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Eisendrath Tells Reform Conventions Youth Must Share in Decisions Affecting Future

October 27, 1969
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Dr. Maurice N. Eisendrath, president of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, warned today that “our youth will increasingly abandon an ‘Establishment’ religion” unless they are given an opportunity to “share in those decisions that shape their destiny.”

The future of the synagogue, he said, rests upon young Jews who today condemn the “hypocritical hiatus between pretensions and practice, precept and example.”

Addressing 3,000 guests and delegates to both the 50th general assembly of the UAHC. the central congregational body of Reform Judaism in the U.S. and Canada, and the 27th biennial assembly of the National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods, the rabbi called for inclusion of youth in the national regional and local governing bodies of Reform Judaism.

Chiding those who are critical of youth’s rejection of the “Establishment,” Rabbi Eisendrath asked if parents are “really, truly, genuinely concerned with fealty to folk and faith” of their children. He recommended that they listen to youth “instead of the voice of expediency and caution which too frequently prompts our every thought and action.”

Rabbi Eisendrath, in a stinging denunciation of the Vietnam war, accused the Nixon Administration of “sleight of hand tactics and called the military regime of South Vietnam tyrannical.” He asked that the convention demand in a resolution an immediate standstill — cease-fire in Vietnam. He said Mr. Nixon seeks to “placate public opinion and cool dissent” by withdrawing troops “in agonizingly small installments.”

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