Synagogue Council Says Call for Silent Prayer on Yom Kippur is Not Call for Public Rallies

The Synagogue Council of America, the coordinating agency of the Reform, Orthodox and Conservative branches of American Jewry in the United States, issued today a statement to clarify a call it issued last week to synagogues throughout the nation, urging them to gather in front of the synagogue on Yom Kippur, immediately following the Musaf service, as an expression of solidarity with Jews in the Soviet Union. The Council statement today declared:

“This action should not be misconstrued as a call for public rallies, which would be a desecration of the High Holy Day, and entirely out of keeping with the sacredness of Yom Kippur. We urge synagogues to observe this expression of our awareness of the deprivation suffered by Soviet Jews by gathering silently in front of their synagogues, and engaging in silent prayer. Public speeches and any other actions that would constitute a violation of the Holy Day should be scrupulously avoided.” The statement added: “In situations where leaving the synagogue may pose a danger of a violation of the Holy Day, silent prayer should be observed within the synagogue.”

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