TORONTO (Jun. 25)
The Canadian Jewish Congress concluded its 13th plenary session here last night with the adoption of a resolution urging maximum efforts to “help alleviate the plight of our brethren in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.” Michael Garber of Montreal was elected president of the organization to succeed Samuel Bronfman who served in the post for the past 23 years. Mr. Bronfman was named chairman of the newly formed board of directors.
The Congress also established a national study commission to explore ways and means of meeting the financial requirements of Jewish day schools in Canada through the development of new sources of revenue. It also called upon the CJC national executive to encourage the establishment of chairs in Yiddish and Hebrew language and culture and Jewish history.
In another resolution on communal responsibility for Jewish education, the CJC called upon “all those communities which do not cover Jewish education in their welfare fund campaigns to establish funds or to include the schools in existing communal fundraising campaigns.”
The CJC reaffirmed “its active opposition to religious education in the public schools in those provinces where public schools exist.” It also urged the taking of all steps necessary “to bring about amendments in the criminal code to make it a criminal offense to preach hate mongering, race slaughter or genocide toward any ethnic or religious groups” and that this be done “without infringing on the democratic freedoms of Canadians. “
Governor General of Canada, Major General Georges P. Vanier, who opened the plenary session of the Canadian Jewish Congress, told the 700 delegates from all parts of Canada, of the contribution of Canadian Jewry during the past 200 years since the first Jews settled in Canada. Speaking of Israel, the Governor General said: “Before our eyes, in barely a generation, we have seen the realization of a hope which wise men once called chimerical. Such is the fruit of courage and perseverance. “
BRONFMAN CALLS CANADIAN JEWRY TO ALERT AGAINST ASSIMILATION
Samuel Bronfman, who was president of the Canadian Jewish Congress for the past 25 years said in his address that Canadian Jewry must believe implicitly in the need for a complete existence and must realize that there can be no virile and meaningful Jewish life in Canada without authenticity. He referred to the responsibility of Canadian Jewry to show concern for the harassed Jews of Communist countries and of other countries where there are forebodings of further disabilities for Jews.
Mr. Bronfman referred to Canadian Jewry’s close ties with Israel and to the contributions made by Canadian Jewry to the Jewish State’s economic upbuilding. He enjoined Canadian Jewry to be alert to the eroding influence of assimilationism, which, he said, is paradoxically all the more persuasive in a society, such as the Canadian, where anti-Semitism has abated since the war. “It can be said that emancipation and freedom have threatened the survival of the Jewish people as a religious and cultural entity more than persecution has worked to preserve it.”
Saul Hayes, executive vice-president, stressed that the Canadian Jewish community, living in a predominantly Anglo-Saxon culture, and no longer rooted in an East European background, must realize that the future of the Jewish community can no longer be directly related to the culture of the past.
He stated that while the Canadian Jewish community manifests several cultures from various streams of Jewish life, it expresses a single political loyalty which is to Canada. However, the Canadian Jewish community had links with every other Jewish community–most closely with those of the neighboring United States. The spiritual and historic role which the community of Israel played in the life of Canadian Jewry was also stressed by Mr. Hayes.
Other officers elected at the close of the plenary session included Irving Oelbaum of Toronto, chairman of the national executive; and the following vice-presidents: Harold Lande of Montreal, Jacob Finkelman of Toronto, Saul Chemiack of Winnipeg and M. Cohen of Vancouver. Samuel Harvey of Montreal was elected treasurer and David Slater of Winnipeg, secretary.