Affluence Seen As Contributing to Decline of Judaism in U.S.

American Jewry, like Jewry the world over, faces the problem of saving Judaism itself, Rabbi Immanuel Jakobovits, the newly-elected Chief Rabbi of the British Commonwealth, told an audience of 750 persons here last night, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Associated Synagogues of Massachusetts.

“The affluence and freedom that exists for Jews in this country,” he declared, “is as big a factor in the decline of Judaism as is the repression behind the Iron Curtain. American Jews are more familiar with the stars of Hollywood than with the revered names of the Bible or with the Jewish sages. We must imbue Jews with a sense of urgency about maintaining Judaism, the same sense of urgency that marked the Zionist movement that led to the formation of the State of Israel.”

Stressing the primacy of Jewish education, Rabbi Jakobovits, however, said he was hopeful of Judaism’s future. “I believe,” he declared, “we have reached the bottom of the estrangement, and a resurgence is taking place.” The freedom which Jewish youth is experiencing on the American campuses, he said, “is leading them to a stronger belief in the credo of their religion.”

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