Aj Congress Leader Optimistic About Future of U.S. Jewry

The president of the American Jewish Congress has drawn an optimistic picture of the future of the U.S. Jewish community, citing as one reason the failure of “hate groups” to exploit the energy crisis for anti-Semitic purposes. “The feared backlash against the Jewish community because of the Arab oil embargo has not happened,” Rabbi Arthur Hertzberg declared in an address marking his re-election as president of the Congress.

“The epidemic of confrontation between Blacks and Jews is subsiding,” he said. “Christian-Jewish relations appear to be even better on the person-to-person level in the community than they are among the official spokesmen of the major religious bodies. These and similar developments bode well for the future of the Jewish community, because they show our society is strong enough to sustain major shocks and even radical change without making any racial, religious or ethnic group the scapegoat. There is grumbling-but we are not hating one another,” he declared.

Rabbi Hertzberg spoke at a luncheon session yesterday of the organization’s biennial convention in the Roosevelt Hotel. Immediately following the luncheon, 132 of the 500 delegates boarded an El Al jet to conclude their convention with an eight-day “leadership mission” to Israel. The Israel portion of the convention–the first ever to be held by the Congress in Israel–will include meetings with Premier Golda Meir and political, military and educational leaders across Israel’s political spectrum.

The convention marked the centennial of Stephen S. Wise’s birth with the presentation to Shad Polier, Rabbi Wise’s son-in-law and a veteran leader of the Congress, of two leather-bound volumes of a civil rights newsletter prepared by Polier over a 10-year period beginning in the mid fifties. Howard M. Squadron was re-elected chairman of the Congress’ national Governing Council. Stanley H. Lowell was re-elected senior national vice president.

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