KIAMESHA LAKE, N.Y. (May. 10)
A warning that American Jewry is “in gravest danger” because its youth has little consciousness of Jewish ness was voiced here today by Rabbi Joel Geffen, director of community activities of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. “Our affluence and our enjoyment of full freedom,” he said, “have blinded us to the very roots of Jewish existence. Our college generation has not been grounded in Jewish tradition and Jewish knowledge and Jewish consciousness. Furthermore, inter-marriage is corroding the Jewish community.”
Rabbi Geffen made these statements in an address to the 36th annual convention of the National Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs, attended by 700 delegates representing 350 Conservative congregations. The four-day parley, which opened yesterday, will run through Wednesday. To surmount the dangers facing American Jewry, Rabbi Geffen said, “more and more vigorous spiritual leadership are needed, and our Jewish educational structure must be expanded and enlarged. Our children and our youth must know and feel their Jewish ness. The responsibility belongs to the adults in our community.”
At tonight’s session, Arthur S. Bruckman, chairman of the Federation’s awards committee, presented the organization’s annual Distinguished Service Award to Judge Thurgood Marshall, of the United States Court of Appeal.