Jews Can Be Conscientious Objectors, Selective Service System Told

The Synagogue Council of America has protested to the Selective Service System against the denial of conscientious objector’s status to some Jewish draftees “on the false ground that Judaism cannot embrace conscientious objection.” In a letter to Dr. Curtis W. Tarr, director of Selective Service made public today, Council president Rabbi Solomon J. Scharfman explained that while Judaism is not a pacifist faith in the sense that this term is generally used, there is nothing in Judaism that precludes “the possibility of individuals developing conscientious objection to war based on their understanding of the moral imperatives of Jewish tradition.” The Synagogue Council is an umbrella organization embracing the lay and rabbinic wings of Reform, Conservative and Orthodox Judaism in America. Rabbi Scharfman asserted in his letter that “Jewish faith can indeed embrace conscientious objection, and Jewish religious law makes specific provisions for the exemption of such moral objector.”

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