NEW YORK (Jun. 6)
Millions of American Jews reacted with profound grief and shock today over the death of Senator Robert F. Kennedy who was struck down by an assassin’s bullet in Los Angeles early yesterday morning. They joined with all other Americans and with countless millions of people abroad in mourning the young New York Senator who was in the vanguard of efforts to better the lives of deprived and underprivileged people and nations everywhere.
The sentiments of American Jewry were expressed today in scores of messages of condolence sent to the Kennedy family by the leaders of Jewish civic, religious, philanthropic and service organizations. The burden of sorrow was also shared by the people of Israel whose Prime Minister, Levi Eshkol, and Ambassador to the United States, Maj. Gen. Yitzhak Rabin, added their messages to the Senator’s widow this afternoon.
Typical of the expressions of grief and prayer was a statement issued today by Rabbi Jacob P. Rudin, president of the Synagogue Council of America, central coordinating agency for the congregational bodies of Conservative, Reform and Orthodox Jewry whose combined membership includes four and a half million synagogue-affiliated Jews in America.
The Council’s statement said: “We express our profound sympathies to Mrs. Robert Kennedy and to the family of Sen. Robert Kennedy. The nation has lost a man who was admired as a great American, a genuine friend of the Jewish people and of the State of Israel and a standard-bearer of a vision for a better tomorrow. The graves of the Kennedy brothers, lying side by side in the national cemetery, will be an everlasting memorial to a nation’s grief. Today, the flame that burns in Arlington symbolizes a scar on the soul and conscience of a society so wracked by division and violence that its bravest and most promising sons are struck down. We pray that this flame, and the two tragic graves over which it will keep its vigil, will come to symbolize healing and conciliation, an end to violence, and a new dedication to the vision of America that was the dream of Robert Kennedy.”
Jordan C. Band, of Cleveland, chairman of the National Community Relations Advisory Council, commented: “The shock and horror that the assassination of Sen. Kennedy evoked in all of us is paralleled by the sympathy we have for his widow and children. We share their bereavement, for this wanton murder has deprived the nation and the world of a courageous, compassionate and imaginative man to whom many looked with hope and trust.”