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Rabbi Warns Jewish Conservative Backlash No Answer to Radical Left

Alignment with ultra-conservatives cannot be the answer of the Jewish community to the ominous threat which the New Left poses to Jewish survival in America as well as in Israel, Rabbi Louis Bernstein, first vice-president of the Rabbinical Council of America, declared today in addressing 500 delegates at the Council’s convention. While the New Left constitutes a great social and physical danger to the Jewish community in the United States “it would be the height of folly on our part to expect that a backlash towards the right by the Jewish community would solve our problem. On the contrary, it would only encourage growing defections of our youth from the Jewish community,” Rabbi Bernstein said. “We must not be backed into a corner of blind apologetics for the status quo, or hysterical flag-waving. Such blind expediency can only backfire and is morally bankrupt.”

What is needed, Rabbi Bernstein continued, is a convincing demonstration “on our part that Jews are not wedded to any ‘establishment’ but that it welcomes creative and constructive discontent–the very hallmark of all religion. We must battle fearlessly against the idolization of any particular ideology and must muster the moral courage to criticize failings encountered in all institutions.” At another session which was dedicated to Jewish education, Rabbi Dr. Bernard Bergman, president of the National Council of Torah Education, today declared, “The continued failure of the Jewish Federation and Welfare Funds to reorder their priorities to give substantial and meaningful support to Jewish education was sharply criticized.” Rabbi Bergman points out, “This is one of the most distressing ills of contemporary American Jewish life.” Dr. Bergman appealed to all the members of the RCA to mobilize all political forces to encourage the advancement of government aid to all religious schools.

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