Jewish Protestors at Rally Urge an End to Nuclear Testing

A group of about 20 Jews sought to provide a specific Jewish presence in the demonstration at the United States Department of Energy Monday urging an end to nuclear testing.

David Shneyer, of the Fabrangen Fiddlers, a local Jewish band, sounded shofar as a signal for some of the demonstrators to block the doors of the government building. Arthur Waskow, of the Shalom Center, a Jewish peace group founded three years ago, was one of 137 demonstrators arrested in the peaceful protest. All charges were later dropped.

The U.S. government’s rejection of the Soviet Union’s offer of a stop to nuclear testing was called by Waskow “a perverse rejection of all that the Jewish people and all peoples have come to value, the values of freedom as well as life. If our government were in fact pursuing the values of peace and life, we would already have agreed to end all nuclear testing.”

Several rabbis were among clergymen of other faiths who participated. There were other Jews among the demonstrators.

The demonstration at the Energy Department came the day after the end of the Great Peace March. It has been estimated that up to 20 percent of those who walked from California to Washington to urge nuclear disarmament were Jews.

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