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Rabbis Urge ‘more Durable’ General Jewish Council

June 30, 1941
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The Central Conference of American Rabbis was today on record with a resolution urging a meeting to plan “a more comprehensive, responsive and durable” General Jewish Council and expressing satisfaction that the Council had given adequate recognition to organized religious forces as represented by the Synagogue Council of America.

The resolution said: “In view of the difficulties which developed within the General Jewish Council, causing one of the major bodies to withdraw, and in view of other criticisms which have been directed at the form or organization and program of activities of the Council, we regard it as of primary importance to convene at the earliest time a meeting of all interested bodies to discuss these matters, looking toward a more comprehensive, responsive and durable form of organization…We instruct our delegates on the Synagogue Council to urge that body to tender its best offices to that end. It is with this understanding only that we instruct our delegates on the Synagogue Council to accept membership offered in the General Jewish Council.”

The meeting approved the reports of its commissions on Social Justice and International Peace, which urged establishment of a federal union of states as a basis for post-war peace.

A shortage of chaplains for the army was reported by Rabbi Aryeh Lev, assistant to the Army Chief of Chaplains, who declared there was room for 40 more. He said most of those applying were not suitable material. He said more than half of the present Jewish chaplains were orthodox and asserted this did not make for the utmost smoothness. He pointed out many orthodox chaplains found it difficult to hold more than one service on Friday evenings as cantonments cover 25 miles and the orthodox rabbis would not travel on the Sabbath.

Some cannot understand that the Government cannot meet dietary and Sabbath laws in the army, Rabbi Lev said. In many camps thousands of Jewish soldiers were without chaplains, he pointed out, urging that better men of the rabbinate who could obtain leave from their congregations enter the army.

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