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Orthodox Rabbis Plan to Waive Exemption from Military Service

September 11, 1940
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A resolution pledging support for the United States defense program was drafted today at the opening session of the two-day convention of the Assembly of Hebrew Orthodox Rabbis of America. The resolution is expected to be passed at tomorrow’s session of the convention, which is being held at the Hotel Sharon.

The resolution, as approved by the resolutions committee, warns of the dangers facing democracy as a result of war and the spread of totalitarianism. It also embodies a promise by the rabbis not to seek deferment or exemption from military service for themselves or rabbinical students.

The convention, the organizations first since 1935, was called by the executive board to discuss important issues affecting Jewish life in present troubled world conditions.

The meeting was opened by Rabbi Menashe Margolis of Brooklyn, with the prayer Ovinu Malkaynu (Our Father, Our King). He was joined in the prayer by the approximate 65 rabbis present. Memorial prayers were read for the late members of the Assembly, who included Rabbi Chaim Ozer Grodziensky, Chief Rabbi of Poland, and Rabbi Velvele Margolis, dean of orthodox American Jews.

“It is our earnest wish that rabbis throughout America offer up prayers for peace and that Great Britain be victorious in its valiant struggle against the brutal dark forces of Nazi tyranny,” Rabbi Margolis said.

Rabbi Jacob Mendelson, of Newark, made an urgent appeal to all Jewish communities in America to provide for homeless refugees. Other rabbis addressing the convention urged increased Jewish education. Rabbi Baruch Trainin, Brooklyn, is Chairman of the presidium.

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