New Orleans (Mar. 13)
Combatting the spirit of pessimism and disillusionment, which he said is characteristic of present-day civilization, is one of four major tasks now confronting the Jewish people, according to Prof. Abram Leon Sachar, director of the Hillel Foundations, who spoke today at the fourteenth triennial convention here of the National Council of Jewish Women.
“The prophet of today is Spengler,” he declared, “who asks men to build on the rock of despair and face doom with courage â€”that life is a brilliant interlude between two nothings. Hebraism has never yielded to this cosmic despair. It has stood ground in similar crises, in Egyptian days, in the Hellenist collapse, in the dark ages, and it throws its forces today on the side of those who feel that the rich values in civilization can be won by abdominal fortitude.”
SETS CULTURAL GOALS
As other objectives, Professor Sachar urged the Jewish people to transmit a magnificent cultural heritage and thereby build deeper the concept of “Cultural pluralism,” to transmit this culture heritage dramatically and aesthetically so that it may survive, and to transmit it in terms of social values.
Professor Sachar likened Americanism to a symphony, with each separate racial culture contributing its own instrument and melody. He declared that the melting pot theory of American life is bankrupt and that cultures are not all thrown into a crucible coming out alike.
STRIVE FOR PEACE
Concerning his fourth topic, he said, “Jews live best as Jews when they identify themselves with great social causes, when they strive for peace, when they seek to eradicate social injustices, when they battle for enlightenment and when they strike down prejudice and intolerance.”
Another speaker of the day, Leo Schwarz, director of the New School of Jewish Education, said that the Jewish people had derived a great “social technique” from their social experiences of over 3,000 years, and they have an opportunity to contribute largely to the as yet unformed American culture.
Mr. Schwarz urged the Jewish communities to build on their tried and true social experience of the past, rather than to adhere to political groups which offer a panacea for social ills.