B’nai B’rith to Publish Translations of Great Jewish Books

A resolution recommending that the B’nai B’rith embark on a program of publishing popular translations of great books of Jewish literature in inexpensive editions for mass distribution throughout the English-speaking world, was adopted here last night at the second annual meeting of the B’nai B’rith Adult Education Committee. More than 100 leading Jewish scholars, educators and B’nai B’rith leaders attended the meeting.

The resolution will be presented for final approval to the B’nai B’rith board of governors which meets in Dayton, Ohio, on February 27. It is considered certain that the board will approve the project, which was suggested by Dr. Mordecai Kaplan, founder of the Reconstructionist movement.

In presenting his recommendation, Dr. Kaplan said: “The B’nai B’rith has organized its department of adult Jewish education as a function of Jewish life. To achieve that purpose I urge that it establish a press that will publish select writings from Jewish literature throughout the centuries, beginning with those which are relevant to contemporary problems of Jewish life. An attractive and inexpensive format should be aimed at in those publications, together with necessary aids to render them intelligible and interesting to all who are literate.”

The all-day meeting also heard Philip M. Klutznick, president of the B’nai B’rith, describe the vital role that the adult Jewish education program was performing in American-Jewish life. He said that the growth of adult study groups throughout the country had been stimulated by the B’nai B’rith Institutes of Judaism program, which was launched on a national scale last year. He called for further steps to encourage the reading of Jewish literature and to raise the spiritual and intellectual standards of Jewish life.

Chairman of the meeting, Maurice Weinstein, announced that plans had been completed for holding 30 B’nai B’rith Institutes of Judaism during the summer of 1955, including one in Europe and one in Israel. He also said that the program called for the establishment of 1,000 study groups, involving a total of 20,000 to 30,000 men and women throughout the United States and Canada. The B’nai B’rith Institutes are a method of adult Jewish education which permits study groups of men and women to meet with distinguished scholars and writers in a country resort atmosphere.

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