PALM BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 1)
Connecticut Senator Abraham A. Ribicoff inaugurated today the annual drive of The Jewish Theological Seminary to acquaint the country’s Jewish communal leadership with the Seminary’s educational needs and expansion problems. The Senator, who is vice-chairman of the Seminary’s board of overseers, told the more than 100 nationally prominent laymen meeting here that the Seminary and other institutions of higher learning are currently faced with “the greatest crisis in American academic history” because of the “open rebellion of college youth against established mores and methodologies.”
He said that students today were looking for a set of ethical and moral values and “an education infused with these values.” Therefore, he continued, “it is a primary responsibility of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America to help the student find the ethical and moral values he seeks.” To accomplish this task, he continued, the Seminary must train rabbis, teachers and professors for the campus in addition to those it trains for works in synagogues and communal organizations. “It is necessary that the Jewish Theological Seminary be given the means to disseminate and spread its unique emphasis on the ethical dimension of education,” he said.
Rabbi Bernard Mandelbaum of New York, President of the Seminary, refuted the notion that college students are “hostile to religion.” He said that their increased interest in the secular “is an expression not of hostility to religion but of a deeply felt need to apply religious values and precepts to bring about needed change.” Two noted Palm Beach and New York philanthropic leaders, Irving Geist and Benjamin S. Hornstein, were cited at the meeting for their “efforts and leadership in helping to communicate and spread the eternal values of Judaism.” Both received the Seminary’s Eternal Light medal and citation. The Jewish Theological Seminary of America is the academic and spiritual center of the Conservative branch of Judaism.