ADL Survey Shows Jewish Community Turning Inward

A report on an Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith survey of Jewish “priorities” gives evidence that the Jewish community is “turning inward.” The report was presented here to some 400 delegates attending the 58th annual meeting of the ADL. Basing his remarks on the preliminary findings of the survey made among some 2,000 Jewish community leaders around the country, Benjamin R. Epstein, ADL national director, said anti-Semitism is their prime concern, followed closely by Israel, Jewish youth, the general image of the Jews and Soviet Jewry.

Epstein said that those queried assigned lower priorities to black-white and black-Jewish relations, church-state affairs, minorities in general, and foreign affairs outside of Israel and Soviet Jewry. He noted, however, that the one exception was in the San Francisco area where “relations between other minorities and Jews” was listed as first. San Francisco has a large population of blacks, Chicanos, Japanese, Chinese and American Indians. The same area gave “civil liberties” as its third highest concern while most Jews queried in the rest of the country relegated that issue to eighth or ninth place.

Other findings of the survey, which was conducted through a mailed questionnaire, included the following: Israel was of second highest concern in nearly all areas; the image of Jews was among the five top priorities, except among Jewish leaders in North Carolina, Virginia, Michigan, Georgia and Northern California, where it ranged from sixth to tenth; and interfaith activity was a middle priority.

Epstein said that the findings will be analyzed by the League’s planning committee. The agency will also conduct the same survey among B’nai B’rith lodges and chapters whose 500,000 members make up ADL’s constituency. The ADL officials at the meeting will decide agency policies and programs for the coming year.

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