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Reform Judaism Parley Urges Backing of Medical Care for the Aged

May 28, 1962
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Synagogues and churches were urged here today to speak out on the problems of medical care for the aged, as well as to develop programs to enable elderly persons to become an integral part of synagogue and community life.

The proposals were made at a session on “Judaism, the Synagogue and the Aging,” during the three-day convocation of the board of trustees of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, the synagogue body of American Reform Judaism, held at the House of Living Judaism. The principal speakers were former Judge Emil N. Baar, chairman of the UAHC board; and Garson Meyer, president of the National Council of the Aging.

Deploring the fact that medical care for the aged has been “reduced to a propaganda war,” Judge Baar asserted: “Partisan politics are not the concern of the church and synagogue, but the effort to safeguard the dignity of human beings, and to meet the critical needs of older people who are most vulnerable to suffering, is a struggle about which religion dare not remain a silent and bemused spectator.”

Mr. Meyer, noting that the mere setting up of homes for the aged is not enough at this time, declared new programs for the aged must be developed, asserting: “The synagogue is the right place to encourage programs for our senior citizens, since it is not a new agency that has to be accepted in their minds. Most of these people have been members of the congregation for years, and readily accept its facilities, rabbis and leadership.”


At a dinner meeting tonight, conducted by the Combined Campaign for American Reform Judaism, Rabbi Maurice N. Eisendrath, president of the UAHC, pleaded for liberalization of the American immigration laws. Pointing to the situation concerning the admission of refugees from Communist China, and to the fact that China’s entire immigration quota now limits Chinese immigrants to only 104 a year, he charged:

“Our immigration laws are based on racism and discrimination.” He called upon the United States to “recapture the concern for moral and human values” by reverting, in its immigration policy, to “the warm heart, the humanitarian spirit and the spiritual courage which made America the repository of mankind’s dream.”

At the dinner, the Combined Campaign for American Reform Judaism, with a goal of $4,122,769 for the UAHC and Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, the first annual American Judaism Award was presented to Congressman Abraham J. Multer, of Brooklyn. He was cited for “notable contributions to the advancement of the Jewish religious faith.” Serving his eighth consecutive term in the House of Representatives, Congressman Multer is a member of the UAHC’s board of trustees, and a member of the board of Temple Beth Emeth, Brooklyn.

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