CLEVELAND (Jun. 23)
Overt anti-Semitism as a movement is isolated from the mass of the American people, Bernard H. Trager, chairman of the National Community Relations Advisory Council, told the 13th annual plenary session of the organization this week-end. He addressed 150 delegates of six national Jewish organizations and 38 local community councils affiliated with the NCRAC. A message from President Eisenhower hailed NCRAC activities.
Mr. Trager told the delegates: “We have already won many of the objectives we set for ourselves only a few years ago. While social discrimination and many other manifestations of anti-Semitism in our society continue, overt anti-Semitism is a cause without the semblance of a following,” he asserted. “The struggle for equality of opportunities has been won almost completely on the legal level. Those who discriminate are today under attack, on the defensive. Even in the South the segregationists are fighting a delaying battle. It will be long and arduous but the outcome is no longer in doubt.”
He noted advances also in respect to civil liberties and immigration. The national origins quota system, he observed, is now the target of criticism of all groups concerned about immigration, whereas it had not even been questioned 13 years ago. The wall of separation between church and state had been buttressed by the United States Supreme Court, he said. However, Mr. Trager expressed concern over threats to the separation principle in the public schools, where “an increasingly united campaign by church groups of most Christian denominations for the introduction of religion in some guise into the education program poses a difficult challenge.”
Major problem now on the agenda of the whole Jewish community, not only the field of community relations, Mr. Trager stated, is how to achieve “that subtle balance between integration into the general community and distinctive separateness that spells for us the ideal of creative Jewish living in a free society.” He expressed the hope that “all the agencies that the American Jewish community has created for community relations purposes” would again resume participation in the cooperative NCRAC process.
Dr. Horace M. Kallen, professor emeritus and research professor of social philosophy at the New School for Social Studies, commenting on Mr. Trager’s remarks, said that the NCRAC is “facing the realities of the problem, no longer distracted by divisive wrangling and jurisdictional disputes.” Dr. Kallen stressed the need for attention to the building and strengthening of the Jewish community as a distinctive community.
Prof. Robert M. MacIver, Lieber Professor of Political Philosophy and Sociology at Columbia University, commended the process of joint planning and continuous evaluation of programs. He commented that “these should appeal to the whole Jewish community.”