LONDON (Jun. 13)
Few decades in the history of the Jews have been as important as the past ten years, Secretary of State John Foster Dulles declared in a message made public here today at the Consultative Conference of Jewish Organizations. The conference, which began last night and will continue through Thursday, was called by the American Jewish Committee, Anglo-Jewish Association and Alliance Israelite Universelle.
Mr. Dulles also commended the organizations represented at the parley for “their interest in working for human rights, for reinforcement of Jewish religious and cultural life and especially for the effort spent on furthering understanding between Jews and non-Jews.” He wished the conference success in its efforts to rebuild Jewish life in Western Europe and in defense of civil rights.
At the American Jewish Committee’s dinner last night for 100-odd delegates from some 19 countries, Jacob Blaustein, honorary president of the AJC, presided. The chief speakers were the presidents of the three sponsoring organizations.
Irving M. Engel, head of the AJC, pledged his organization’s support of plans to help the European Jewish communities to better satisfy their own communal needs. Mr. Blaustein, who spoke in a similar vein, stressed that such cooperation was pledged not only from a sense of kinship, but in the knowledge that thereby “we are strengthening our own Jewish tradition and destiny.”
AJA president R.N. Carvalho emphasized that there is no longer any discussion of whether Jewish life will continue and whether it will have a future. The problem today, he continued, “is how all these communities, particularly the larger one, can assist the depleted and poorer communities to provide a full Jewish life and material resources with which to do their work.”
George Wormser, Alliance president, reported an important change in the nature of Jewish communities in Europe. There has been, he asserted, “a substitution of modern forms of social action for the old method of paternalism.”
JUDAISM IN EUROPE IS IN DANGER, LONDON PARLEY ASSERTS
The Jewish communities of Western Europe are faced with a serious threat to the spiritual existence and continuation of Jewish culture and education, a communique issued at the end of today’s sessions declared. The communique listed a number of problems which combine to make up this situation, including:
1. The dearth of Jewish religious leaders since emigration from East Europe has been cut off.
2. The immigration to Israel and elsewhere, including the Western Hemisphere, has taken some of the most influential members of most of the communities of West Europe.
3. Jewish youth are drifting away from Judaism because of a lack of teachers and adequate educational facilities.
The representatives of many of countries, however, reported encouraging trends, pointing out that funds from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany have provided a stimulus for the aspirations of many Jewish communities. There is evidence of a revival of interest in Jewish religion and all things Jewish. Progress has been made in enlarging physical equipment for Jewish communal activities, the communique said.
During a country-by-country review of the Jewish situation, Neville Laski, of Britain, reported that one of the problems of the Anglo-Jewish community is intermarriage. M. Wormser of France said that in the coming years the social, economic and religious integration of thousands of North African Jews will call for efforts “of which the community is fully conscious, but which may exceed its powers.” Every effort, he stressed, is being made to train French Jewish youth to leadership responsibility.
Swiss leader Otto Heim said that although the Jewish community of Switzerland is one of the most stable in Europe, intermarriage is a problem for it, too. H. Lachman of Denmark, in a review of the situation of Danish Jews, stressed that Jews in his country enjoy equal rights and privileges with all other Danish citizens.