Menu JTA Search

Educator Asks Jewish Education Overhaul to Center It on Youth Needs

A leading Jewish educator charged here last night that Jewish education in the United States was “tragically inadequate” and was “no further advanced than was secular education in America at the turn of the century.”

Dr. Max Baer, national director of the B’nai B’rith Youth Organization, told the annual convention of B’nai B’rith Young Adults here that there must be “a drastic over-hauling-of the curriculum in Jewish schools so that it will be child-centered instead of subject-centered, reflecting the needs of today’s youth, not of their grandparents.”

Dr. Baer suggested a “coordinated approach to Jewish schooling in local communities, ” He declared that: “Education standards can be raised successfully only if there is agreement on the part of local synagogue congregations for uniformly high quality religious instruction.”

The gradual decline in religious discrimination throughout the United States will, in the next decade, “challenge Jewish youth to remain loyal to their faith, ” he said. This was especially true, he said, in cases where Jewish youngsters had identified with their own people largely because of discrimination.

“With this barrier crumbling, there is danger of an alienation of Jewish youth from the Jewish community, unless there is an affirmative and revitalized program of Jewish education, ” Dr. Baer asserted. “Such a program, ” he maintained, “will obviate any serious concern over the possibilities of assimilation.”

NEXT STORY