Rabbinical Group Charges City Polarizing Black, Jewish Communities on Queens Housing Project
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Rabbinical Group Charges City Polarizing Black, Jewish Communities on Queens Housing Project

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The Rabbinical Council of America accused the New York City administration today of deliberately polarizing the Black and Jewish communities with respect to the controversial low income housing project in Forest Hills and called on the leaders of both communities “to short circuit City Hall and establish their own dialogue.”

But Rabbi Israel Klaven, executive vice-president of the Orthodox rabbinical group denied that it was in conflict with the position adopted by the Synagogue Council of America which had gone on record in favor of the principle of scatter-site housing to remove the poor from inner city ghettos but wants the Forest Hills project scaled down in size.

The Synagogue Council, a coordinating agency for the rabbinical and congregational branches of Reform, Conservative and Orthodox Judaism adopted a resolution last week urging the City to call a moratorium on construction of the project while an independent group of experts “seek to determine” its “economic and social feasibility.”

According to Rabbi Klaven, the Rabbinical Council, one of the six constituent organizations of the Synagogue Council, has gone “a step beyond” the latter in calling for a meaningful dialogue among the groups directly affected by the Forest Hills project. He told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency today that by denying the groups an opportunity to discuss the project among themselves, the City was threatening a confrontation between the Jewish and Black communities. He said that groups and individuals, whom he refused to identify, have already had conversations and that plans were being made to approach the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People for a dialogue.

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