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Sharp Rise in U.S. Jewish Youth Predicted; Increased Services Urged

Jewish communities in this country were urged today to prepare themselves in the near future for expansion of their youth services to meet the cultural, religious and recreational needs “of a tidal wave” of Jewish youth.

This suggestion was made by Dr. Max F. Baer, national director of the B’nai B’rith Youth Organization. He said that the existing community facilities will soon be inadequate to meet the needs of Jewish youngsters entering their teens. Basing his figures on U.S. census data, Dr. Baer estimated that the number of Jewish boys and girls between the ages of 14 and 18 inclusive would climb from its present 1955 total of about 400,000 to 574,000 by 1963. This will be an increase of 174,000 young people, about 44 percent in eight years.

The B’nai B’rith youth director pointed out that in the decade prior to World War II, the birth rate had steadily diminished, especially during the depression ridden 1930’s. As a result, the teen-age population during the past 10 years has been comparatively small. Last year only about 5,285 youngsters between 14 and 18 were added to the Jewish population in the United States. In 1956, there will be about 14,225 more Jewish boys and girls between 14 and 18 than there were in 1955, and in 1957, about 23,135 more than in 1956, Dr. Baer emphasized that increases for each year will be about 16,030 in 1958, 15,435 in 1959, and 12,950 in 1960.

The sharpest rise will take place in 1961, Dr. Baer predicted. In that year the number of Jewish boys and girls between the ages of 14 and 18 inclusive will rise by about 43,890. The yearly gain in 1962 will be about 21,770, and in 1963 it will be about 27,580.