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First National Conference on Jewish Education Adopts Four-point Program

A four-pronged plan of cooperative action to marshal the diverse religious and organizational elements in American Jewish life behind one common program of improving and expanding Jewish educational activities was adopted today by delegates representing organizations and communities in all parts of the United States and Canada, at the first National Conference on Jewish Education. The conference, held at the Hotel Biltmore, is sponsored by the American Association for Jewish Education, with the cooperation of 32 major national Jewish organizations.

The four-point program adopted by the delegates constitutes the first agreement in American Jewish history on community-wide cooperative action in the field of Jewish educational endeavor supplementary to the public schools. The delegates agreed that diversity in types of Jewish schools and in their underlying philosophies was desirable and in keeping with the American tradition of religio-cultural democracy. They adopted the following four-point program:

1. The creation of a permanent advisory council, representing all the major organizations in Jewish life, to work with the American Association in developing, promoting and expanding Jewish educational activities.

2. The adoption of a basic statement on community responsibility for Jewish education, which declares that Jewish education “must occupy a position of primacy in parental and community responsibility,” and which calls upon all Jewish communities, organizations, and individuals in the United States to provide full financial support for Jewish education.

3. The adoption of a resolution calling for a full-scale nationwide study on the history, progress, effectiveness, achievement and status of every Jewish educational institution in the United States, involving the voluntary cooperation of all schools, religious bodies, communities and organizations.

4. The adoption of a “Charter of the Rights of the Jewish Child,” which points out that the Jewish community bears responsibilities in relation to its children, supplementary to those owed to all children by the general American community, and pledges to dedicate all efforts, talents, and resources of the community to the discharge of those obligations.

In the opening address last night, Michael A. Stavitsky, president of the American Association, pointed out that the conference was the first assembled solely for the purpose of stimulating Jewish education in America. Prof. Horace M. Kallen of the New School for Social Research presided at the opening session, which was also addressed by Dean Ernest O. Melby of the School of Education of New York University.

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