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Suburbanization Seen Dealing Mortal Blow’ to Jewish Education

A prominent Jewish educator today told the annual meeting of the Midwest region of the National Council for Jewish Education that “the suburbanization of American Jewish youth and the great emphasis on science has dealt Jewish education a mortal blow.”

Dr. Abraham Duker, President of Chicago’s College of Jewish Studies, warned the assembled delegates and guests that drastic action was and is required to combat this ominous trend.

“Three recent pressures are wreaking havoc with the efforts of American Jewry to pass on the precious heritage of the Judaic culture,” Dr. Duker said. “First, the ‘flight to the suburbs’ has caused our youth to devote more and more of their time to Joining the burgeoning multiplicity of clubs and purely social organizations. The pressures of being a ‘joiner’ leave little time for the furthering of their Jewish education.

“Secondly, the post-Sputnik emphasis on science has unfairly diminished the importance of the teaching of Judaism and Hebrew. If a young person looks toward the heavens today, he is more likely looking for a satellite than for any spiritual sustenance.

“Finally,” Dr. Duker added, “the upgrading of college entrance requirements, while generally commendable, has put courses in Jewish history and Hebrew at a tremendous disadvantage, in that not enough universities accept these courses at this time.”

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