Newark, N. J. (Jan. 10)
The United Hebrew Schools, the largest unit for Orthodox religious training in this city, has reached a financial crisis which is the immediate concern of local communal leaders.
The United Hebrew Schools include the Morton Street Talmud Torah, an institution which has been in existence for 35 years; the Rambam Hebrew Parochial School, established two years ago, and the Uptown Talmud Torah, in existence about twelve years. The regular daily attendance at the Morton Street institution is 330, at the parochial school, 60; and at the Uptown institution, 130 children.
Probably the direct cause of this critical state of affairs came about two weeks ago with the suspension of the special bus service which is used to transport 160 of the children attending the Morton Street Talmud Torah and also the Rambam parochial school, which is housed in the same building. These pupils live at considerable distances from the school.
According to Dr. Gordon, principal, the transportation service for these children amounts to $100 per week. A few days after suspension of this service for lack of funds, parents of some of the parochial school children held a meeting at the school and decided to assist financially towards the bus service for the month of January, in order that the pupils may get credit for the full semester which ends February L. However, the sum raised at the meeting amounted to only $21, the principal himself assisting.
The suspension of the bus service was another item in the rigid policy of economy which the board of directors has instituted in recent months. Lack of a sufficient number of teachers has caused the hours of instruction to be dropped from ten hours each week to five. In the three schools there are now eight teachers instead of the fourteen or fifteen that are needed.
Meanwhile a ray of hope is seen in the announcement of Samuel F. Leber, chairman of the education committee of the Conference of Jewish Charities, that he and his associates have a plan to improve conditions. This plan will be made public after it is submitted to the executive committee of the Conference. Mr. Leber’s associates on the education committee are: Aaron Levinstone, Sylvan H. Kohn, Moses Roth, Charles Loebel, Philip J. Schotland, Rabbi Aaron G. Robison and E. J. Londow.
Financial difficulty has long been a thorn in the side of the United Hebrew Schools. The combined institution is primarily dependent upon income from membership dues and tuition to finance its activities. The income from tuition, however, is considerably lessened due to the fact that 250 of the children cannot pay for instruction. Besides milk is distributed free to some of the parochial school children. The annual budget for the combined institution is approximately $40,000.
Numerous appeals for financial aid have been made, both privately and publicly but according to Mr. Handler they have not been productive of any significant response on the part of the Jewish community. Last month a bazaar was sponsored which is said to have brought in but one-half of the amount expected.
In a recent survey conducted under the auspices of the Conference of Jewish Charities it was brought out that “Approximately 3,600 or 29 percent of the 12,000 Jewish children in Newark are receiving some form of Jewish education. Sixty-two percent of these 3,600 children are boys and 38 percent girls. Of the 12,000 young people in Newark between the ages of 15 and 24 inclusive, only a little more than 2 per cent are receiving some form of organized Jewish instruction.”
The survey further stated that “there are 19 organized Jewish schools in Newark and three known Chedarim (Continued on Page 4)
A good-fellowship service Monday night, in which clergymen and laymen of seven denominations participated, brought to a close the four-day celebration which marked the 75th anniversary of Temple B’nai Abraham of Newark, N. J. Rabbi Julius Silberfeld, spiritual leader of the congregation and Rabbi Abraham A. Neuman of Philadelphia, were among those who participated. A congregational dinner, preceded by the annual meeting, was held Sunday night. Albert Hollander was re-elected president of the congregation and a $5,000 gift to the temple was announced by Louis V. Aronson in honor of the marriage of his daughter. At the initial celebration service Friday night the speakers were Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver, Governor A. Harry Moore, Mayor Jerome Congleton, William S. Rich, president emeritus of the congregation. Michael Hollander, who headed the celebration committee and Rabbi Silberfeld.