Pincus: Israel Prepared to Do More for Diaspora Jewish Education

“Israel must do more for diaspora Jewish education and it is our experience that Israel is prepared to do more,” Louis A. Pincus, chairman of the World Zionist Organization Executive declared here at the opening meeting of the Conference of Jewish Organizations’ (COJO) commission on education. The commission, chaired by Pincus, began its deliberations on Jewish education Thursday night and continued through Friday morning. The COJO plenary session opened this morning.

Pincus stressed that it was not the purpose of COJO to do the local educational work. “It is there to coordinate, help, advise and cooperate,” he said. “Experience until now has shown that there was a great need for such a world organization for Jewish education. We are endeavoring to include among our collaborators in each country both laymen and educators. It has transpired that the educational needs of each diaspora community must be considered separately. There is no universal formula.”

Pincus’ remarks were followed by reports on the current status of Jewish education in France. Iran and Argentina. Prof. Armand Levy, chairman of the COJO commission for France, noted that the Jewish population in his country has doubled since World War II due to the influx of Jews from North Africa which has created special educational problems.

“Our educational aim in France is normal education in Jewish day schools,” Prof. Levy said. He observed that “this education must have a religious content and put stress on the cultural values of Jewish civilization.” Louis Cohn, supplementing the report, said that the priorities for France were Jewish day schools, Jewish nursery schools, the training of teachers and adult education.”

EDUCATION IN IRAN. ARGENTINA

Stanley Abramovitch, chairman of the COJO commission in Iran, reported that there are presently 10,000 Jewish children receiving a Jewish education in that country. He said that two-thirds of them are in primary schools and one-third in secondary schools. There are 100 Jewish teachers. “All schools in Iran are government-controlled, but the Jewish schools have facilities for 8-10 hours a week devoted to Jewish education.” Abramovitch reported, adding, “With all this there is still much to do in Iran.”

Mordechai Kornhandler, chairman of the Jewish education committee in Argentina reported that 25,000 Jewish children there receive a Jewish education but they comprise only one-fourth of the school-age Jewish children in Argentina. “Jewish education in Argentina is nationally Jewish, Zionist and Israel-oriented,”he said. “There are 2000 Jewish teachers in Argentina, 80 percent of them born and educated in the country” though 60 percent have had a period of study in Israel.

Kornhandler said that in Buenos Aires there are 4500 Jewish children in kindergarten, 9000 in primary schools and 2500 in high schools and special schools. The Jewish school system in Argentina are all supported by the Jewish community with the help of the Jewish Agency and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, he said. Twenty hours a week are devoted to Jewish subjects in Jewish high schools in Argentina.

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