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N.Y. Board of Rabbis Lauded by Rockefeller for Decades of Service to Community

The New York Board of Rabbis’ nine decades of service to the Jewish community was praised last night by Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller. He lauded their example of “unity within diversity,” and observed “there is a lesson in this for the whole nation.” Addressing the 90th anniversary convocation of the Board, the Governor declared, “The sense of common destiny you have preserved amidst the diversity of Orthodox. Conservative and Reform Judaism teaches us we have to be a nation, not only tolerant of diversity, but enriched by our diversity. This is our special strength.” Also addressing the audience was Mayor John V. Lindsay, who proclaimed yesterday to be “New York Board of Rabbis Day” in New York City. Avraham Harmon, president of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and former Ambassador to the U.S. cited the invaluable work the Board has contributed to the New York Jewish community. Referring to the Israeli-Arab conflict, Mr. Harmon said: “The Jews of Israel want to live in peace with the Arabs, but, in the last analysis, they want to live.” The Hebrew University president also touched briefly on the plight of Soviet Jewry and noted that “No longer are the Russian Jews the ‘Jews of Silence’.”

In his speech, Governor Rockefeller noted that he had been working closely with the Board for almost a quarter of a century in “ensuring the survival of the State of Israel” and in “strengthening cultural diversity in the U.S.” The Governor also pointed out that it had been on the recommendations of the Board that he had approved the Sabbath and Holy Day Laws–the laws that forbade discrimination against Jewish employees and Jewish students celebrating Jewish holidays. In a brief filmed excerpt from a one-hour program to be shown in full over the CBS-TV on Sunday morning, Israel’s Foreign Minister Abba Eban declared, “Israel is the result of Jewish unity, not the cause of Jewish unity.” He described Israel as “the unifying meeting place of all currents in Jewish history,” and noted too that “Just as Israel is the result of Jewish unity, Israel is now the cause of Jewish unity.” Honored by the Board for their services “to America and world Jewry.” were Rabbi Harold H. Gordon, executive vice-president of the Board; Max Stern, vice-chairman of the Advisory Council of the Board; Charles H. Silver, president of the International Synagogue at JFK Airport; William Kaufman, first president of the Advisory Council and Jack D. Weiler, present chairman of the Council. Rabbi Gordon was particularly honored for his quarter-century service to the Board and was presented with a citation by Mayor Lindsay. Greetings were received from President Richard M. Nixon and Israeli President Zalman Shazar.

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