BUENOS AIRES (Sep. 17)
The rector of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem claimed here Tuesday that Israel has “no rebel student movements” because students enter the university after three years of military service which “matures them.” According to Dr. Nathan Rotenstreich, Israel also has no hippies because “the land is no good for hippies.” Dr. Rotenstreich, who was a speaker at the closing session of the conference of the Federation of Argentine Jewish Communities, delivered his remarks at a press conference. Among other things, he told reporters that Jerusalem will not be an internationalized city because “Israel will never share its rule with any other state.”
The problem of assimilation among Jewish youth in Argentina was discussed at the conference. One speaker said it was preferable to send young people to Israel for periods of time rather than bringing over Israel shlichim (youth emissaries) who are unable to communicate with Jewish youth here. The speaker, Jacobo Kovadlof, president of the Sociedad Hebraica, largest Jewish social and sports club in the country, also decried the tendency to split Jews into religious and non-religious segments. Alberto Senderey, chairman of the Argentine Jewish Youth Confederation, estimated that only 10 percent of the 100,000 Argentinean Jews between the ages of 16 and 20 were successfully recruited by Jewish youth movements.
A clash developed between the Federation and representatives of the DAIA, the central representative body of Argentine Jewry. Dr. Tobias Kamenszain, of the federation, questioned the need for special political representation of the Jewish community as embodied in the DAIA. He said that the federation represented the majority of Jewish families and could manage the political matters itself. He cited as examples the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Canadian Jewish Congress. Dr. Isaac Goldenberg, president of the DAIA, said his organization was fulfilling a well defined task. He likened it to the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations in the United States where no community-wide body exists. He suggested that the Federation of Argentine Jewish Communities concentrate on community organization and leave political matters to the DAIA.
CONFERENCE FOCUSES ON ARGENTINE JEWS’ RELIGIOUS PROBLEMS
The religious problems of Argentine Jews, at least among those who observe the Orthodox traditions, occupied the attention of the delegates, who heard talks by Israel’s Minister for Religious Affairs, Dr. Zerach Warhaftig, and from Chief Rabbi David Kahane of Argentina. According to Dr. Kahane, the main problem stems from the lack of religious leaders. There are only 15 rabbis in Argentina and two rabbinical seminaries, he said. He deplored the performing of weddings in the provinces by “unauthorized” persons who, he said, ignored the injunctions of Halachal, Jewish law. He said that this resulted in many complicated situations when the marriages could not be annulled. He also spoke of “unauthorized” conversions that would not be recognized by the Orthodox establishment in Israel if the couple was to move there. He said that in most mixed marriages the female partner was a non-Jew who converted to Judaism. He urged provincial leaders to avoid carrying out unauthorized conversions but said children of these marriages must be given “reasonable status.”
Hirsch Triwaks, general secretary of the federation, reported on the assistance rendered to maintain Jewish schools. He said their enrollment is 21,000, including 5,000 pupils in the provinces.