Orthodox Rabbi Urges Carter to Declare a Total Amnesty
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Orthodox Rabbi Urges Carter to Declare a Total Amnesty

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The head of a major Orthodox rabbinical organization yesterday urged President Carter to grant “a total amnesty for all who are in any way under a cloud as a result of the Vietnam War.”

Rabbi Walter S. Wurzburger, president of the 1,000-member Rabbinical Council of America, said that Carter who declared a pardon for those who fled from the draft should “go all the way and declare a total amnesty.” His remarks were made in an ad- dress to the 500 delegates from the United States and Canada attending the organization’s special Torah convocation here.

While noting that many families who lost loved ones in the war oppose amnesty, Wurzburger declared that “we now have to put the Vietnam war behind us.” He said the war was “a divisive force in our country and pitted brother against brother as well as citizen against citizen.” He said that unless full amnesty is declared “this problem will continue to plague us and prevent full reunification of our country” which the new President is seeking.


In another section of his address, Wurzburger called for a “reassessment and reevaluation of the Jewish religious educational structure in America.” He expressed shock at “the enormous waste and duplication which afflict the Jewish educational scene and which drains its limited resources. While the enrollment in the Jewish day schools and yeshivot have not markedly increased in recent years there has been a proliferation of such institutions in specific areas with various schools vying for the limited number of potential students.”

Wurzburger said the problem is that there are many large Jewish communities which have no proper religious educational institutions. “Committee Jews are fragmenting their resources while large masses of uncommitted children are left by the wayside,” he said.

He declared that “we cannot afford the luxury of simply catering to the needs of small groups and overlooking the requirements of the total community.” He called upon the Jewish community to mobilize “all our resources to double the enrollment of Jewish children within our schools and to improve the quality of Torah education.”

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