NEW YORK (Oct. 21)
The United Synagogue of America has called on the 850 Conservative congregations in the U.S. and Canada to observe Saturday, October 25, as a “Sabbath of Awareness” of the danger of nuclear holocaust and day of the Succot festival and is known on the Hebrew calendar as Shemini Atzeret.
“It is the responsibility of every religious community to sensitize its congregants to the awesome threat of nuclear destruction,” Franklin Kreutzer, international president of the USA, said in issuing the call.
“Religion, and particularly Conservative Judaism, is essentially a celebration of life and this Atzeret Le’chayyim (Gathering of Life) is part of our Conservative religious imperative, a means of protesting the disregard of human life and worth,” Kreutzer said.
He noted that the Conservative Jewish religious community, which numbers about two million, has been concerned with the growing danger of universal nuclear holocaust and, in view of the recent summit meeting in Iceland, is stressing the need to examine alternatives to a nuclear arms race.
Kreutzer said he recognized “the deep split in the world-wide community on the political overtones of this issue.” Nevertheless, he said, “The religious community must come forward and take a stand in favor of life and its preservation from potentially total destruction by nuclear holocaust, whether by accident or design.”
The “Sabbath of Awareness” will be observed as a day of synagogue attendance and prayer devoted to preserving life and reaffirming the dignity of every individual human being, Kreutzer said.