JERUSALEM (Aug. 19)
The World Conference on Jewish Education concluded its six-day sessions here this weekend with the adoption of a resolution providing for the establishment of a World Bureau of Jewish Education to act as a central “clearing house” for collecting and disseminating information on Jewish education throughout the world.
It is expected that the bureau will begin with an annual budget of $250, 000 which will come in part from various participating organizations. The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany will also be asked to allocate funds for the bureau.
The bureau would also “form the basis for the subsequent formulation of plans to help meet education needs and raise the educational standards in all Jewish communities in light of their own views and conditions and in full respect for their autonomy. “
The World Conference, which was attended by 500 laymen and professional educators from 32 communities in countries outside Israel, directed that the bureau be supervised by a World Council on Jewish Education, to be “representative of the major Jewish communities, educational bodies and all significant trends, religious and cultural, in Jewish life.”
The composition of the World Council was not decided by the delegates who requested instead that the Conference of Jewish Organizations, which sponsored the education conference here, “consult with their member organizations and other appropriate groups and religious institutions” to plan the structure of the Council and provide the “widest possible constituency for its work.”
A number of Jewish education leaders are to assist COJO in its work of establishing the Education Council. Yehuda Hellman of New York, secretary of COJO, said the group would begin the task immediately and complete the work within the six-month period recommended by the delegates.
COUNCIL TO DECIDE ON LOCATION OF WORLD BUREAU’S HEADQUARTERS
The delegates left to the World Council the decision about where the new education bureau should be located. Sentiment here was divided among Jerusalem, a major European city and New York. There is a possibility that the bureau might have two locations, one of which probably will be in Jerusalem.
Delegates at the final session of the Education Conference here applauded enthusiastically when Moshe Sharett, chairman of the Jewish Agency executive, read a cable from the Rabbinical Council of America, the leading organization of Orthodox rabbis, declaring itself ready to “participate in the permanent work” of the new group.
Religious groups in the United States were reluctant to participate officially in the conference here either because of ideological differences or the fact that the conference was convened by what they regarded as “secular” auspices. However, the American delegation, led by Julius Fliegelman of Los Angeles, included leading educators and laymen of the three branches of Judaism, The U. S. delegation was assembled on an “ad persona in” basis.
In other resolutions adopted by the conference, the delegates urged Jewish communities to provide “adequate facilities and sufficient funds so a full Jewish education will be available to every Jewish child”; called on Jewish community leaders to devote themselves in increasing measure to the needs and problems of Jewish education; and asked for “immediate steps” to help remedy the acute shortage of teaching personnel.
The conference also urged Jewish educators to intensify “the content of their educational program” and to expand the study of Hebrew and the role of Israel in the curriculum. The delegates also recommended “more Jewish content” in Jewish clubs and community centers and appealed to Jewish parents to “give priority to the Jewish education of their children.”
In urging increased emphasis on Jewish education throughout the world, the conference declared that “the propagation of Jewish learning and its intensification are indispensable to the well being of our people and to the growth of a vital Jewish cultural life and constitutes a major bulwark against assimilatory and disintegrating forces.”
The delegates agreed that while Yiddish should not be imposed on Jewish communities, it would be historically wrong to deny that it was a cultural and educational force.