Conservatives Complain of Community Neglect of Jewish Education; Urge Revised Policies
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Conservatives Complain of Community Neglect of Jewish Education; Urge Revised Policies

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Jewish community welfare funds were urged today by leaders of Conservative Judaism to “radically revise” their allocations, to provide greater support for religiously-oriented Jewish education.

The 3,000 delegates at the biennial convention of the United Synagogue of America, the association of Conservative congregations, were told that only an intensified and comprehensive program of Jewish education on all levels could stem the tide of rising intermarriage rates, apathy of college youth and a “growing assimilation” of America’s Jewish community.

Jewish education officials told a panel discussion that hospitals, homes for the aged and Jewish centers getting Jewish federation support were currently receiving large grants from Federal and state governments, and that therefore many of the Jewish communal grants to such institutions could be re-directed to Jewish education.

Dr. Simon Greenberg, vice-chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary, warned against “haggling for a few dollars for the Bureau of Education” and added that “we must make it clear that the real difficulty which we find with Jewish-supported communal services is not that they claim an inordinate share of the Jewish charity dollar, but that the objectives and programs of many institutions they now support do not make appropriate contributions to group survival.”

He told the delegates that, “despite the fact that welfare fund drives derive their leadership and contributions primarily from the synagogue, only three-and-a-half to four percent of the total funds raised goes toward Jewish education.”

Dr. Elazar Goelman, dean of Gratz college, called for the present formula for division of Jewish welfare fund dollars between overseas and local needs “shopworn,” and urged a new approach. He cited among the neglected areas of Jewish education the teacher training programs, high school education, adult education and scholarships for Hebrew and Jewish summer camps.

Rabbi Louis Scichkow, of Milwaukee, said members of his congregation on welfare boards were disturbed at standards of “double taxation” in which federation funds supported secular or non-denominational programs while “those conducted by a religious institution, the synagogue, are discounted, ignored and considered unworthy of an allocation.”


The Conservative Jewish leaders sharply condemned today extremist Negro elements for using “violence and lawlessness as a means to redress social evils.” In a resolution, they reminded all elements of the American community that Jews and Jewish organizations, in general, and members of congregations affiliated with the United Synagogue in particular, “have no need for apology or self-justification in their work for Negro equality.”

In a resolution on Israel, introduced by David Zucker, chairman of the national Israel Crisis Committee, the convention pledged support of Israel’s “just goal of removing once and for all the threat of war” and called for direct negotiations between Israel and the Arab states as essential to peace.

A resolution on the war against poverty welcomed the Administration’s efforts, but added that “unfortunately, more help is needed.”

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