JOHANNESBURG (Jul. 13)
Leaders of South African Jewry expressed surprise today over remarks by Louis A. Pincus, Chairman of the Jewish Agency Executive in Jerusalem, over the state of Jewish education in this country. Pincus, addressing the World Conference of Jewish Organizations (COJO) plenary meeting in Geneva July 9, claimed that the system of Jewish education in South Africa was “on the verge of disintegration”; that Jewish leaders here had shown no appreciation for the overriding importance of Jewish education and that the quality of Jewish education in South Africa was not adequate.
Taking strong exception to those statements were leaders of the South African Board of Jewish Education and Board of Jewish Deputies. Louis Sachs, chairman of the Board of Jewish Education told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that “There is a general concensus in South African Jewry on the vital importance of Jewish education.” He said this was “shown by the rapid expansion of Jewish day schools and by the financial efforts made to raise the funds required for it.”
Sachs said that “regarding the content of Jewish education, much has already been done to improve it and it is constantly improving.” He said a “Jewish Agency study has shown that the proportion of Jewish children in South Africa receiving a Jewish education is among the highest in the diaspora. Far from disintegration, our educational system has never been more effective,” Sachs said. “Mr. Pincus himself commended our achievements in education during his visit here last year.”
Pincus did observe in Geneva that “the quality of Jewish education in South Africa, though higher than in some other places, is not adequate to insure Jewish continuity.”