Indifference to Synagogue in Argentina Reported at Geneva Parley

The Jewish communities of South and Central America “are practically devoid of rabbinical leadership or of a dynamic and vibrant synagogue,” the 250 delegates attending the biennial convention of the World Council of Synagogues were told here today.

The speaker on this subject, before the gathering of Conservative Jewry from 11 countries, was Rabbi Marshall Meyer, of Buenos Aires. As an example of synagogal “void” in Latin America, he cited the fact that, of the 350,000 Jews in Buenos Aires, only 50,000 attended services during the last High Holy Days.

To overcome the indifference toward the synagogue on the part of Latin American Jewry, Rabbi Meyer reported, the Conservative movement is attempting to concentrate on the Jewish youth. The rabbinical seminary in Buenos Aires, established by the Conservative movement, now has 20 young Latin American Jews studying for the rabbinate, Rabbi Meyer said.

In another address, Rabbi Stuart E. Rosenberg, of Toronto, warned that “the new entente” between Judaism and Christianity, resulting from the spirit of ecumenicism, involves “concealed dangers.” “To be effective,” he said, implementation of that spirit “must exact from both Christians and Jews revaluations of traditional attitudes toward each other. As Christians seek Christian renewal, so must Jews seek Jewish renewal.”

Other addresses were delivered by Rabbi Raphael Posner, professor in residence of the American Student Center of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem; and Rabbi Bernard Segal, executive director of the United Synagogue of America.

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