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Stand of Reform Congregations on Vietnam Denounced in Senate

May 27, 1966
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Sen. Thomas J. Dodd, a member of the Senate Subcommittee on Internal Security, in a Senate speech denounced appeals for Vietnamese peace by the Union of American Hebrew Congregation a as reflective of a “vociferous minority” and allegedly not representative of Jewish opinion in the United States.

The Connecticut Democrat cited a featured article by Albert Vorspan in “American Judaism,” the UAHC official organ, that said “Jews are traditionally fighters for peace” and that “Vietnam is not comparable to Munich and Hitler.” Sen. Dodd deplored the position of Reform Judaism, as voiced by Mr. Vorspan, and said such thinking “has since been criticized by many Jewish leaders who are interested in making it clear that this statement does not represent their view.”

For what he saw as a more typical and “perceptive” Jewish view of Vietnam, Sen. Dodd referred to an article in the “Jewish Veteran” by JWV national executive director Monroe R. Sheinberg. Mr. Sheinberg, speaking for the JWV, attacked the Vorpan position and justified the “morality of our current commitment” in Vietnam. The Senator introduced into the Senate speech the entire text of the JWV pro-war stand. Sen. Dodd alleged that the bulk of religious sentiment — Jewish as well as Catholic and Protestant — endorsed the war.

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