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News Brief

December 28, 1971
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The resolution adopted by the Synagogue Council was described by its president, Rabbi Irving Lehrman of Miami, Fla., as representative of a “united position” achieved by national religious organizations which had “differed sharply in their attitude towards the Forest Hills project.” The resolution affirmed “support for scatter-site low-income housing in all parts of the city and country.”

But it charged that existing citizens’ advisory committees set up in connection with the project “have been neither fully representative nor effectively consulted by City housing authorities.” The resolution called on the City administration “to consult all parties involved–residents of housing projects, synagogues, churches, civic and fraternal organizations, civil rights and civil liberties organizations, local elected officials” on all housing projects.

“With regard to Forest Hills, we call on the City administration to appoint an independent group of experts to seek to determine the economic and social feasibility of the present project in Forest Hills, and to explore possible alternatives to its present size and scope, and that pending such a report, the city cease further activity and construction on the site.” the resolution said.


A statement issued by Rabbi Bernard L. Berzon, president of the Rabbinical Council of America said, “We are distressed by the name calling and by the fact that individuals who previously were at the forefront of the liberal movement are now being called bigots and racists. There is a choosing up of sides and people are being pushed into positions which deny everything they ever stood for.”

Rabbi Berzon stated that “despite a long history of effort in behalf of all people, we (the Rabbinical Council) are convinced that this project, in its present form, cannot work and can only destroy the community of Forest Hills.” The project, conceived by the City and financed by the Federal government calls for the construction of 840 low-income housing units in three 24-story towers. According to the City Housing Authority, a scaling down of the project would greatly increase costs and force the government to withdraw its financial support.

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