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American Rabbis Call for National Support for the Jackson Vanik Bill

Protest over the treatment of Soviet Jewry dominated the opening ceremonies of the Central Conference of American Rabbis’ (CCAR) 84th annual convention here at the Sheraton-Biltmore Hotel.

Rabbi David Polish of Evanston, Illinois, president of the association of Reform rabbis, asked that people everywhere support the Jackson/Vanik Bills “as the most effective means of assuring Soviet leaders of this nation’s determination to stand by Soviet Jewry in its struggle.”

Rabbi George B. Lieberman of Rockville Center, N.Y. said the Russians “are depending on us to grow weary of the problem,” and called upon Jews and others to keep pressing for the freedom of Soviet Jews.

A letter sent by Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter to General Secretary of the Communist Party Leonid I. Brezhnev, who is presently visiting this country for the first time, was read at the conference.

Gov, Carter, in his letter, welcomed the Soviet leader to the U.S. and advised him that, “The Georgia General Assembly has adopted a resolution indicating its concern over the Soviet Union’s refusal to honor the basic right of all people to leave their country. It is my opinion that if your government could be persuaded to honor this basic right, this would be a contribution to human rights and would go far in strengthening the economic, cultural and political relations between our two countries.” Gov. Carter also sent a copy of his letter to President Nixon.

REFORM RABBIS ASKED TO JOIN IN

The keynote speakers at the CCAR convention were president Polish and vice-president Robert I. Kahn of Houston, both of whom criticized the Nixon Administration for “dismantling the tools of social peace.” The Reform rabbis were asked to join with like-minded religious and civil groups to mount adequate public opinion supporting government programs and legislation for education, health, urban renewal, poverty projects, low and moderate-income housing and environmental protection.

Resolutions being placed before the CCAR convention by the justice and peace committee support the call for action by Rabbis Polish and Kahn. The rabbis will be debating and voting on the resolutions during the next few days.

The problem of mixed marriages, especially whether Reform rabbis should perform such ceremonies, will be a major topic of debate.

Jewish organizations in Mexico took extraordinary security precautions this week after two Jordanians were arrested. The two were carrying forged passports.

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