NEW YORK (May. 13)
An extensive program designed to provide spiritual aid to Jewish communities in various parts of the world was announced here tonight by Moses I. Feuerstein, president of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America. The organization serves 3,100 traditional synagogues throughout the United States and Canada.
Addressing the UOJCA’s national dinner at the Hotal Pierre here, Mr. Feuerstein said that the concentrated effort, aimed at supplying assistance in all fields of Jewish religious and educational endeavor, would tap the resources of the leading Jewish spiritual centers in major American cities and utilize the experience and skills of religious leaders and teachers in places where such leadership is critically needed.
Noting that pilot programs of such spiritual aid have already been successfully under taken by the UOJCA joint overseas commission in India and in several European countries, Mr. Feuerstein said that the Orthodox Union was now ready to launch the project on a broad scale. “In order to recruit the necessary corps of qualified leaders to weld together the spiritual forces in foreign communities where such aid is urgently needed,” he declared. “leading Orthodox congregations throughout the United States will be asked to grant sabbatical leaves to their rabbis for assignment on year-long tours of foreign duty in Jewish communities in different parts of the world.”
Under the program, he said, the rabbis will act as consultants in reactivating local institutions of learning as well as creating, where needed, new synagogues, schools and community councils.” A major contribution of the American rabbi,” he noted, “will be the coordination of these activities with international and local Jewish agencies, so as to avoid duplication of effort and community funds.”
Listing France, North Africa and South America as the areas in critical need of spiritual aid, the UOJCA president said that initial phases of the world-wide plan would be undertaken in France where the heavy influx of Jewish refugees from North Africa has already overtaxed the limited resources of the country’s Jewish religious and educational bodies “without any sign of a tapering off in the rate of immigration.”