Reform Movement Leader Renews Calls for Clemency for Jonathan Pollard
WASHINGTON - Dec. 18, 2000 - U.S. Newswire
The following was released today by the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism:
Reform Movement Leader Renews Calls For Clemency For Jonathan Pollard
Rabbi David Saperstein Transmits Letter To President Clinton
Urging Clemency For Jonathan Pollard
Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center
of Reform Judaism, today forwarded a letter from Rhea Schindler to
President Clinton urging that convicted spy Jonathan Pollard be
freed. Pollard was convicted in 1984 of spying for Israel, and has
served one of the longest prison terms of any American ever
convicted of spying for an ally of the United States.
The letter was written by Rhea Schindler, widow of the late
Rabbi Alexander Schindler, who served as both President of the
Union of American Hebrew Congregations (1973-1996) and Chairman of
the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
(1976-1978). Rabbi Schindler, who passed away unexpectedly in
November, was one of American Jewry's most passionate and respected
voices, especially on issues relating to the American-Israeli
In the letter, Mrs. Schindler cites her husband's long-time
commitment to Jonathan Pollard's case and the personal friendship
that she and Rabbi Schindler developed with Pollard. "We do not
deny his guilt, nor does he, but he has paid the price -- sixteen
years in prison," she writes.
Rabbi Saperstein, a longtime friend of the Schindlers who has a
history of working closely with President Clinton on issues from
civil rights to international debt relief, agreed to forward the
letter to the President. Saperstein has also worked on the Pollard
case, having visited Pollard in prison last year and having
repeatedly spoken out in favor of clemency for Pollard.
Speaking of the letter, Saperstein said, "There is no couple in
American Jewish life whom I respect and admire more than Alex and
Rhea Schindler. After the amazing accomplishments of Alex's life,
it is an honor to be able to continue his commitment to see
Jonathan Pollard freed from prison. As Rhea writes to the
President, commuting Pollard's sentence 'would be an act of justice
and compassion'; no other qualities could better reflect the
commitments by which Alex led his life."
The complete text of Mrs. Schindler's letter follows:
Dear President Clinton:
My husband, Rabbi Alexander Schindler died November fifteenth.
One of the issues he felt strongly about was the executive
incarceration of Jonathan Pollard. I do not need to repeat the
details of the case, as I know you are very conversant with them.
Alex visited Jonathan on several occasions in North Carolina, and
we were both on the phone with him at least three times a week.
We do not deny his guilt, nor does he, but we believe he has
paid the price - sixteen years in prison. What spy, working for an
ally of the U.S., has been imprisoned this long?
I pray that before leaving office you will find the strength to
pardon Jonathan Pollard. It would be an act of justice and
The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington
office of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (UAHC), whose
900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform
Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR), whose
membership includes over 1700 Reform rabbis.