Problems of Eastern, Western Jewry Are Focus of Forum Held in Paris

The problems of Western Jews who are in the mainstream of their countries’ cultural and intellectual life but lack Jewish learning, and of East European Jews who face new waves of repression and harassment, were discussed today at a forum of the European Council of Jewish Communities which is meeting here. The 250 delegates attending included such prominent figures as Nobel Peace Prize laureate Rene Cassin, who is president of the Alliance Israelite Universelle; Prof. Moshe Davis, head of the Hebrew University’s institute for contemporary Jewry; Chief Rabbi Jacob Kaplan of France and Chief Rabbi Moses Rosen of Rumania; Louis D. Horowitz, director-general of the Joint Distribution Committee; Israel’s Ambassador to France, Walter Eytan; and author, Elie Weisel.

The theme of the forum was “The Jewish People in a Time of Transition.” Claude Kellman defined the problem facing Jewish leadership as the creation of new community structures which will make it possible for intellectuals and youth to find their place within the Jewish community. He also announced that the goal of an emergency campaign on behalf of Czech and Polish Jewry would be doubled.

Prof. Davis said the image of the new Jews was that of a university-trained, middle class, urban individual completely literate but inadequately versed in Jewish learning. Rabbi Rosen said that several hundred young Jews in Bucharest were eager to learn Hebrew and Jewish history, and appealed for teachers of those subjects.

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