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Conservative Synagogues Urged to Attract More Jews to Religion

An explicable and understandable body of rules for ethical living and spiritual conduct that will be attractive to modern Jewry was urged today by Maxwell Abbell of Chicago, president of the United Synagogue of America, at the opening session of the organization’s convention. More than 500 leaders of Conservative Judaism from all parts of the country are participating in the gathering.

Mr. Abbell pointed out that in this respect little has been done and much must be done to avoid losing many people from the Jewish religious tradition and heritage. “Every Jew,” he said, “should associate himself with a synagogue, and its teachings should be an acting influence in the lives of men and women who furnish Jewish communal leadership.

“The synagogue should bring religious Jewish traditional ideals into fruitful operation on the American scene,” Mr. Abbell continued. “Problems which we share with our non-Jewish neighbors should be studied by synagogue groups and their conclusions put on the free market of ideas in friendly rivalry with the views of other religious and secular bodies. When the synagogue is not basic, as is the case today in American Jewish life, we in effect proclaim that we Jews are not a religious community.”

To attract youth, Mr. Abbell declared, the synagogues must be a house of study as well as of prayer. He added that it is heartening to him to see many new congregations being formed largely of young people.

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