Weaknesses of American Jewish Leadership Discussed at Parley

The “weaknesses” of today’s American Jewish leadership were discussed this week-end at the four-day national institute arranged at Brandeis Camp in Santa Susanna, California, which was attended by more than 100 Jewish leaders from every part of the country.

The discussion centered around an analysis given by Rabbi Morris Adler of Detroit who cited inadequacies he felt were present “but not necessarily prevalent” among today’s leadership. Included were: lack of an adequate background in Jewish life out of which to make decisions and establish policies that reflect Jewish thought and experience; a paternalist attitude toward constituents; self-assurance that admits of no dissent; and a “stand-pat” attitude not sufficiently responsive to new needs and new ideas.

In addition, he took exception to top positions for “frequent absent leaders who are in evidence only at the great functions and public demonstrations and abdicate much of their responsibility to professional directors.” Rabbi Adler urged the assembled Jewish leadership “to make the traditions of the past applicable to the present and to retain a measure of open-mindedness which will enable them to welcome new ideas.”

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