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Leader of Temple Sisterhoods Urges Intensified Efforts on Domestic and International Issues

December 7, 1981
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The leader of the National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods (NFTS) urged the 1,000 delegates attending the organization’s 33rd biennial convention to intensify their efforts on behalf of Israel’s security, Soviet Jewry rights for women, church-state separation and freedom of choice in abortion.

Lillian Maltzer of Detroit described a meeting two weeks ago with President Reagan and his advisors in the White House, where she was a member of a delegation of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations: "We raised with the President our strong misgivings about public acts and statements of anti-Semitism" that emerged during the debate in Congress on the sale of AWACS planes and other sophisticated weaponry to Saudi Arabia, "the appearance of United States abandonment of the Camp David peace process and acceptance of the Fahd ‘peace plan,’ and our fears that reliance on Saudi Arabia as a peace-maker in the Middle East was a fragile reed on which to build a secure peace." Mrs. Maltzer said the delegation was reassured by Reagan that he was committed to the Camp David accords, that he abhored anti-Semitism, and that his Administration did not accept the proposals formulated by Crown Prince Fahd of Saudi Arabia.


"The lesson from this should give us the incentive to speak up forthrightly on issues which affect us, even though we may not always win the day," she said. "We could not prevent the AWACS sale, but we left a strong enough impression to create in the Administration the uneasy feeling that it had lost ground politically and that assurances were in order." Mrs. Maltzer emphasized that "Our silence would have been interpreted as acquiescence. Our protests were correctly heard."

She also urged the delegates attending the five-day convention of the sisterhoods of Reform synagogues in the United States and 15 foreign countries, which is being held here in conjunction with the 56th biennial assembly of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, to intensify their activities on behalf of domestic concerns, including seeking the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment and opposing "the proposed Constitutional amendment that would give each state the right to determine whether or not to allow freedom of choice in abortion."

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