Jewish Students Told It is “too Easy” to Be a Jew in United States
Menu JTA Search

Jewish Students Told It is “too Easy” to Be a Jew in United States

Download PDF for this date

The seventh annual Hillel Institute for leadership instruction closed its eight-day session here after discussing various problems concerning Jewish life in this country and in Israel. One hundred and forty students who are leaders in the B’nai B’rith Hillel Foundation units on their respective campuses attended the session.

Dr. Simon Halkin, Professor of Hebrew Literature at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, told the delegates that he was “not sure that the Jewish State will survive” unless there is substantial immigration of Jews from the Western Hemisphere. The million and a half Jews who are living in Israel now are not sufficient to perpetuate the State, he declared.

Asked whether he believed that a full Jewish life was possible in the United States, Prof. Halkin said, “whether you are religious or not, a complete Jewish life cannot be lived outside of Israel, “adding that it was “too easy” to be a Jew in America. “All one has to do is to buy a bond or go to the Temple occasionally, ” he stated.

Rabbi Maurice Pekarsky, director of the newly-established Hillel Foundation at the Hebrew University, came from Israel to direct the Institute. The sessions of the Institute were recorded on film by a motion picture crew composed of members of the Cinema Lodge of B’nai B’rith. The films will be released on a nation-wide scale later this year.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund