B’nai B’rith President Urges Student Exchange Programs with Israel

Characterizing the Hebrew language as a basic instrument of Jewish creativity and survival, Label A. Katz, president of B’nai B’ rith said tonight that the American Jewish community is "choking its cultural growth with faltering efforts to learn the language."

Mr. Katz made the statement in an address at the 45th annual banquet of the Histadruth Ivrith of America. Allan Bronfman, Jewish communal leader and prominent industrialist was the recipient of the organization’s honor citation for his efforts on behalf of Hebrew culture. Mr. Bronfman was awarded an honor scroll in recognition "of his generous assistance in the establishment of a Hebrew library to be associated with his name. "

In his address at the banquet, Mr. Katz was critical of "limited and superficial" efforts to teach Hebrew by instruction "a few hours a week. " Declaring that "a living language needs living contacts," he proposed large-scale student exchange programs with Israel as one means of achieving results. He also said there is no need to resolve the conflict between exponents of Hebrew as a modern language and those who hold it a sacred tongue only for prayer.

The B’nai B’rith leader praised the "stubborn efforts" of Histadruth Ivrith to spread the use of modern Hebrew but he decried the "habit of most Jewish groups to affirm verbally the importance of Hebrew without doing anything about it.

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