Abstaining from Political Action

44th General Assembly
April 1957
Toronto, Ontario

Be it noted that the participation of the President of the Union, with the heads of other organizations, for the purpose of issuing public statements and taking action on military, political, economic and diplomatic matters goes beyond the clear "objects of the Union" as set forth in its constitution. Judaism sets down the broad principles of social justice and social service. The Union's mission is to instill in each congregant's heart and mind an understanding of those principles and a firm commitment to advance them in daily action. Its constituents' members, through proper secular channels, may translate these principles into constructive action. The Union itself must avoid helping to create the public impression that all Jews are of one mind on any military, political, economic or diplomatic issue.

BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED that any resolutions of the General Assemblies authorizing such participation and actions on the part of the President of the Union, or of any other officer or agent thereof; be and hereby are rescinded.

The Committee recommends that this resolution be disapproved on the ground that it is contrary to the historic and fundamental principles of the Union and of Reform Judaism which openly concern themselves with matters of social justice and universal brotherhood, necessarily requiring the expression of moral judgments on controversial matters of political and economic import. One of the first actions of the Union was to sponsor a Board of Delegates on Civil Rights which was concerned principally in the diplomatic field. Our competence to speak on questions of Social Justice, and to declare our attitude toward Palestine, now Israel, has been long settled by unanimous action of previous Councils of the Union. We see no reason to re-open this question.

The report of the Committee was accepted.