JERUSALEM (Feb. 2)
The World Zionist Organization Executive has approved a Jewish education plan for Latin America under which it is hoped to increase the number of children attending Jewish schools on that continent by 12,000 in three years. At present it is estimated that some 36,000 Jewish children attend Jewish schools in South America. The plan will cost-$4 million and will be implemented jointly by the WZO’s education, Torah education, and youth departments.
Outlined by education department chairman Haim Finkelstein and Torah education chairman Moshe Kroner, the plan calls for establishment of 40 new schools, mostly in the smaller communities, and expansion of existing Jewish schools–with WZO and the local communities joining to help meet the increased costs. Special attention will be given to the social and economic status of school teachers with the aim of attracting top talent to the profession.
Finkelstein reported on the success of WZO’s “Year-In-Israel” program for high schoolers. Many of the South American participants in this program, still in its infancy stage, had struck roots in Israel and decided to remain here. Those who had returned had continued to be closely attached to Israel and Zionist youth work. Finkelstein and Kroner said that some 600 teachers were operating in diaspora schools on behalf of their two departments.
WZO chairman Pinhas Sapir stressed the urgency–and cost–of action in the field of Jewish education. He said the situation was gravely worsening, and added that world Jewry would have to get used to the fact that education costs money, just as it was now well understood that defense of Israel costs money.