Presidents of All Jewish Groups Urged to Meet on Various Issues

A proposal that presidents of every national Jewish organization should meet with each other at least four times a year, in order to effect greater cooperation in American Jewish community life, was advanced here by Philip M. Klutznick, B’nai B’rith president, addressing the 85th annual convention of the District Grand Lodge No. 6 of the order. More than 1,000 delegates attended the gathering.

Stressing the importance of “good community manners” and the recognition of genuine differences in ideology and approach to issues within the Jewish community, Mr. Klutznick offered as a first step toward cooperation the following suggestion:

“What I would suggest first of all is that the men who lead our communal organizations get to know each other, get to talk together informally and without the encumbrances of staff and protocol. I think it would be a good thing for the community if the presidents of every national Jewish organization–and only the presidents, no substitutes–were to meet with each other at least four times a year. The agenda of such meetings might consist of matters submitted in advance which the presidents agreed to consider. There would be no voting except by objection; and no action unless agreement was unanimous.”

Citing the example of the heads of two prominent American Jewish organizations holding office during the same four-year period who had never met each other, Mr. Klutznick declared: “I cannot repeat often enough that we need to have a place where we can learn to know each other better. Not only do most of us need Jewish education, we need education about Jews – their ideologies, their institutions and their organizations. Whether we agree with each other or not is not half so important as that we learn through knowledge of each other to respect one another.”

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