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Alan V. Stone 1933 – 2004

Allan C. Brownfeld
Spring 2004

Alan V. Stone, who served as president of the American Council for Judaism for twenty years before assuming the Chairmanship, died on February 11 at the age of 71 in Edison, New Jersey.  

We extend condolences to his family and his many friends upon his passing.  

Alan’s role in the history of the Council was an important one. He was a member for more than forty years and it is through his efforts and leadership, along with a core of dedicated leaders and supporters, that the Council celebrated its sixtieth anniversary in August, 2003.  

Alan was a person of utmost integrity and it was always a pleasure to be in his company. He was committed to the proposition that Judaism is a religion of universal values, not a nationality, and that Americans of the Jewish faith are Americans by nationality and Jews by religion, just as are members of other religious communions.  

Religion and Politics  

He was particularly concerned about those American Jewish organizations which confuse religion and politics and which, without any legitimate mandate, attempt to speak in behalf of the larger Jewish community.  

Writing in Issues in 1991, Alan declared: “Those Jewish organizations which claim to speak in the name of Jewish Americans, in fact, represent no one but themselves. The false impression that they, indeed, speak for millions of American Jews should be corrected. American Jews are liberal and conservative, Republican and Democratic, supportive of Israel’s policies in the occupied territories and vigorously opposed to them. Despite the best efforts of the organized pro-Israel lobby to create the impression that they speak for mostAmerican Jews, and that Jews are somehow ‘unified’ on this subject, the facts are quite different ... We at the American Council for Judaism have maintained ... that it is God, not the State of Israel, which is central to Judaism, and that all too often Middle East politics have been permitted to corrupt the Jewish religious tradition. Unlike those who claim to speak for all Jews, we speak only for our own members. We suspect, however, that large numbers of American Jews share our perspective.”  

When a number of Jewish organizations launched a campaign to free Jonathan Pollard, who had been convicted of espionage in behalf of Israel, Alan wrote a much-discussed letter which was published in The New York Times of December 30, 1993.  

Religious Bodies and Religious Faith  

He stated: “Those Jewish groups that have campaigned in Mr. Pollard’s behalf have no mandate from their members to do so. Americans of the Jewish faith join religious bodies to express their religious faith, like Americans of other denominations. They do not join synagogues, charitable groups and cultural organizations to see the leader of such groups campaign in behalf of a convicted spy. Indeed, no Jewish organization can speak for all American Jews, particularly on nonreligious questions.”  

The letter continued: “Jonathan Pollard, intelligence experts report, cost our country billions of dollars and possibly the lives of informants when he passed to the Israelis, among other things, a book described as a ‘huge compendium of frequencies used by foreign military and intelligence services.’ According to the U.S. Attorney who prosecuted the case, Mr, Pollard ‘had admitted that he sold Israel a volume of classified materials 10 feet by 6 feet by 6 feet.’ Included was information on the location of American ships and training exercises ... Our courts have provided Jonathan Pollard with the due process to which he is entitled. While Americans may differ about the severity of his sentence, this is hardly a question to interest religious bodies ... Sadly, some Jewish organizations, by repeatedly telling their members that Israel is the ‘Jewish homeland’ have confused young people about the nature of their loyalties and political responsibility. Jonathan Pollard may be one of these.”  

Alan Stone was born in Philadelphia and received his B.A. and M.A. from the Johns Hopkins University and did additional graduate work at Ohio State University. He worked for many years as a systems analyst in New York City and was active in community affairs in Edison, New Jersey.  

Service to Others  

He was a volunteer with the Jewish Family and Vocational Services and regularly delivered Meals on Wheels to the homebound elderly. He was active in the Jewish Historical Society of Central Jersey, was a member of the National Railroad Association, the Metuchen-Edison Historical Society and the National Model Railroad Association. He was a committeeman for the Republican Party in Edison for many years.  

Issues editor Allan C. Brownfeld recalls that, “For many years, Alan has been both a valued friend and colleague. He was a companion of constant good humor. We spent many very pleasant days together, often in connection with Council meetings. We visited Pike’s Peak in Colorado, the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, the Zoo in Fort Worth — and countless railroad museums, a particular favorite of his. It is, in large measure, because of Alan that the Council has continued to thrive. He was committed to the perpetuation of our perspective and under his dedicated leadership, the organization has had a new rebirth. We will all miss him both personally and professionally.”  

High Ideals  

Council President Stephen L. Naman states that, “Alan was a soft spoken man of principle, intellect, and high ideals. He was a devoted Jew and American patriot. Alan’s contributions to the Council are immeasurable, and his leadership and friendship will be sorely missed.”  

Alan is survived by his wife of 37 years, Marilyn; daughters Paula Pepperstone and Laurie; a sister Frieda Shanley Ford, and two grandchildren. We join them in mourning his loss and our thoughts and prayers are with them.

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