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Hillel Foundation Directors Discuss Jewish Community Obligations

East European sources of Jewish leadership, so prominent in the pre-World War II world, are “dried up and dead,” leaving the responsibility for Jewish leadership with the American community, Prof. William Haber, president of the World ORT Union and chairman of the national Hillel Commission, told a Hillel directors conference here this week-end.

Dr. Haber declared that “the future leadership of the Jewish community in America must be created by us for it cannot and will not any longer come from abroad, and this is the most important task which faces the B’nal B’rith Hillel Foundation today.”

He suggested that “perhaps Hillel had bitten off more than it could digest, in terms of bringing Jewish values to students on American campuses,” and that the American Jewish community “must be shocked into the realization” that if there is not more support forthcoming, the real possibility exists of closing existing foundations at this “crucial time.” The whole Jewish community, Prof. Haber continued, must be made aware of the Jewish task on the college campus.

Dr. Judah J. Schapiro, national director of the Hillel Foundation, pointed out that the Jewish community must realize that “its students are attending colleges in ever-increasing numbers and it must be made aware of its responsibility to support this program which serves them.”

He emphasized that the individual Hillel director “must be that representative of Jewish education on the campus who can best present the whole rich background of the Jewish cultural past and he must incorporate the important aspect of the Hillel program into the Jewish student’s college experience.”

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