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Yom Kippur War Seminar

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Some 120 Jewish leaders, directors and heads of Jewish educational institutions and Israeli officials gathered here yesterday to discuss the Yom Kippur War and its broad implications for the world Jewish community. The special seminar, titled “The Yom Kippur War: One Year After,” was convoked by the World Zionist Organization-American Section and held at 515 Park Ave.

The seminar was led by Dr. Moshe Davis, founding head of the Institute of Contemporary Jewry of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and editor of the newly published volume, “The Yom Kippur War, Israel and the Jewish People.” The book, published by Arno Press and Herzl Press, was the basis for the seminar discussion.

Dr. Davis stated that the Yom Kippur War is “an unending war,” a war that has placed once again on the agenda “the problem of the physical survival of the Jewish people.” The war, he asserted, was only a link in the chain of struggles over the decades for the survival of the Jewish people in fulfillment of its peoplehood.

Discussing the lesson of the war for world Jewry in its relation to Israel, Dr. Davis stated that the war “reaffirmed the essentiality of Israel in the existential concern of the Jewish people.” Thus, he noted, there is a need to create a “comprehensive program” to deal with the question of world Jewry and Israel. Dr. Davis called for “mutual responsibility” between the diaspora and Israel and urged that Jewish education be broadened, especially the teaching of Hebrew.


Dr. Emil Lehman, director of the Herzl Institute, presented an action proposal in the field of Jewish education and Jewish community activities, needs that were sharpened by the Yom Kippur War. He called for an intensified program of Jewish history, the history of the State of Israel and Jewish culture at all levels of the Jewish community: adults, teenagers and community leaders to learn “where did we fail.”

Dr. Lehman said that there is a need to plan “for future emergencies” and to create “Jewish intelligence” so the Jewish community could avoid image distortion by the media and “the public relations defeat we have suffered after the war,” explaining that Israel still had to defend its “legitimacy” to the public.

The need for furthering Jewish education and Jewish consciousness was also discussed by Dr. Abraham P. Gannes, director of the Department of Education and Culture of the WZO-American Section. He observed that those who were exposed to Jewish education “have responded the most during the Yom Kippur War.” Mrs. Charlotte Jacobson, chairman of the WZO-American Section, presided at the seminar.

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