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Jewish Life Declining in West Germany and India, Synagogue Parley is Tolu

Reports of developing active interest in Jewish life in a score of countries were presented today to the biennial convention of the World Council of Synagogues here. But in two countries, the convention was told, Jewish life is on the decline and will inevitably disappear.

Dr. Bernard Farkas, rabbi of Aachen and Bonn, West Germany, told the session that more than half the 26,000 Jews living in West Germany today are over 50 years of age and that the death-rate exceeds the birth-rate in the German Jewish community. Although the Jewish community is a prosperous one as evidenced by the fact that its per capita donations to Israel causes last year were the highest in the world, the outlook for any kind of future, he said, was “very dim.” Dr. Farkas noted that “many of our communities have no children at all and have nothing to look forward to but death.”

Emanuel E, Moses, chairman of the board of directors of the United Synagogue of India, reported that there were only 15,000 Jews left in India compared with the 25,000 about 10 years ago. The decrease in numbers, he said, was due entirely to emigration to Israel. He predicted that another 10,000 Indian Jews would leave for Israel within the next few years.

There are still 20 synagogues and prayer centers open in India, he said, but plans were already being drafted to transfer them to the municipalities for use as schools and libraries once they were no longer required for religious purposes.

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