Decline of Jewish Birth Rate in U.S. Reported at Z.O.A. Parley; Youth Trains for Israel

A dark picture of certain aspects of Jewish life in the United States was painted here today at the opening session of the 51st annual Convention of the Zionist Organization of America in an address delivered by Mortimer May, vice-chairman of the Z.O.A. Administrative Council.

The Jewish birth rate in the United States, he said, is at a precariously low level. “Our families,” he pointed out, “are very small, averaging only 3.6, which means that we are practicing race suicide on a very large scale. Intermarriage has further weakened the Jew and there has been a decline also in Jewish religious life.” He expressed the hope that the gains to be made in Israel “will serve to combat the American Jewish deterioration.”

A training center for American Jewish youths desiring to live in Israel has been established at Poughkeepsie, N.Y. it was reported at the convention. Hundreds of young people in the camps are receiving training for life in Israel, Louis Showefel, chairman of the Z.O.A. committee to promote emigration of Jewish youth to Palestine as Chalutzim, reported to the convention.

The convention also received greetings from a number of U.S, Senators, from members of the Israeli Cabinet and from Gov. Herbert H. Lehman. “In Israel, we begin to see absolution for the plight of the hundreds of thousands of homeless and dispossessed Jews of Europe,” Gov. Lehman said in his message. “In Israel, we begin to see the birth not only of a new nation but a new dignity, and freedom for the Jewish people.” A caucus of “the Committee for Progressive Zionism” -the opposition group within the Z.O.A. was held tonight, and was addressed by Louis Lipsky, Harold J. Goldenberg, Judge Louis E. Levinthal, Ezra Shapiro, Charles J. Rosenbloom. Rudolph G. Sonnenborn, and Joel Gross. The caucus decided to call upon the convention to create “a coalition administration.” The general theme which was accented at the caucus was that such a coalition would bring into the Zionist fold “all of its creative forces.”

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