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Rabbinical Assembly Convention Stresses Need for Religious Education

The teaching of religious values must become the primary function of Jewish education if it is to have an impact on human existence, it was agreed here today by a group of prominent Jewish educators.

Lay and spiritual leaders of Conservative Judaism, in papers and addresses before the annual convention of the Rabbinical Assembly of America, emphasized that the aim should be to make the American Jewish community realize that Jewish education” is not an end in itself but that the total human being is the end.” The Rabbinical Assembly is the international association of Conservative rabbis.

Speakers stressed that although the study of the Hebrew language, the teaching of sacred texts and ritual “are indispensable,” the major focus must be “to show the child how the values of Judaism are to play the determining role in his life’s decisions and dilemmas.”

Dr. Simon Greenberg, vice-chancellor of the Theological Seminary of America, declared that the role of the organized rabbinate “in determining the place that Jewish education is to occupy the life of the Jewish community is pivotal and probably ultimately determinative.”

Rabbi Edward T. Sandrow, the Assembly president, maintained that if the synagogue is the center of Jewish life, then the rabbi with the educator must be the key figure in education. However, he told the delegates, “unfortunately Jewish education has not always become religious education. So much time is spent on linguistics–the teaching of the Hebrew language–that by the time the child has finished his Jewish education, he has not absorbed a religious education.”

The convention honored David Sarnoff, chairman of the board of the Radio Corporation of America, by presenting him with the first Rabbinical Assembly Medical for-out-standing contributions to faith and freedom.” The presentation was made at a luncheon commemorating the centennial of the Jewish military chaplaincy in the United States.

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