The National Conference of Jewish Social Service, now taking place in Lake Placid, is one of the most interesting gatherings in American-Jewish life. It deals directly with problems concerning Jewish activities in the United States and with the adjustment of Jewish life here in all its phases.
Of special interest is the project recommended at the conference by Dr. Ben M. Selekman of a ten-year program of Jewish occupational redirection. Dr. Selekman advocates that this ten-year program be carried out on a large and adequate scale. He believes that with the help of such a program Jews in America will become readjusted to new occupations which may reconstruct basically the entire economic life of the Jews in the United States.
ADJUSTING AMERICAN JEWRY
The problem of adjusting American Jews to new occupations has long been advocated by numerous outstanding Jewish leaders. Prominent men in American Jewry have come out openly with the advice that Jews should go in less for medical and legal professions and should in general adapt themselves to occupations in which Jews are now little represented.
Guided by the experience in Nazi Germany, some of the Jewish leaders in this country have given thought to the idea of reconstructing Jewish life along such lines as would make it impossible for anti-Semitic elements in this country to point out that Jews monopolize certain economic fields and desert others.
A SOUND IDEA
Dr. Selekman’s ten-year plan will therefore attract no little attention. It is a plan which, if carried out, may save American Jewry much worry in the future. The details of this plan will be closely studied not only by Jewish leaders but every Jew interested in the economic and social welfare of the Jews in this country.
Needless to say, if Dr. Selekman’s ten-year project is adopted, it will require careful planning and much research before it can be carried out. Plenty of experimentation will have to be done Planty of mistakes will probably be made. Plenty of difficulties will have to be overcome.
But the idea of readjusting American Jews to new professions is a sound one. The principle is a healthy one. Execution of this idea should therefore unite all those wo wish to see American Jewry living a normal economic and social life.
SPELLING JEWISH UNITY
At the conference in Lake Placid it was suggested by Dr. Samuel C. Kohs that a national council, consisting of representatives of all Jewish national, religious and fraternal organizations, be formed in order to supervise the readjustment of Jews to new occupations, udner the ten-year plan outlined by Dr. Selekman. This suggestion deserves serious consideration. Aside from bringing together all important Jewish organizations for the specific purpose of economic readjustment, it would also cement unity in American-Jewish ranks.
Several Jewish national conventions were held this week-end in different parts of America. The convention in Lake Placid, however, may be considered the most important. This convention may spell a turning point in Jewish life in America.