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Rabbi Lelyveld Has ‘only Pity’ for Segregationists Who Beat Him

July 13, 1964
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Rabbi Arthur J. Lelyveld, spiritual leader of Fairmont Temple, Cleveland, who was badly beaten by segregationists in Mississippi this weekend, declared here today that he has “only pity” for the men who attacked him, and “only a deep sorrow for the State of Mississippi.”

Resting here under a doctor’s care at the home of a relative, after having been released from a hospital at Hattiesburg, Miss., the rabbi declared: “It is pitiful that the leaders of the State of Mississippi fail to realize that they are shaping their own doom along with that of the closed society they have created.”

Rabbi Lelyveld, who is 51 and former national director of the B’nai B’rith Hillel Foundation, was attacked in Hattiesburg as he and two other white civil rights workers, accompanied by two local Negro girls, were walking near railroad tracks in an uninhabited section of Hattiesburg. The rabbi suffered a deep gash over his right eye, contusions in the chest and abdomen, and a cut over the left eye. He had come to Hattiesburg early last week to work with the National Council of Churches as a counselor to young civil rights workers and as an aide in the drive in Mississippi to help Negroes register for voting.

Reports reaching here from Hattiesburg today stated that local police authorities were still searching for the men who attacked the rabbi and the two other civil rights workers. Thus far, no arrests have been made.

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