Federation Seminar Probes Problems of Jewish College Students

Too many Jewish students arrive on the college campus ill-equipped to deal with the attraction of non-Jewish ideologies and life-styles, according to participants in a seminar on campus life at a day-long institute by New York’s Federation of Jewish Philanthropies held here last week. The institute was one of a series of events that will celebrate Federation’s 60th anniversary.

Acknowledging the threat of missionary activity Rabbi Samuel Glazer of the Elmont Jewish Center, suggested the appointment of more Hillel rabbis to serve the campus community, which often has more Jews than most synagogues. Jonathan Braun, a board member of the Jewish Association of College Youth (JACY), said professional campus “outreach” workers who would motivate students to organize activities were needed in addition to Hillel, the Jewish student organization.

Participants were unanimous in expressing the need for a “retreat” facility offering a Jewish environment, to compliment already existing programs run by the Lubavitch Hasidim and various yeshivas. Jewish residences, or havurot, along with social get-togethers were also recommended.

Although several people expressed reservations over the chances of getting anything done, given a shortage of funds, Marty Salowitz, executive director of JACY, said he is confident a serious effort will be made to establish a retreat facility and hire outreach workers. Beyond efforts to solidify Jewish identity on campus, Braun said: “The only solution to Jewish erosion in the long run is the Zionist one.”

The seminar was one of several at the institute. Speakers were concerned with the problems of the isolated Jewish elderly; the middle class exodus from the financially troubled city; the survival of Jewish identity; and the solutions to these and other problems.

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