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Orthodox Leader Urges Nuclear Freeze

The newly elected president of the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA) last night became one of the first Orthodox leaders to call for a nuclear freeze “under guaranteed protection for our country’s potential to maintain our effective deterrent posture.”

Rabbi Gilbert Klaperman, a Special Professor of law at Hofstra University, and spiritual leader of Congregation Beth Shalom in Lawrence, Long Island, also said that he doubted that the United. States “can negotiate with the Russians to achieve total nuclear disarmament with foolproof safeguards and controls. The USSR is too devious and untrustworthy to be entrusted with the security of our country. But if we cannot reach nuclear disarmament we must seek a nuclear freeze under guaranteed protections for our country’s potential to maintain our effective deterrent posture.”

Kloperman did not attend the 46th national convention at the Homowack Hotel because of the death last Friday of his wife Mrs. Libby Klaperman. His comments were read at the convention in a message he had prepared before the gathering which ends tomorrow.

Klaperman said in his message to the convention that “it is vital that we pronounce our abhorrence of nuclear proliferation and our unmitigated fear of the threat of nuclear war. How can we permit ourselves to allow the world to be hurled towards destruction and obliteration?”

He pointed out “that the Jewish community by and” large,” and the Orthodox community especially, has been unbelievably silent about this ‘democletive’ sword which hangs suspended over the world. We may have been relying too much on the promise. that God made after the flood not to destroy the world again. But then the promise was that he would not bring another flood upon the world to destroy it. The frightening potential for nuclear destruction, however, is too real to be ignored.”

Klaperman stressed that the “nuclear race is a race toward extinction. Jewish tradition urges our rejection of any system dedicated to human extinction and enjoins our respect and affirmative responsibility for the preservation of precious human life.”

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