Orthodox, Conservative and Reform Unite in Appeal to Clinton

The following is the text of joint appeal to Mr. Clinton signed by the rabbinical heads of the Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform movements in America.

Released April 17, 1998

March 11, 1998

The President
1400 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W.
Washington D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President,

In the noblest spirit of Biblical teachings, religious virtue and benevolent aspirations, we, representing the rabbinate and synagogues of American Jewry, make this historic decision to turn to you to ask that you grant mercy to Jonathan Pollard and commute his prison sentence.

We, the representatives of the diverse religious spectrum of the American Jewish community, come together in a spirit of unity with a clear sense of fellowship and fraternity as fellow Jews to raise Mr. Pollard's plight with you once again.

We do not condone the violation of the laws of the United States, nor do we contend that Mr. Pollard is innocent of the crime with which he was charged. We do however contend that a hallmark of American justice is its consistent effort to 'make the punishment fit the crime'. Mr. Pollard's punishment is grossly disproportionate to his crime, and this can readily be seen in comparison with sentences given to others who have committed similar crimes. A life sentence for espionage has been meted out only to those unrepentant offenders who aided and abetted America's enemies with intent to damage or destroy our nation. Mr. Pollard wrongly disclosed secret information to one of the United States' most trusted allies. He has already served more than the sentences imposed on such offenders. He has also publicly expressed his regret for his actions and demonstrated profound remorse.

Our faith is predicated on the spirit of penitence. Our lives are bound by the divine gift of repentance. We share the message of patriarch and priest, prophet and psalmist who dared contend with God over the principle of justice and forgiveness. Mr. President, we feel it is wrong for American justice to treat Jonathan Pollard, a contrite offender, as you would those who have committed high treason against our nation. We implore you to act with righteousness and divine grace to right this wrong.

We thank you for your consideration.


Rabbi Richard Levy, President
Rabbi Paul Mentoff, Executive V.P.

The Central Conference of American Rabbis

Rabbi Seymour Essrog, President
Rabbi Joel Meyers, Executive V.P.

The Rabbinical Assembly of America

Rabbi Jacob S. Rubinstein, President
Rabbi Steven M. Dworken, Executive V.P.

Rabbinical Council of America

Rabbi Eric Yoffie, President.
Rabbi Leonard Thal, Executive V.P.

Union of American Hebrew Congregations

Mandell I. Ganchrow M.D., President
Rabbi Raphael Butler, Executive V.P.

Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America

Rabbi Sheldon Zimmmerman, President

Hebrew Union College

Rabbi David Saperstein, Dir. & Counsel

The Religous Action Center of Reform Judaism


The Pollard Case is unprecedented in its uniting all the diverse groups within Judaism in a common cause. The current joint appeal above is not the first time that Jews across the religious and political spectrum have set aside their differences and united in appeal for Jonathan Pollard. No other Jewish issue or cause has ever seen this kind of unbroken solidarity throughout the Jewish world. See the

Jewish Unity Page

for other examples of joint appeals made by all the streams of Judaism on behalf of Pollard.
See Also:
  • Clinton's response to this appeal
  • Gore Pressed On Pollard As He Sets out for Israel

  • Return to Jewish Unity Page