Apathy May Erode All Jewish Cultural Activities in U.S. by Year 2000
Menu JTA Search

Apathy May Erode All Jewish Cultural Activities in U.S. by Year 2000

Download PDF for this date

A Jewish secular educator warned today that “from the earmarks of apathy prevalent at this moment, Jewish cultural activities in the United States may cease to flourish and even exist by the year 2000.” Joseph Mlotek, Educational Director of the Workmen’s Circle told his organization’s Jewish Schools luncheon that “those who protest, as they should, against the padlocking of Soviet Jewish cultural centers, should recognize that their own apathy is molding the padlocks on Jewish secular educational institutions in the United States.” Mlotek said that a pattern is emerging that could, at the pace it is going, erode all vestiges of present Jewish cultural institutions by the end of this century. “At the very moment Blacks and Spanish-speaking citizens are taking increased pride in their history and heritage, Jewish communities are showing increased signs of apathy toward their own contributions in literature, the arts, the sciences and social advancement both in this country and abroad,” he declared. “Too many Jews have substituted a pride in Israel as sufficient participation in Jewish secular affairs.” This, however, is not sufficient to maintain and nourish a distinctive culture which has contributed vastly to other cultures and is now fighting for its own survival, Mlotek stated. But, concurrently with “earmarks of apathy,” there is also a wide curiosity on the part of young people which is spurring an appreciation of Jewish secular values, he noted, adding: “The key issue is whether adult apathy will surrender to youthful appreciation.”

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund