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World Council on Jewish Education Parley Favors Jewish Day Schools

The presidium of the World Council on Jewish Education approved a statement here today under which the Council will give special emphasis to the promotion of Jewish day schools in its permanent program.

The day school issue evoked a lengthy debate at the meeting hereof presidium members and 37 leading Jewish educators from 12 countries. The presidium is preparing a statement of objectives to guide the activities of the Council when it becomes formally constituted probably next year.

The educators were unanimous in agreeing that the Jewish day school provides the most intensive form of Jewish education and that its growth needs to be encouraged. However, American delegates were sharply divided on the wording of the Council’s statement which singled out the day school for preferential emphasis. The statement was approved overwhelmingly.

The statement declared that the new world Jewish education body “will give its support to every form of Jewish educational practice. It will seek to promote especially the Jewish day school as a more intensive form of Jewish educational practice. It will seek to promote especially the Jewish day school as a more intensive form of Jewish education, and it will encourage establishment of such schools and other institutions committed to maximal Jewish education, wherever possible.”

Some of the American educators, each of whom endorsed the day school as an essential and intensive form of Jewish education, dissented from the statement for several reasons. Isaac Toubin, executive director of the American Association for Jewish Education, argued it was unwise for an international body devoted to the advancement of Jewish education “to express a preference for any one form and, in the process, denigrate the role of other forms.”

Another dissent was based on the fact that the movement in the United States has 260 schools with 60, 000 pupils. All but seven are under Orthodox auspices. It was argued that proliferation of the movement in the United States might tend to isolate the Jewish child from the values of the public school system.

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