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Convention of Reform Rabbis Asks U.S. Aid for Israel; Hits Rumania

June 28, 1954
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Pleas for American support of Israel and condemnation of the mass arrest of Jewish leaders by Rumania were contained in a series of resolutions adopted by the Central Conference of American Rabbis at the conclusion here today of its 65th annual convention.

Rabbi Barnett R. Brickner, of Cleveland, was unanimously elected president of the Conference, which is the organization of about 600 Reform rabbis. Dr. Israel Bettan, Professor of Homelitics at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, was elected vice-president.

The resolution on Israel proposed three steps which the rabbis feel would advance a “just and secure peace between Israel and her neighbors. ” The first was “reconsideration by the State Department of its announced intention of granting arms-aid to Iraq, inasmuch as Arab leaders have unceasingly affirmed their determination to destroy Israel.” Economic aid for the entire Middle East was the next measure suggested, and the third was for the State Department to “use” its good offices with the United Nations to bring the Arab states to a peace conference with Israel.”

The Soviet Government of Rumania is castigated in another resolution “for its ruthless persecution of Jews.” The measure also contains praise for the State Department for its recent “stern rebuke of the Rumanian government” and goes on to call upon the United Nations to “take appropriate action to haul Rumania before the bar of justice so that the Jewish population may be spared further persecution.”

A statement praising the Supreme Court for its recent decision outlawing segregation in the public schools was endorsed by the vast majority of the rabbis, although some from the South abstained from voting. The resolution expressed the hope that segregation would be “harmoniously” accomplished.


In a resolution on anti-Zionist religious schools, the convention deplored the attempted creation of a nation-wide system of so-called “classic Reform” religious schools. The delegates recommended that a special committee of the CCAR be appointed to study this situation. On the question of conversion of non-Jews, the convention adopted a resolution suggesting that the executive board of the CCAR explore the matter further through research and institutes.

In a resolution on Bible distribution, the convention applauded the unanimous decision of the Supreme. Court of the State of New Jersey in prohibiting the distribution of the King James Version of the New Testament in the public schools. The delegates expressed gratification over the appearance of the Synagogue Council of America and the National Community Relations Advisory Council as amici curiae.

In a resolution hitting Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy of Wisconsin and the “hysteria commonly known as McCarthyism,” the rabbis declared that “no free society can long survive if its citizens are encouraged or permitted to inform indiscriminately on one another.

“By creating an atmosphere of suspicion and fear,” the resolution asserted, “such informing inevitably becomes a vestibule to the police state. The repeated use of professional informers, motivated either by personal grudges or psychopathic needs of their own, destroys the morals of government officials and the confidence of the people.”

On Liberal Judaism in Israel, the convention endorsed the hope that an indigenous liberal Jewish movement will be established in Israel.

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