jewish ethical imperative which calls upon us to choose life and seek justice, love and peace.” The declaration was signed by board president Rabbi Ephraim Bennett, of Temple Beth El in Swampscott, and social action chairman Rabbi Judea B. Miller, of Temple Tifereth Israel in Malden. (In New York, Rabbi Harold I. Saperstein, president of the New York Board of Rabbis, called on Washington to “reverse the process of military escalation which devours our youth, torments our conscience and divides our nation.” He said the Board of Rabbis “shares the sorrow of young and old of all faiths throughout the nation” at the tragic death of the four students at Kent State University who were killed on May 4 by Ohio National Guardsmen. Rabbi Saperstein added, “We deplore the climate of violence and repression which has pervaded our country and wrought this painful harvest.”)

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