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Reform Congregations in N.y.c. Hold Nuclear Disarmament Confab

April 29, 1982
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The first Jewish religious conference in the city on nuclear disarmament and “the threat of nuclear war” was attended by some 600 people. It was sponsored by 10 Reform Jewish congregations of New York.

Rabbi Balfour Brickner, senior rabbi of the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue, where the conference was held last Sunday, declared that the participation of the 10 Reform congregations in the meeting “clearly demonstrates that organized religious Jewry cannot and will not remain silent in the shadow of the nuclear menace.”

Brickner, who played a leading role in convening the conference, added that “this historic religious gathering reflects the anger and fear of the people of New York as they see our so-called national leaders rearming us to Armageddon.”


Rabbi Leonard Beerman, spiritual leader of the Leo Baeck Temple of Los Angeles, who was the keynote speaker, said that the Jewish people “out of its own historic experience knows that the unthinkable can happen. The destruction of European Jewry by the Nazis provides a model for destroying the human race. That is why we Jews have a unique duty to wam that this planet can be transformed into a crematorium and why we must be among those engaged in the quest for peace.”

Beerman stressed that “the greatest Jewish problem in the world today, and the greatest moral, religious, ethical, theological, political and economic problem is the threat of nuclear war.”

Judith Hertz, a Central Synagogue lay leader and a board member of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations and the National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods, told a workship dealing with “Organizing the Jewish Community” that “if we don’t achieve a commitment for a nuclear freeze, all our other achievements, goals, purposes and projects for sustaining life will be for naught. Everything that we are working for will be for naught.”

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