Rose Halprin Calls for Basic Reorientation of Zionist Movement

The need for a “fundamental internal reorientation of the Zionist movement” was stressed here today by Mrs. Rose L. Halprin, acting chairman of the Jewish Agency, in a statement issued on her departure for Israel to attend the plenary session of the Jewish Agency executive, which starts this Wednesday, and the meeting of the Zionist Actions Committee which will begin on December 28. Noting that a revision of the constitution of the World Zionist Organization would be the main topic on the agenda of the Actions Committee, Mrs. Halprin stated:

“It is obvious that after 60 years during which the struggle for a Jewish homeland culminated in the establishment of Israel, a revision of the constitution of the World Zionist Organization is long overdue. However, reorganization–though essential–is only a rather superficial measure in view of the radical change in our position which has been brought about by recent historical events. What we need above all is a thoughtful reappraisal of our tasks and functions, a reevaluation not only of the structure but of the content of the Zionist movement. Barring such a fundamental internal reorientation, organizational changes alone will never restore the movement to its rightful place as a dynamic force in American Jewish life and in the life of Jewish communities throughout the world.”

Among the major Zionist tasks which warrant the attention of the forthcoming Actions Committee meeting, Mrs. Hal prin singled out the Agency’s educational activities in the Diaspora. “In financial terms, these educational programs absorb only a small fraction of the Jewish Agency’s budget,” she said. “Yet with these limited funds we have projected a program of modern Jewish and Hebrew education which is finding acceptance in ever widening circles.” She recalled that recently a number of American Jewish organizations expressed concern over the lack of depth in American Jewish education. She pointed out, however, that public statements are not always followed up by appropriate action.

“The Jewish Agency has been pioneering in the field of American Jewish and Hebrew education for the past decade,” Mrs. Halprin stated. “During that period, we have been instrumental in stimulating new approaches in the Jewish day-school movement in this country and developed such novel features as the Ulpan, the Jerusalem Certificate of Proficiency in Hebrew, and the Bible Quiz for American Jewish youngsters of high-school age.

“In its educational work, the Jewish Agency stresses the unity of the Jewish people Our educational projects which are usually undertaken in cooperation with other bodies are designed not only to deepen Jewish consciousness and to strengthen the roots of Jewish identification but to build a two-way bridge of mutual understanding and appreciation between American Jews and Israel, the two great centers of Jewish life in our time.”

The acting chairman of the Jewish Agency added that the Agency’s educational efforts are supplemented by a network of Israel work-study programs, seminars, tours and summer institutes which afford American Jewish youths a unique opportunity to establish first-hand contacts with Israel. Each year, close to 1,000 young people, educators and communal workers participate in these programs.

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