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B’nai B’rith President Optimistic on Future of Jewish Life in U.S.

B’nai B’rith president Philip M. Klutznick disputed historians who foresee a withering of Jewish life in the next 50 years brought on by suburbanization and freedom from “ghetto pressures.” He addressed 1, 200 persons at the 89th annual convention of B’nai B’rith’s district 6 taking place here.

Mr. Klutznick found “no cause for fear” that Jews, having achieved a high measure of security, would abandon their ties to Judaism. He also questioned the belief that a crisis atmosphere” is needed to give the Jewish community its unifying force. However, he added, “the calamity of crisis will remain with the Jewish community” so long as more than two million Jews are enslaved by Soviet Russia.”

The great challenge to American Jewry today, the B’nai B’rith president said, is to restore to the family unit the role it has abdicated in transmitting Jewish traditions and culture to its youth. We are in an age of too much reliance on public and private agencies, not enough on the family,” he stated. The convention was turned into a 50th birthday celebration for him and he was surprised with a $50,000 check–“a thousand dollars for each year of a life committed to Jewish ideals”–presented by Chicago friends and made payable toward the construction of the B’nai B’rith building in Washington, D C. that will be dedicated this winter.

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