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Rabbi Urges Reexamination of U.S. Policy of Detente with the USSR

Americans must reexamine the moral implications of our policy of detente with the Soviet Union, if that policy inevitably leads to greater internal repression, Rabbi Irwin M. Blank, newly elected president of the Synagogue Council of America warned in remarks following his installation as the new president of the Council, the umbrella organization for the national rabbinical and synagogal agencies of Conservative, Orthodox and Reform Judaism in the United States.

We have welcomed and encouraged steps leading to political detente and the lessening of tensions between the West and the Soviet Union,” Rabbi Blank said. Recent developments in the Soviet Union, including the intensified attacks on academician Andrei Sakharov were cited by Rabbi Blank as evidence that the enlargement of trade with the Soviet Union has resulted in an intensification of repression within Soviet society.

The new Council president also discussed in his installation address relations between the State of Israel and American Jewry. “The diaspora affirms its existence and its hopes for its future. It does not hear a clear echo from Israel.” Rabbi Blank asserted. He called for a “frank and free dialogue” between Israel and the diaspora. “Synagogue leadership has much to contribute to this dialogue out of its great love for Israel and out of its great concern for the spiritual commitment and vitality of Jews wherever they may be.”

The Israel Consulate General’s office in Houston reported that a non-Jewish local couple called the office to express sympathy on the anniversary of the murder of 11 Israeli Olympians in Munich. Mr. and Mrs. Frank Linisconde also sent flowers to the office.

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