Jewish Youth Seen and Heard at Dem Convention
Menu JTA Search

Jewish Youth Seen and Heard at Dem Convention

Download PDF for this date

On the turf in Flamingo Park and in the posh great halls of the Fontainebleau Hotel. Jewish youth are highly active participants and are evident in large numbers among the “young people” seeking to implant their views on the Democratic Party convention. They represent a conglomerate of opinion and philosophy, but mostly they are far to the left of center, a Jewish Telegraphic Agency survey here found today.

Flamingo Park is “home” these days, while the Democrats are hassling about who will be presidential nominee, for about 2000 youths from all parts of America; yippies, hippies, non-descripts. One estimate is that two out of five of the youngsters there are Jewish, or as many of them say, “of Jewish origin,” but there was no census.

Being in the South Beach area, Flamingo Park also is a center for old, retired pensioned Jews who come down from their apartments to chat, play shuffleboard or just sit. Now the “kids” have taken over with their sleeping bags. But it’s still a meeting place with a new experience for the young and old. The “alte” who speak often in Yiddish fluently being without facility for the same richness of expression in their English, and the youngsters, who stumble along in Yiddish or don’t know it at all, are engaged all day long in discussions.

Murray Rosenblith, 21, a journalism senior of Boston University who edits a student newspaper The News, for the campus population of about 22,000, described the results of the “dialogues” between oldsters and youth as mixed.

Where the “kids” get “antagonistic” or the “oldster” becomes immediately angry. Rosenblith said they’re only baiting each other. But when they talk conversationally, they get along quite well. He said, “they should be allies” because both are “disfranchised.” The old people are, he said, because society doesn’t regard them as productive.

Rosenblith wears a white yarmulka on his long, light brown hair tied in the back. He is the son of an insurance broker Joseph and Mrs. Rosenblith of Philadelphia. “I’m not radical in the Jewish community, but a Jew in the radical community,” Rosenblith explained. He said that he has not been to a normal synagogue “in a long time,” but goes to Hillel at BU occasionally and to the New Jewish youth meeting places such as those in Somerville and Philadelphia.

“I’m Jewish, not religiously Orthodox, but relating to the cultural and religious identity in positive fashion,” he pointed out.

Abbie Hoffman, one of the “Chicago Seven” whose trial was connected with the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago, is back for this one and is staying at Flamingo Park. When the JTA reporter asked him for an interview, Hoffman made it immediately clear that President Nixon is his major opposition while George McGovern is “a mensch.”

Any Jew for Nixon is a goy, even Golda Meir,” Hoffman, who is 35, said. “It’s incredible that some Jews would vote for Nixon Too many mink coats and country clubs. Too much assimilation.”

Hoffman said he was planning to visit Israel in the near future, declaring that “I am very pro-Jewish, but anti-Zionism.” Asked what part of the Flamingo encampment crowd was Jewish, Hoffman replied, “In Miami Beach everybody is Jewish, even the Cubans. Che Guevera is Jewish; the Che is Chai.” he Joked.

At the Democratic Party’s National Youth Caucus, formed last December, a leading figure was described as Garry Bean, a Harvard graduate from Chelsea, near Boston, who is a delegate from Massachusetts. Until his election, he was a staff member for press relations for the Caucus.

At a front desk for the Caucus was Nathaniel Spiller, 22, of Boston, a Harvard graduate who is entering Harvard Law School in September. Also a Caucus staff member, he has been active primarily in the Cambridge area. His parents are Reuven Spiller, controller of the Combined Jewish Philanthropies in Boston, and Mrs. Spiller.

Victor Marmon, 21, of Los Angeles, is another member of the Caucus staff. He is in charge of arrangements for the convention youth. Marmon was graduated last month from Yale and is entering Chicago Law School in September.

It was suggested within the Caucus meeting to Alison B. Adler, of Washington, D.C. a Webster Junior College graduate, that many young people in the Caucus were Jewish and that they were active out of proportion to their number in the general attendance. “Isn’t that true everywhere,” she responded.

Seeking “the truth” of their positions on matters of Jewish concern was Paul Fisher, 23, also of Philadelphia, who is reporting for the Jewish Student Press services in New York City. He said that the press group services 58 Jewish newspapers at campuses. Fisher is a registered student at Boston University with a degree in computer information services from the University of Pennsylvania.

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