NEW YORK (Oct. 28)
The House of Living Judaism, new national head-quarters of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations and affiliated bodies of the Reform movement in this country, was dedicated here this week-end in a two-day convocation which saw 1,000 representative of 440 Reform congregations in the United States and Canada together with another thousand guests participate in services, a dedication ceremony and an Institute on Judaism.
At the Institute for Judaism held today, congregational leaders were offered a five-point program for revitalizing the American synagogue in the face to the rising tide of secularism. The program would provide for: activation of present congregational members; enrollment of the unaffiliated; integration of meaningful ceremonies in the synagogue and home; intensification of youth activities programs; and strengthening the national religious institutions of American Judaism. It was also constituents and offer them constructive guidance and reassurance in a world beset with fears and uncertainties.
At a dedicatory banquet at the Statelier Hotel last night, Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver stated that “the establishment of Israel, although one of the most significant events in Jewish history, will not of itself guarantee the preservation of Judaism anywhere in the world.” The problem of preserving the Jewish heritage” will remain the challenge and the opportunity of the Jewish people everywhere,” he added.
Dr. Silver told the dinner audience that “a political state cannot be counted on to preserve a spiritual heritage. The Jews of the world will continue to take pride in Israel and support it.” He pointed out, however, that the majority of the Jewish people will in the foreseeable future continue to live in the United States. “These Jews will continue in the future, as in the past, to be loyal and patriotic citizens and to participate fully and eagerly in the total life of their country,” he stressed.
A similar note was struck at the dedication exercise by Dr. Maurice N. Eisen-drath, president of the U.A.H.C., when he declared that the House of Judaism “is a tangible affirmation of the fact that while American Jews have a deep spiritual kinship with Israel they build for an enduring life in America for their children and their children’s children for generations to come.” He added that “our destiny lies” here in American.
In a message read to the dinner last night, president Truman called for mustering of the moral forces of the world” to save freedom of religion and all our cherished freedom from the aggression of atheistic communes.” He also called for a world-wile revival in religion.