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Strong Jewish Participation Noted in Fight for Selma Negroes

March 16, 1965
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Jewish participation has been evident both in Selma, Ala., and on the Washington scene in developments ensuing from the crisis generated by the Negro voting registration issue.

The Synagogue Council of America, representing rabbinical and lay Jewish organizations of the Orthodox, Conservative and Reform persuasions, petitioned President Johnson and Attorney General Katzenbach today “to use the full authority of our Federal Government to safeguard the rights and freedom of our fellow citizens in the State of Alabama.”

The Council’s entry into the civil rights fight, which has centered mainly on Selma, in the last 10 days, was only one of many expressions of concern by national and local Jewish organizations around the country. A telegram to the President and Mr. Katzenbach, likewise requesting federal intervention, was sent by Dore Schary, national president of the B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation League.

Dr. Joachim Prinz, president of the American Jewish Congress, sent a wire to the President, lauding him for emphasizing that the “real issue in Selma is not the demonstrations but rather their underlying cause–the systematic denial to Negro citizens of the most basic democratic right of all, the right to participate in the processes of Government.”

Emphasizing the American Jewish Committee’s stand on the issue, the AJC today made public the fact that its director of interreligious affairs, Rabbi Marc H. Tannenbaum, was one of the participants in a mass demonstration by clergymen of all faiths in front of the White House, last weekend, praying for the grant of equal rights to Negroes in Selma and to all citizens in the U. S. A.

Today, Rabbi Eugene Lipman, of Temple Sinai, Washington, flew to Selma as a designate of the Commission on Social Action of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations. He went to participate in the memorial services organized there by the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., for the Rev. James Reeb, white Protestant minister murdered by Alabama bigots.

Last weekend, Jewish leaders took part in the meeting of national religious leaders with President Johnson. Included were Rabbi Richard Hirsch, director of the UAHC religious action center; Rabbi Uri Miller, president of the Synagogue Council of America, and Aaron Goldman, chairman of the National Community Relations Advisory Council.

From Detroit came word today that Jewish leaders were among 10,000 persons in that city who demonstrated against the brutalities in Alabama and for the right of Negroes to march and protest against denial of voting rights. Among those participating was Sidney Smith, president of the Jewish Community Council of Detroit. Two Jewish leaders from Detroit Joined other Americans at a meeting on the issue with Vice-President Hubert H. Humphrey in Washington. They were Walter Klein, executive director of the Detroit Jewish Community Council and Joseph Ross.

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