B’nai B’rith President Urges U.S. Jews to Develop Their Culture

A call to American Jews “to create a golden era of literature, art and philosophy comparable to the great cultural flowerings of past ages in other lands” was voiced here last night by Philip M. Klutznick, president of B’nai B’rith. Speaking at the annual national Hillel Summer Institute at Camp High Point on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the B’nai B’rith Hillel Foundations movement, Mr. Klutznick denied that America was merely an “intellectual motel” for himself and other Jews or that they were living in exile.

“We need to make of our Jewish inheritance something more than a past. We have thinkers, artists, philosophers here in our midst–we must find a way to encourage them to make a golden era of positive rich content of Jewish living in America. American Jewry must not become the cultural parasite of Israel as it once was of Europe. We must not only give as our heart and our mind dictate to the preservation of that modern land of antiquity, but we must have the intellectual prowess and the will to create our own culture which can give to them as well as receive from them,” Mr. Klutznick declared.

The president of B’nai B’rith told the 160 student leaders attending the institute that where Israel is involved, American Jews find themselves in a maze of contradictions when they try to explain their inner motivations and thinking as American citizens. Warning against extremist viewpoints on the relation of Israel to American Jews. Mr. Klutznick said:

“I am a Jew living in America, a great and a free country where now there lives the largest aggregation of Jews in the history of mankind. This is not exile to me. This is not the Diaspora to me. This is my home. I have traveled the length and breadth of it. While I yield to no one in my affection and devotion to Israel, America is not an ‘intellectual motel’ for me. It is not an ‘intellectual motel’ to many of my co-religionists who are mental giants and who are great students.”

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