JERUSALEM (Aug. 16)
Proposals for coordinating and strengthening Jewish education in countries outside Israel were presented today at the first World Conference on Jewish Education, which closes here tomorrow. The proposals are expected to be adopted at the closing session of the six-day parley, tomorrow morning.
At the same time it was emphasized at the session today that the Jewish communities in the countries outside Israel must take a greater interest in Jewish education of youths and adults, and must allocate the maximum possible funds for Jewish schools. The recommendations presented at today’s session urged that:
1. A worldwide “clearing house” should be established to provide information and research on Jewish education on a global scale.
2. Emphasis should be laid on knowledge of the Hebrew language as a “means of uniting world Jewry in time and space.”
3. Yiddish should be encouraged as “an important medium of communication and culture in preserving Jewish heritage.”
4. Jewish denominational and secular groups engaged in adult study programs should “cooperate instead of compete” in their activities.
Other recommendations will be presented tomorrow to the final session of the conference in which 500 lay and professional educators from 32 Jewish communities around the world are participating.
U.S. EDUCATOR DEPLORES “FRAGMENTATION” OF JEWISH EDUCATION
Addressing the delegates today, Dr. Oscar I. Janowsky, of City University of New York, who is educational consultant for B’nai B’rith, deplored the “fragmentation” of Jewish education resulting from what he called “institutional denominationalism.” He expressed respect for “diversity” in Jewish education where such difference is based on true distinctions, as between the Orthodox, Conservative and Reform branches of Judaism. But, he declared, many other differences “do not really reflect genuine distinctions.”
Some of the diversity, he charged, is due only to “vested institutional interests.” The root of the problem in the American Jewish community, he stated, “is the paucity of the movement.” “The meager efforts of the educative process on the Jewish youth,” he said, “can, in turn, be related to the posture of the benign unconcern for Jewish education on the part of the community’s leadership.”
He urged the American Jewish community leaders to devote themselves toward lifting standards in Jewish education and to increasing the appropriations by local communities for Jewish schools. At present, he said, the communities spend less than 10 per cent of their local budgets for Jewish education.