Atlantic City, N. J (Jun. 7)
How shall the Jewish Center undertake to reach its educational objectives? This was the subject of discussion at yesterday morning’s session of the National Association of Jewish Community Center Secretaries at the Jewish Community Center of Atlantic City, N. J. E. J. Londow, New Jersey Field Secretary of the Jewish Welfare Board, introduced Dr. Horace M. Kallen of the New School of Social Research, New York City, who opened the discussion.
Dr. Kallen pointed out that the type of Jewish Center as was represented by the Y. M. H. A. had a program similar to that of the Y. M. C. A.; that another development of the Jewish Center type was the social settlement and Educational Alliance whose object was the Americanization of the immigrant; that the Jewish Center had now arrived at a stage where it was changing its objective to that of Judaization. The Center was therefore justified in reaching out to large numbers in order that it might bring to bear its influence on the largest possible group, with the view to the preservation of Jewish group life. The Jewish Center had arisen in the context of Jewish life because of the failure of the Synagogue adequately to provide means for its preservation. In this respect it was not different from the church. It therefore has become the mission of the Jewish Center to provide for activities both Jewish and non-Jewish in character, for even those that are not Jewish provide the means whereby Jewish groups affiliate. The Jewish Center must establish a relationship with the home and the educational program must begin with the children of pre-school age in order to be most effective.
A group of delegates conducted a round-table on Child Study under the leadership of Mrs. Rose Kahn, of New York City.
At the evening session William Pinsker, superintendent of the Jewish Educational Alliance of Savannah, Ga., read a paper entitled “Membership Turn-Over in a Small City.” The paper pointed out that members secured through intensive campaign do not stay as long as members attracted to the Center by its program or by a sense of civic responsibility; that there should be every effort to continue a member on the rolls of the Center for two years or more so that there will be a tendency to become a permanent member; that while it was obvious that the problem of turn-over is more important for the small city Center, very few Centers keep records that enable them accurately to study the trend of their yearly losses: that whatever material is available for a comparative study, merely shows that the problem varies in each community. Mr. Pin- (Continued on Page 4)
Gilbert Harris, Executive Director of the Y. M. H. A.-Y. W. H. A. of St. Louis. Mo., presented a paper entitled “Membership Problems of Centers in the Larger Communities’” He referred to the importance of the membership secretary of the Center having supervision of the membership activities; to the desirability of dealing with a member individually so as to retain his affiliations with the Center; to follow up the members so as to secure their attendance; to invite the public to certain functions with the view to recruiting members. He said, “We need a national membership office whose work would be membership research and the interpretation of that research.” He raised questions which included the following: How many members can buildings accommodate according to facilities, program and staff? What turn-over in membership should be expected annually? What membership can be expected according to the size and character of the community?