Atlantic City, N. J. (May. 25)
The problems of the smaller city community center executives, the importance of greater cooperation between the community center and Jewish education, how the Jewish community of Harrisburg succeeded in effecting a complete union of all forces-these and allied topics today occupied the minds of the delegates attending the annual sessions of the community center executives.
The convention was opened formally with a dinner last night when Moses H. Chaseman, president, Albany, presented his annual message. A joint session of the National Conference of Jewish Social Service for Jewish Education will take place tomorrow evening, with more than 800 delegates from virtually every part of the country in attendance.
Touching on the need for cooperation between Jewish centers and Jewish education, Dr. Mordecai Soltes, director, Jewish Extension Education, Jewish Welfare Board, pointed out that the two are close allies in a common cause, though each naturally emphasizes its own avenue of approach designed to accomplish the same end. Both, he said, are directly and intensely interested in aiding in the rearing of a generation of American Jews who will be attuned to Jewish influences and endowed with Jewish personalities, who will be adequately motivated and equipped to participate actively in the manifold phases of Jewish group life, and to contribute to ward its preservation and perpetuation.
CENTERS ASSUME RESPONSIBILITY
“Not only in their origin and guiding philosophy,” Dr. Soltes declared, “is there a kinship between the Jewish school and the Jewish center, but in practice as well has there been evident in recent years a converging of interests. Particularly striking has been the readiness of the center authorities in many communities to assume a share of the responsibility for formal Jewish education.”
“Gratifying developments in the center field in the past few years,” Dr. Soltes added, “have been the expansion and intensification of the Jewish elements in the program, the elements in the program, the offering of courses for seniors and adults in the form of unit series and institutes of Jewish studies; the deepening of the interest of intermediates and seniors in Jewish problems and issues which has found expression in the conduct of mass youth functions and the organization of discussion groups at both of which the central themes considered were of current and vital Jewish interest.”
Dr. Philip R. Goldstein, director, campaign department, Jewish Welfare Board, explained that whereas differences in religious attitude may justify the maintenance of more than one religious institution there is hardly a good reason for carrying on more than one program whether of cultural, social or physical activities. Besides the multiplicity of such activities, Dr. Goldstein added, leads to inferior standards; and the scramble for patronage results in budgeting difficulties. The pronounced tendency in the smaller communities toward the merging of cooperative forces is deserving of praise, he said.
Dr. Goldstein was also of the opinion that the smaller community centers should have extended to them a larger measure of recognition and representation on important committees. By giving the leaders of smaller centers the sense of dignity that goes with the sense of belonging the work in those communities will be powerfully stabilized and strengthened.