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Rabbinical Council Calls on CJF to Allocate $100m to Jewish Education

Rabbi Bernard L. Berzon, president of the Rabbinical Council of America, called today on the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds to allocate $100 million to Jewish education of all types from the $550 million fund-raising goal set at the CJF 40th General Assembly in Pittsburgh earlier this month. The head of the Orthodox rabbinical body made his proposal at a special Conference of Jewish Education here attended by 300 rabbis and Jewish educators from many parts of the United States.

Rabbi Berzon stressed “the time for resolutions and statements of support is long since past. The need now is for immediate action. The day school and Jewish education in general, is being starved to death, and while beautiful statements in praise of the Jewish day school are being made, it is threatened with economic chaos and collapse because of inadequate support from American Jewish and philanthropic groups.”

The rabbinical leader further declared that “We must launch a crash program and recorder our priorities,” to prevent further alienation, the generation gap, and the loss of Jewish values. Observing that education and particularly the Jewish day schools must be at the top of the list, he added that “we therefore call for a reorientation of our fund-raising priorities in the American Jewish community. We realize that the needs of Israel and our brethren overseas must be met, but the training of our young must follow immediately on that priority.”

He said he was addressing himself particularly to those agencies in Jewish life which have been strongest in their opposition to government aid to religious schools. He said “you cannot have your cake and eat it too. Either you must rise to the forefront of those who will provide voluntary funds for religious Jewish education or you must cease your opposition when some of these schools will be forced to turn to government for funding even if against our will. This indeed will be disasterous.”

Rabbi Bernard Bergman, president of the National Council for Torah Education, appealed to the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of New York to assume the responsibility for the mounting costs of Jewish religious education in New York. Rabbi Abraham Kelman of New York, conference chairman, told the delegates that the religious school “is of this fabric that Jewish survival is built.”

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