Jewish College ‘new Left’ Activists Seen As Not Lost to Judaism

The director of the B’nai B’rith Hillel Foundation said here yesterday that young Jewish college activists, like those of the New Left, who oppose the “Establishment” should not be written off as alienated Jews. But Rabbi Benjamin M. Kahn, in an address to 235 Jewish student leaders at Hille’s annual summer institute, warned that the Jewish community must show Jewish youth that “its social concerns and theirs coincide to prevent their loss as leaders in Jewish life.”

Rabbi Kahn said that a gap which is up to be “either temporary or superficial or both” existed between these Jewish youngsters and their parents because the latter “fail to Join them in their rebellion against false values, materialistic standards and the status quo.” On the other hand, according to the Hillel director, Jewish youth of the New Left not only seeks to identify with the Jewish community but also to enlist its support. He cited as examples, one campus where Jewish activists asked the Hillel Foundation to arrange for a synagogue as their meeting place in place of accommodations offered by a church and another where Jewish liberals joined with Israeli students and Hillel campus leaders to oppose an anti-Israel demonstration by Arab students.

Rabbi Kahn said that the large representation of Jewish students among campus activists about one-third according to a Hillel study was a reflection “not only of the feeling of security among today’s younger Jewish generation but also of the traditional Jewish concern for the underdog and the prophetic tradition of Justice.”

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