JERUSALEM (May. 28)
Label A. Katz of New Orleans was elected tonight for a three-year term as the new president of the B’nai B’rith at the order’s triennial convention, succeeding Philip M. Klutznick. His only opponent for the presidency was Herman Feinberg of Pittsburgh.
The 1,300 delegates from various countries adopted a resolution expressing “grave concern” about the “tragic Rumanian situation” and appealed to the Rumanian Government to “continue its humanitarian policy of permitting the emigration of those wishing to join their families. ” Another resolution established a $300,000 special fund to expand the order’s Jewish adult education programs to deepen the knowledge of both past and present Jewish communities. The resolution urged B’nai B’rith members to increase their efforts to learn Hebrew which should also, according to the resolution, be a part of B’nai B’rith adult education programs.
A 21-member B’nai B’rith International Council was established by the delegates to coordinate activities among B’nai B’rith affiliates in 37 countries. Retiring president Klutznick was expected to be chosen as chairman of the new International Council. He was praised by the convention for his “courageous analysis of the relationships between the Jews of Israel and the Jews of other countries, ” a reference to his address Monday night rejecting predictions of doom for Jewish communities outside of Israel.
Mr. Katz, the new president, has a lengthy record of Jewish communal service, including membership on the national campaign cabinet of the United Jewish Appeal. He is a member of the executive Committee of the Council of Jewish Federation and Welfare Funds. He is also active in various other Jewish organizations.
BEN GURION “FRANKLY DISAGREES” WITH B’NAI B’RITH VIEWS ON ALIYAH
Prime Minister David Ben Gurion, speaking last night at the B’nai B’rith convention, told the predominantly American audience that he frankly disagreed with both American Zionists and the B’nai B’rith on issues of American emigration to Israel. He said that while what happened to European Jewry in the Hitler holocaust would never happen in America, “there is a danger that Judaism in America will experience a ‘kiss of death’ because there is a lack of Jewishness, because of the minority status of American Jewry, and also because of its economic status.”
The Prime Minister said the “only way to avert” this fate was to strengthen American Jewish links with Israel. He urged B’nai B’rith to support the building of the “three pillars required for the unity of the Jewish people: propagate the Messianic hope for redemption, Hebrew education and personal ties with Israel. ” Immigration was of the greatest importance for Israel’s safety, he stressed. He listed excellence of arms and winning more friends as of next greatest significance for securing Israel’s future.
Mr. Klutznick presented the B’nai B’rith President’s Medal for humanitarianism to the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister responded with the presentation to Mr. Klutznick with a huge filigree goblet on behalf of the people and the Government of Israel. Mr. Klutznick also received a magnificent Torah. The ceremonies took place in the Hebrew University Amphitheater which included an artistic and choral performance and the symbolic burning of the mortgage deed on the B’nai B’rith Washington, D.C., headquarters.
At the same session, the delegates were told that B’nai B’rith is resuming activities in Germany with establishment of a lodge in West Berlin 22 years after its lodges were forcibly dissolved by the Nazis. The announcement was made by Dr. Edwin Guggenheim of Zurich, president of the B’nai B’rith district for continental Europe.