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Jewish Communities Must Adopt New Education Program or Face Cultural Destruction

American Jews were warned that they face the religious and cultural destruction of the Jewish community unless they adopt drastic measures, through new programs of Jewish education, to combat a growing assimilationist trend among young and adult. Addressing the quinquennial meeting of the American Association for Jewish Education, Mr. Philip M. Klutz-nick, Chicago, a former president of B’nai B’rith, told the special gathering of 500 Jewish community leaders and educators that “we must especially pay attention to the revolt of our young people calling for a revision of our outmoded and outdated educational and cultural programs.” Mr. Klutznick, a former Ambassador of the United States to ECOSOC at the United Nations, said, “Jewish youths seek answers to the broad questions of ecology, racism, world peace and law and order–to which many answers can be found in our learned heritage as a people.” He pointed out, however, “they deplore the priorities of their fathers and grandfathers–the establishment. They see little hope for meaningful Jewish survival without change in values and priorities, even with an Israel they admire and revere.” The Jewish leader said that while North American Jews were concentrating their efforts on helping Israel, Soviet Jews and other overseas causes, they were “losing the more subtle and sophisticated battle at home of the Jewish mind and soul.”

Mr. Klutznick emphasized he was not suggesting a reduction of American Jewish aid to Israel and similar concerns. However, he said, “Let us not permit emergency events in Israel, as desperate as they are, to blind us to the emergency here at home. We can and must conquer both.” He called for a battle to save both Jerusalems, “for Jews to survive it is not enough that only Israel win.” He said Jewish life without an Israel, nor a Jewish world without Jewishness is unthinkable. Mr. Klutznick scored the shallowness of current Jewish life, pointing to such status seeking examples as “man of the year” awards, lavish bar mitzvahs, empty synagogues and their wasted multi-million dollar buildings and the lip service social action involvement by most in the community. He said. “Too many Jews believe they have preserved Jewish life by their annual giving to the UJA and their purchases of an Israel bond, as important as this may be.

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