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Rabbi Assails Expenditure on Synagogues and Recreation Centers As Obscenity

Rabbi Arthur Gilbert, dean of the newly formed Reconstructionist Rabbinical College linked with Temple University in Philadelphia, Pa. called upon the Jewish community “radically to revise their priorities and to enter into dialogue with the new youth culture if Judaism is to fulfill its role in establishing world justice and peace.” Addressing an audience of Reconstructionist Jews at the Jewish Congregation of Pacific Palisades, the rabbi asserted, “in an age when we are confronted by the harsh problems of poverty, racism, urban blight and war, the Jewish communities capital expenditure for multi-million dollar synagogue buildings, plush recreational centers and elementary school education is an obscenity.” He urged Jewish federations drastically to increase their expenditures for the education of high school and college youth to support graduate Jewish education and to make social action a central function of Jewish religious concern.