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Dr. Haber Warns on Need to Strengthen Judaism Among College Youth

The Hillel Foundation’s policy of “hospitality to all points of view” in regard to Jewish affairs has removed from the American college campuses “the competitions and organizational ambitions that, elsewhere, afflict Jewish community life,” Dr. William Haber, national Hillel chairman, declared today. He addressed the annual summer conference of Hillel rabbis at Camp B’nai B’rith here.

Hillel’s “supra-denominational” approach is now being recognized by other Jewish groups both in religious and in secular life, Dr. Haber asserted. “They have begun to think of the campus,” he stated, “as an area where their respective influences can be brought to bear by working through the Hillel movement as the all-inclusive Jewish community on the campus.”

Urging community support of an expanded Hillel program, Dr. Haber declared that more than 65 percent of the Jewish college youth spends four years or more on a college campus. “Their experience during these formative years, the most important years in their intellectual development, will inevitably exert a strong influence on their attitude toward Judaism and the Jewish community,” he stated.

“For most Jewish youth,” he said, “the college years are a period of religious doubt. The university is a center for examining ideas and traditions, a place where established forms are questioned, and doubts are raised even about eternal values,

“If four years or more will be spent in such an intellectually inquisitive environment without Jewish life and guidance, the chances of retaining a commitment to Judaism and Jewish values will be seriously minimized.”

The Hillel leader announced plans for a new series of campus research projects which will seek to analyze the background and religious and cultural aims and needs of the Jewish students, so that Hillel may help meet those needs.

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