Lake Placid (Jun. 17)
The Jewish Center in its relationship to Jewish life and to matters pertaining to youth organization, as well as to the general resurgence of the Jewish youth movement in America, was discussed today at the session of the Conference of the National Association of Jewish Center Executives.
Dr. Mordecai Soltes, director of education of the Jewish Welfare Board, in analyzing the role of the Jewish Center in the Jewish Community, declared that one of the distressing features of the current tragic situation has been the failure on the part of the leaders of American Jewry to close their ranks in facing a ruthless, powerful foe.
“Instead of closing our ranks we have beheld the disheartening spectacle of public demonstrations of disharmony, disavowal of responsibility and cooperation, mutual recriminations which detracted from the dignity of Jewish life and rendered the Jewish front in America feeble and ineffective,” Dr. Soltes said.
Dr. Soltes emphasized that this state of affairs has a degenerating influence upon the morale of Jewish teachers. He also disclosed that more than ninety per cent of the 2,000,000 Jews in New York did not respond at all to the appeals of the Joint Distribution Committee and the American Palestine Campaign.
“The vast majority of our adults continue to shirk their Jewish communal obligations without compunction,” he said.
URGES SHARING BURDENS
Dr. Soltes voiced the conclusion that it is necessary to inculcate in the rising Jewish generation a keener attitude of responsibility and readiness to share Jewish burdens. Both the Jewish center and Jewish education should manifestly get their respective clientele to think in community terms, he urged.
“One important way of accomplishing this highly desirable end is to afford them frequent opportunities to participate in projects and undertakings calling for specific deeds and the submergence of individual self-interest for the welfare of the larger groups,” Dr. Soltes recommended.
Louis Kraft and Miss Ray Wechsler, both of New York, spoke on the same problems yesterday at a session presided over by E. J. Londow of the Jewish Welfare Board.