NEW YORK (May. 27)
Asserting that the Diaspora will continue to exist for the foreseeable future, Moshe Sharett, former Prime Minister of Israel and now chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel, last night called for a partnership between Israel and the “conscious Jews” in the Diaspora for a more intensive common endeavor to preserve Jewish peoplehood and Jewish culture.
Mr. Sharett spoke at a gathering in the auditorium of the New School for Social Research here, at which he and Prof. Mordecai M. Kaplan, noted American Jewish philosopher, were inducted as honorary members of Farband-Labor Zionist Order. While Israel is already today the potential permanent home not only of its present inhabitants but of all Jews who need and aspire to find their home there, he stated, a realistic approach is required with regard to the continued existence for a long time of Jewish communities elsewhere.
“Even if we were able to maintain a steady stream of 100,000 immigrants a year into Israel, ” Mr. Sharett said, “it would take at least 100 years to bring the more than 10,000,000 Jews of the Diaspora into it–not to mention any natural increase that would occur among them in the meantime. The State of Israel, ” he went on to say, “is but a means for the preservation of the Jewish people and its culture, ‘Conscious Jews’ in the Diaspora also seek to preserve the Jewish people. Therefore both have the same purpose and must be partners in a common endeavor.”
Prof. Kaplan outlined a six-point program as the “Agenda for American Jewry.” Included were support for the State of Israel “as indispensable to the survival of the Jewish people throughout the world”; the reconstitution of the Jewish people as a world community with the Jewish community in Israel as its hub; the establishment of Kehillot–organic communities–of American Jewry; stressing the primacy of ethical content as “what Jewish religion should mean to the individual Jew in his relation to all people, ” and ritual practice “as what Jewish religion should mean in his relation to the Jewish people”; living intensively a Jews while at the same time meeting “our wholehearted dedication to our responsibilities as American citizens. “