Three years ago Miss Lily Weiss, a teacher at Seward Park High School, organized a Hebrew Club at that school, the chief aim of which was to interest students in the Hebrew language and in every phase of Hebraic culture. Through her inspiring and enthusiastic efforts this society has grown to be one of the most popular groups in the school.
In the first year and a half of its existence the club, with the cooperation of the Hebrew Culture Council, of which it is a member, was able to persuade Dr. Brodie, principal of the institution, to adopt Hebrew as a regular part of the curriculum. This was done in February, 1934, and the number of students who elected this course was more than gratifying. Since then the demand has increased with each semester and the continuance of Hebrew as a subject is assured.
Every Wednesday afternoon the energetic Miss Weiss meets with her group of more than 125 boys and girls from the four branches of the high school and conducts a program as highly interesting as it is varied. Lectures, sings, movies, plays, and entertainment are only part of the features offered to members of this club. The discussion of current events in relation to Jewish life all over the world is part of the weekly meetings.
At the beginning of each term members of the organization select countries throughout the world on which they report during the semester. Thus Jewish life, its history, culture, and modern aspects is fully covered in a five-month period. Noted educators and members of the faculty augments the reports of the students and bring to the members of the Hebrew Club at Seward Park a more mature and wider knowledge of Hebrew and Jewish life the world over.
Films revealing the actual life in modern Palestine are shown two or three times a term and are very popular with the club members.
Usually before the holidays the group enacts plays embodying the spirit of the festivals. In the Spring semester a Purim play was featured by the students and last Fall a special Chanukah entertainment was offered which was attended by Dr. Brodie. The principal proved very enthusiastic about the progress of the club and commended highly the work done by the pupils and Miss Weiss.
Plans are now being formulated at Avukah headquarters, 111 Fifth avenue, for the establishment of a national research staff with branches in Chicago, Boston, and New York. After an intensive investigation the staff will publish a series of leaflets on the current Jewish situation from the student’s point of view.
The American Student Zionist Federation also reports that four new chapters have been formed in as many colleges in widely separated points. The units were organized at the University of Virginia, Iowa, Illinois, and Iowa State.