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Plan to Lift Interest in Jewish Values Offered Center Workers

Jewish Community Centers and staff members of Young Men’s and Young Women’s Hebrew Associations were urged to help the interest in the Jewish heritage at a two-day conference on intensive consultation on Jewish values and Jewish community center programming held under the auspices of the National Jewish Welfare Board at Cejwin Camp.

The call was issued by Manuel Batshaw, executive director of the Jewish Community Center of Essex County, N. J., in an address before a select group of Jewish Community Center and YMHA leaders from all parts of the country and consultants from other Jewish agencies.

“Jewish and non-Jewish thinkers alike have expressed grave concern about the standards of ethics or morality which have become a part of the mores of our country,” Mr. Batshaw said. “Our function as Jewish Community Center workers is to determine how we, as representatives of one of the institutions steeped in the Jewish heritage, can make our contribution in helping to raise the standard of human and group behavior to a higher point of excellence than its present state.”

“The task which confronts us,” Mr. Batshaw added, “is to find increasingly effective techniques of stimulating the interest of our members in learning about their Jewish heritage ‘in depth,’ at a time when this is not particularly ‘popular’ or ‘important’ to many people. Our work is complicated by many factors. We serve many different age groups. Our members come to us with a wide divergence of backgrounds. Most have not been brought up in a Jewish atmosphere and have had a very limited Jewish education.”

Among the tasks which the participants recommended that JWB undertake in the area of strengthening Jewish values were the preparation of a bibliography, source book and other literature dealing with Jewish values; inculcation of all future training programs with Jewish values; recruitment and training of additional specialists in the arts with sufficient background and qualifications for dealing with Jewish values; commissioning of creative artists to produce more original material in their respective fields.

Also planning jointly with the field of Jewish education to strengthen education in Jewish values; experimentation with the use of Jewish values in Center programming; encouraging new writers to create materials for all age levels; stimulating programming around Jewish values in Center day and country camps; promotion of Jewish libraries and similar facilities; suggesting study courses on Jewith values and other intensive programming in the JCC on the teenage, young adult and adult levels; organization of annual teen-age conferences and tours to Israel, and other activities.

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