$100,000 Grant to Synagogue Council Program on Jewish-black Relations

The Ford Foundation has granted nearly $100,000 to a project sponsored by the Synagogue Council of America to ease tension and conflict between blacks and Jews in urban areas, it was announced today by Rabbi Solomon J. Scharfman, president of the Synagogue Council. Rabbi Sharfman said the project was started in 1969 during the New York City teachers’ strike which aggravated racial and religious tensions. “What the Synagogue Council’s program seeks to do is to encourage the formation of coalitions of religious and lay leaders, blacks and Jews, around common problems of a fundamental nature, such as housing, crime, narcotics and education,” Rabbi Scharfman said. Rabbi Henry Siegman, the Council’s executive vice president, said the Ford grant will enable it, among other things, to designate a number of “urban interns” from among the three major rabbinic seminaries in New York to bring together religious and lay leadership around specific problems in various neighborhoods around the city. Rabbi Scharfman said the Synagogue Council is seeking to reverse the disintegration of Jewish communities in the inner city and recognizes that “their continued existence as decent places in which to live and grow is linked to the fate of their neighboring communities, be they black, Puerto Rican or whatever, in which all too often conditions prevail which dehumanize their residents.”

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