Rabbi Calls for Funds, More Colleges to Avert Breakdown of Jewish Education

Rabbi Zev Segal, president of the Rabbinical Council of America, declared yesterday that Jewish education in America faces the “danger of immediate paralysis and breakdown” if Jewish federations and welfare funds to not “respond positively with urgent financial assistance.” Delivering a presidential address at the Council’s convention here, Rabbi Segal said that such a response must be made “at once.” Decrying the outlaying of only 5 percent of federation and welfare fund incomes for education, the Orthodox leader called on them to underwrite the building of at least 10 new colleges of Jewish secular and religious education to draw wayward coreligionist back “to their Jewish heritage.” He pointed to the James Striar School of General Jewish Studies and Stern College for Women–both part of Yeshiva University in New York–as models.

Rabbi Segal asserted that only the Jewish federations and funds have the means to bolster Jewish education in a meaningful way and to ease the current “financial crisis of major proportion.” He attributed “extraordinary contributions” to the “indispensable” American Jewish day schools, and noted that their teachers were leaving for the higher-salaried state schools in “alarming proportions.” He challenged those who oppose public aid to private schools to “assume at least some of the mounting burdens,” The Council president said he welcomed the new United States peace “initiative” for the Middle East, but criticized the administration for not acting more swiftly to permit Israel to buy more U.S. Jets. Rabbi Joseph Karasick, president of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, added that the “declining flow” of new rabbis could be stemmed by unburdening them of fundraising, public relations, administrative and speechmaking responsibilities.

NEXT STORY