Menu JTA Search

Freedom for Russian Jews, Less Anti-semitism Predicted for Year 2000

A majority of American Jewish Reform leaders believe that, by the year 2000, Jews will be actively practicing their faith in the Soviet Union, a peace treaty will have been signed between Israel and the Arab states, and there will be no merger between any of the branches of American Judaism.

The views, summarized today, were expressed in reply to questionnaires sent out by the Union of American Hebrew Congregations to 1,000 rabbis, presidents and members of the boards of the UAHC and the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. Leaders in politics, religion, sciences, and the arts also received the document. The preliminary report was based on the first 275 answers submitted. Twenty-five of these were submitted by non-Jews.

The findings were disclosed at the opening ceremony of a four-day meeting of leaders of Reform Judaism, who met to dedicate the expanded headquarters of the UAHC here. There will be a four-day series of conferences, religious services and special ceremonies which will be attended by 1,500 lay and rabbinic Reform leaders from all parts of the Western Hemisphere.

The principle event today was the installation in the UAHC board room of a time capsule, containing on film the preliminary findings of the survey as a “Forecast for the Year 2000.”

Forecasts by respondents generally reflected optimism in their predictions on the state of the world, the prospects for peace and the vitality of religion 40 years from now. Participating in the installation were Rabbi Maurice Eisendrath, president of the UAHC, Senator Jacob K. Javits of New York; Judge Emil N. Baar, chairman of the UAHC board of trustees; and Max L. Koeppel, chairman of the building committee.

Famous personalities who replied included Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt; Sen. Lyndon B. Johnson, the Democratic vice presidential nominee; Dr. Reinhold Nicubuhr; Dr. Edwin T. Dahlberg, president of the National Council of Churches; Bishop James A. Pike; Dr. Nahum Goldmann and others.

PREDICTIONS SEE JEWISH VICE PRESIDENT. NO Z.O.A., MORE INTERMARRIAGE

The replies predicted that Reform Judaism would be the dominant faith of American Jews in 2000 and that there would be less anti-Semitism in the United States and other countries.

Mrs. Roosevelt predicted that Jews will have run for President and Vice President, and will have been elected. A two-to-one majority felt that a Jew would have run for the vice presidency by 2000 but not for the presidency.

One out of five felt Germany would be one of the foremost powers by 2000, and the majority listed Germany and Russia as the countries where there would be the most anti-Semitism.

President Eisenhower and Sen. John F. Kennedy, the Democratic presidential nominee, preferred not to answer specific questions, but asked that special material applying to some of the categories be included in the filmed time capsule to be opened in 2000.

The section on Jewish life found the respondents believing that the Yiddish press will have disappeared by 2000 but that there would still be an English-Jewish press. By a two-to-one margin, they predicted that there would be an English-Jewish daily. A majority felt that a Jewish theme would earn a Pulitzer prize. A 90 percent majority believed there would still be kosher restaurants and kosher butcher shops.

A three-to-one majority felt that both the Israel Bonds organization and the Zionist Organization of America will be out of existence by 2000. A 90 percent majority felt that the United Jewish Appeal, Hadassah and the Jewish War Veterans would still be active. There was widespread feeling that intermarriage between Jews and Protestants would increase.

NEXT STORY