NEW YORK (May. 15)
A million-dollar program for Jewish education in America was announced today by william Weiss in his presidential address to the fortieth anniversary convention of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations at the Riverside Plaza Hotel today. He said the money would be used to coordinate religious education work throughout the country under the auspices of the National Orthodox Board of Education.
The money, to be raised in one-dollar gifts from the million orthodox Jews in the country, will provide for the support of the Yeshiva College of New York, Chicago Theological Seminary, and other schools of higher Hebrew learning, as well as for religious schools and Talmud Torahs attended by children. A special $25,000 grant will provide a subsidy of $500 to each of 50 rural communities throughout the country partially to defray the expenses of Hebrew school teachers in these previously untouched districts.
“In these days of trial for world Jewry, when faith is the one thing that is undeniable to all Jews,” declared Mr. Weiss, who was re-elected president, “there is no more important task before Jewry than to provide the wherewithal for the preservation of Jewish tradition. We must adopt a constructive plan to safeguard traditional Jewish learning in America as well as to uphold and reaffirm the precious heritage of American democracy. This cannot be accomplished by a purely secular program. The spiritual and religious consciousness of our people must be fortified, and that can only be accomplished by the synagogue, and through intensive education for youth from the elementary Talmud Torahs to the higher institutions of Hebrew culture.
Former Supreme Court Judge Joseph M. Proskauer, representing the American Jewish Committee, who spoke on “The Responsibilities of the Jewish American,” vigorously opposed the proposed plebiscite of the American Jewish Congress. He declared: “I know of no unity with any other Jew or anything that savors of the political.”
William B. Herlands, New York Commissioner of Investigation, said: “The Jewish religion was never a hot house religion. It was always rooted in the daily usages, customs, and beliefs of its followers. It must then demonstrate to our youth that it signifies a beautiful dynamic, and significant way of life. It is your duty to reveal that its philosophy, its history, its literature, and its practice are consonant with our intelligent and sensitive, modern way of living.” State Senator Lazarus Joseph brought greetings from Governor Lehman.
The convention banquet this evening heard Representatives Bruce Barton and Sol Bloom, Paul Moss, Commissioner of Licenses, representing Mayor LaGuardia; Dr. Bernard Revel, president of Yeshiva College, Federal Judge Samuel Mandelbaum, Justice Nathan D. Perlman, Joseph Fromberg, Rabbi Herbert S. Goldstein, Samuel M. Levy, and Frederick Margareten, chairman of the Convention Committee. Mr. Weiss presided as toastmaster.
In a message to the convention, President Roosevelt expressed the hope that “all who participate will renew their devotion to those principles of civic and religious liberty which are embodied in our Constitution and have been the cornerstone of American policy from our beginnings as a nation.”